After the terrible shooting of Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana) and four others in Alexandria, Virginia, there have been calls from both sides of the political aisle for a check on inflammatory rhetoric.
However, there have been those, like President Donald Trump's counselor Kellyanne Conway, Rep. Chris Collins (R-New York), and other conservatives, who have only stoked the fires.
To add to the bad blood, a political ad was run in Georgia using the Virginia shooting to attack Democratic upstart and congressional hopeful Jon Ossoff.
The ad opens with footage of Scalise on a stretcher overlaid with the sound of rapid fire gunshots.
“The unhinged left is endorsing and applauding shooting Republicans,” the narrator says. “When will it stop? It won’t if Jon Ossoff wins on Tuesday."
The infamous and highly controversial image of Kathy Griffin holding a rendition of Trump's severed head is shown along with a letter containing violently anti-fascist rhetoric. The bloody imagery and brutally anti-right attitudes are explicitly linked to Ossoff, and the narrator ends with, "Stop Jon Ossoff. Stop Nancy Pelosi. Vote Karen Handel for Congress."
The ad was produced by the ironically-named Principled PAC just days before the runoff election between 6th district candidates Ossoff and Handel. Both politicians have spoken out against the tasteless politicizing of the attack, the details of which are still unfolding.
"The man is fighting for his life. I think it’s disgraceful to politicize it, and I think Secretary Handel should call for it to come down," Ossof told reporters. "You have a national tragedy that has united people. There are still people who are in critical condition. It's just got no place in an attack ad."
A spokeswoman for Handel also reprimanded the ad, but fell tellingly short of demanding it be taken down.
“For any group to use the shootings this week for political or personal benefit is shameful,” Kate Constantini said in a statement on Handel's behalf. “This group should be ashamed.”
As a nation, we must fight hard to stick together, particularly when there are so many among us who seek to further divide America. Ads like this are representative of deep divides in Congress and in our communities, so we must move forward carefully and not give in to anger.
We decide what kind of nation America is, not extremists or those that feed their hate.