s
s
Sections
You've read 3 of 10 free articles this month.
This Week Only
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com PLUS the eEdition and our mobile app for $49 per year.

Add a year of Sunday home delivery for just $20 more!
Already a subscriber?
You've read 6 of 10 free articles this month.
This Week Only
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com PLUS the eEdition and our mobile app for $49 per year.

Add a year of Sunday home delivery for just $20 more!
Already a subscriber?
You've read all of your free articles this month.
This Week Only
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com PLUS the eEdition and our mobile app for $49 per year.

Add a year of Sunday home delivery for just $20 more!
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you.
This Week Only
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com PLUS the eEdition and our mobile app for $49 per year.

Add a year of Sunday home delivery for just $20 more!
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for reading! Why not subscribe?
This Week Only
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com PLUS the eEdition and our mobile app for $49 per year.

Add a year of Sunday home delivery for just $20 more!
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Subscribe today!
This Week Only
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com PLUS the eEdition and our mobile app for $49 per year.

Add a year of Sunday home delivery for just $20 more!
Already a subscriber?

On Thursday at 5 a.m., my daughter woke me to remind me of a promise I had made long ago. And despite being sleep-deprived and insufficiently caffeinated, I managed somehow to make it to the car. (Father’s Day note: I’m told these are the moments that we, as dads, will treasure for life. But have you ever noticed that it’s usually the moms who say that — from bed?)

“Let’s do this,” Clara said giving me a fist bump. She was adorned in her go-to uniform, a slate jersey with, of course, No. 30 on the back.

We found a parking spot at the El Cerrito Plaza BART station at 6:45 a.m. and within 30 minutes we were standing at Broadway and Telegraph Avenue in downtown Oakland, enveloped in a sea of blue and gold, positioned behind a father and son from Danville and a recently retired social services worker from San Leandro. The next three hours was a raucous celebration with strangers — a party that involved noisemakers, laughter and robust debate about how the Golden State Warriors can keep a good thing going. Then Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and company joined in on double-decker buses and bedlam ensued. Like a guy bringing the ball up the court, Steph Curry trailed the others, hoisting the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy.

“I like how all the real fans who couldn’t afford playoff tickets can still come to something like this and see their favorite players,” Clara shouted amid a gentle rain of confetti. “And it’s free.”

You know what else was great? At least for several hours on a Thursday morning, there were no divisions. No Republicans and Democrats. No red and blue. Just blue and gold.

But by 1 p.m., I was back at my desk — and back in the real world.

Here was the first email I opened: “You may not have been the one that pulled the trigger but you surely inspired that loon (in Alexandria, Virginia) to do so,” wrote a San Rafael resident. “Every day you breed hate for Trump, his family and Republicans. You are provocateurs and you want this violence to occur.” He went on to call us “a hateful bunch.”

It did not end there. “With your unending Trump bashing articles and Trump hate letters and opinions, what do you think is going to happen?” wrote one commentator on our website. “You are just egging the nut jobs on.”

Of course, these were some of the same guys who last month were accusing us of being pacifists, ready to leave law-abiding Americans vulnerable to criminals because of our support for gun control legislation. Now we’re bloodthirsty gun worshippers?

I wanted to remind them that if anyone’s guilty of openly inciting physical violence it’s the Tweeter in Chief, who not only has encouraged violent acts against protesters at his rallies but suggested “Second Amendment people” might have a solution for Hillary Clinton. Sadly, his Inauguration Day claims of “carnage in America” is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy thanks in large part to his unrelenting denigration of critics, political opponents and even world leaders. I wanted to say all of that. But I didn’t.

I’m tired of it.

Of course, Trump critics are no more to blame for the loon who fired on Republican members of Congress practicing for a baseball practice than Trump supporters were responsible for the nut who was shouting anti-Muslim racial slurs at two teenage girls on a Portland light rail train on May 26 and then knifed to death two men who came to her defense. “That’s what liberalism gets you,” he shouted after the attack.

As we said in our editorial on Thursday, the shooting in Alexandria was “a savage attack on Congress, on civility and on all of us.”

But how do we get away from not just the senseless violence but the utter contempt that has become woven into our discourse? Does anybody really want this for our country? I don’t, not as a journalist but particularly not as a father.

As unrealistic and temporary as it was, I would much prefer to have my kids witness the kind of community camaraderie that was on display at Broadway and Telegraph Avenue on Thursday. But how do we get there?

I thought about this as I ended that long day watching the annual Congressional Baseball Game. The Democrats won but gave the Republicans the trophy to put in the office of Rep. Steve Scalise who was critically wounded in the shooting. It was a nice gesture, one that was accepted with grace.

Maybe what America needs is something to rally around. NASA and the space program served that purpose in the 1960s, inspiring a generation of engineers and scientists and reminding the country of what we are capable of achieving when we put our minds to it.

If not a distraction, maybe we need another counterculture movement, something like the “Summer of Love” that drew thousands of people to San Francisco 50 years ago this summer.

One such person pushing this idea is Ira Chernus, a journalist, author, and professor of religious studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “In 1967, antiwar activists were groping their way toward answers to similar questions,” Chernus wrote recently in the Nation. “At least we have one advantage. We can look back at their answers and use them to help make sense of our own situation. As it happens, theirs are still depressingly relevant …”

Maybe, once again, all we need is love. But I would settle for just a little more civility.

What are your ideas? Write or call me with your suggestions on how we can move past the acrimony of our current discourse. We need something — because basketball season won’t resume until October.

Paul Gullixson is editorial director for The Press Democrat. Email him at paul.gullixson@pressdemocrat.com.