A lot of local politicians have released statements on the attempted assassination of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. But this one from Rob Frost and Stuart Garson stands out. It's a bipartisan gesture, especially thoughtful about the biggest question emerging from the shooting: the way we talk about our political opponents.
Joint Statement of the Chairs of the Cuyahoga County Democratic and Republican Parties
On behalf of the officers, leaders and members of the Cuyahoga County Democratic and Republican parties, we wish to convey our profound condolences for the victims and their families in the senseless and tragic shootings that took place in Tucson this past Saturday. We have no sufficient words to describe our horror and disdain for such intolerance and wanton disregard for human life.
However it is our intention to demonstrate that, although on occasion, our respective parties may share a different philosophical approach to our political issues, we do not perceive one another as enemies. Our democracy can only flourish and thrive in an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for each other's views. As local party chairs we are dedicated to civil discourse that at all times strives to advance our respective positions in a thoughtful and constructive manner.
We hope all our residents of Cuyahoga County will join with us in reflecting on this tragic moment in our hopes that we can achieve a new spirit of political conciliation and cooperation for our families, community and country. We could not ask for any more of ourselves or from each other in the New Year.
Stuart Garson, Chairman, Cuyahoga County Democratic Party
and Robert Frost, Chairman, Republican Party of Cuyahoga County
The whole country is debating whether vicious rhetoric and violent political metaphors had anything to do with the shooting, or whether Jared Loughner is just a lone nut job whose act had no larger meaning. (Essential viewing: this video of Giffords, who happened to read the First Amendment during Congress' recitation of the Constitution last week -- and put special emphasis on the word peaceably.)
But if the shooting becomes any sort of turning point in our politics (and it might not), it could be a moment when "restoring sanity" becomes a bipartisan project, not just Jon Stewart's. That's what Frost and Garson are reaching for here.