The United States was founded on the values of liberty, equality, diversity, and unity. As Americans, we should work to promote these values every day.
As I travel around Central Washington, I see these values reflected in our communities when farmers come together to help an ailing neighbor harvest his crop or through the many rich cultural contributions of our Latino friends and neighbors.
Our sense of inclusion and companionship is one of the reasons I am so proud to hail from Central Washington.
Unfortunately, our nation is experiencing a dangerously stark polarization of rhetoric and behaviors.
Just last month, we experienced a hateful incident closer to home at an ICE detention center in Tacoma. An individual, who was later identified to be associated with the anti-fascist or Antifa movement, attacked the center in protest. This attack, which could have resulted in the mass murder of staff and detainees, was thwarted by the police department in time to avoid any deaths.
On Saturday, August 3, a white supremacist took fire in a Walmart parking lot in El Paso, Texas, claiming 22 innocent lives. The 21-year-old suspect is believed to be racist and anti-immigrant, specifically targeting these victims for being “Mexican.”
Documents found after his arrest have indicated that the incident was an act of domestic terrorism, and federal authorities are considering charging the man with a hate crime.
The very next day in Dayton, Ohio, another nine victims were killed by a mass shooter who had displayed signs of violent tendencies. On his Twitter account, police found posts of extreme left-wing and anti-police ideologies.
In the wake of these heartbreaking incidents, it is important to reflect and ask ourselves if we, as a nation, are fulfilling the values our nation was founded on.
We also owe our law enforcement and first responders our utmost gratitude. They risk their lives to protect and serve us, often going without the thanks they deserve. These brave men and women came to the rescue of not only the victims and families of El Paso and Dayton but to our communities every day.
Last week, Central Washington celebrated National Night Out, an event which aims to build upon relationships with communities and law enforcement. Families gather together, meet with police officers, and learn about different available safety resources and programs.
Events like National Night Out are extremely important to strengthen neighborhood camaraderie and promote public safety. By getting to know one another and creating friendships, we can practice compassion and strengthen our communities.
Whether motivated by hatred, racism, white supremacy, or politics, acts of violence should not be tolerated in the United States. We cannot let these horrific events become the status quo, and we must get back to the liberty, equality, diversity, and unity our Founding Fathers envisioned.
Congressman Dan Newhouse of Sunnyside serves the 4th Congressional District in Washington, D.C.