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Where is the Leadership From the Left?

Where is the Leadership From the Left?
In this Dec. 19, 2015, file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton takes the stage for the debate at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire.

Before this week I would have said our nation is drifting dangerously toward violence. Now we’ve had a gunman barely thwarted in an attempt to mow down dozens of Republican lawmakers. It’s no drift now. We’re there.

He wasn’t crazy. His wife appears totally believable when she says she had no idea he had this in him. His only motive appears to have been political.

Politically motivated violence has been rising on in our streets, on campus, and now in Washington. It’s coming almost entirely from the left. Where then are the leaders of the left? What are they doing about it?

Sanders, Clinton and Obama

The shooter was a fan of Bernie Sanders. Sanders stood up on the Senate floor and said he was sickened by that. He told us he deplored violence. Well, of course he felt that way. Who wouldn’t? But has he taken to the airwaves, looked his followers in the eye, and told them it’s time to stop it right now?

Hillary Clinton tweeted on Thursday,

2 sides take the field tomorrow, but we’re all ultimately on one team.

My thoughts are with the members of Congress, staff & heroic police.

Just try to think of something more trite, bland, cliched and ineffectual she could have said. I’ll bet you can’t.

And what about Barack Obama? Last winter I wrote that he was in danger of becoming the first president in memory who failed to lead us through a peaceful transition of power. That story is still playing out, and his final part in it has yet to be told.

He still has power: he has the ear of faithful Democrats. He’s still in a position to be able to promote peace. What has he done with that power? What has he said to stop the violence? Nothing. He’s “reached out” to a Republican Senator. He needs to reach American Democrats with a message to calm down.

Where are the Democratic Leaders?

Leaders lead. Do our top three Democratic leaders know what that means?

Pundits and leaders have been talking about how our toxic political atmosphere has contributed to the rise in violence. Silence is adding to it, too: silence on the part of these three Democratic leaders. They have followers, which is obvious enough -- but what that also means is they have influence. Any one of them could go on a TV, or even on an anti-violence stump, and the effect would certainly be a reduction in the violence.

It could mean lives saved. It could even mean that the American political process is preserved for the next round of elections. A week ago I might have thought that was putting it too dramatically, but not now.

Leaders lead. Do our top three Democratic leaders know what that means?

Do they want to know?

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