Leaders call for unity in wake of congressional shooting

Amid the pain of the shooting that left Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise fighting for his life, there are calls for civility in government.

Amid the pain of the shooting that left Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise fighting for his life, there are calls for civility in government.

Scalise's House colleague Garret Graves, R-Louisiana, warns the politics of hate has consequences.

"I do believe the shooting yesterday was to some degree motivated by some of the rhetoric and hatefulness, some of the verbal grenades that people lob out," Graves said.

St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister worries the tone of politics these days is heading in the wrong direction.

"We all recognize we have gone way beyond the boundaries in my opinion on our discourse our discussions," Brister said. "They're not civil anymore."

Brister added she's been around long enough to know that politics wasn't always this mean.

"Even when you disagreed vehemently with someone, you had respect for their opinion, we've lost that and we need to get that back somehow," Brister said.

Former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco noted that politics has grown more partisan over time.

"People feel very free to discuss their anger, their meanness," Blanco said. "We're in a rarified time now."

Blanco maintains we can all play a role in toning down the rhetoric.

"I think that each of us needs to think, what have I done, what have I said, what can I do, what can I say to calm these waters," Blanco said.

Congressman Graves says the shooting can be the pivot point for change because it has to.

"You're going to potentially see more of these types of heinous attacks without us coming together and recognizing that we're American's first," Graves said. 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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