Commonwealth Policy Center

A United States Senator and Congressman were involved in altercations last week. Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was accused of shoving another Representative, who subsequently yelled back and ran after him. An ethics complaint is pending. On the same day, Sen. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) threatened to fight a Teamsters union leader who gave testimony before his committee. Tensions are high in Washington, and some observers say perhaps the highest they have been since the Civil War. These incidents reflect a deeper anger and bitterness that goes beyond politics. Lawmakers should be held to a higher stand, and models for civility and virtue, but hotheaded exchanges like these have the opposite effect. Political disagreements are inevitable, but handling the disagreements with wisdom and grace sets apart authoritarianism with a peaceful society.