EDITORIAL: Time for an intervention

York Dispatch

Some politicians apparently need to be reminded of something:

We live in a civilized country.

We expect our elected officials to be able to speak to and about each other without sounding like schoolyard bullies.

Most importantly, we expect them not to speak about each other or other citizens in violent terms.

Do we need to repeat that, Sen. Scott Wagner?

Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, spoke last weekend at the GOP Winter Meeting in Hershey about Gov. Tom Wolf.

"We had him down on the floor with our foot on his throat and we let him up. Next time, we won't let him up," political news website PoliticsPa quoted Wagner as saying.

Of course, Wagner is known for his brash way of speaking. He once compared labor unions to Russian President Vladmir Putin and Adolf Hitler, saying they were all about "power and control." He also told a radio station shortly after his election in 2014 that he would be "sitting in the back room with a baseball bat," a quaint way of saying he would get things done.

Wagner isn't the only politician using the language of violence to make his points. According to The Daily Beast, the word "kill" was used 53 times during the Dec. 15 Republican presidential debate, from Donald Trump's "These are people that want to kill us" and Sen. Ted Cruz's “We will hunt down and kill the terrorists” to Mike Huckabee's “We have to kill some terrorists and kill every one of them.”

In fact, the British Parliament this week had to hold a debate on whether to ban GOP frontrunner Trump from that country because of his "violent ideology" after 570,000 Britons signed a petition. (Trump is still feel to travel to England, by the way; the Parliament didn't take a vote.)

Perhaps what is needed is an intervention.

Politicians, we think you're overusing the violent rhetoric. Most people don't like to hear that sort of language. It puts us all in a bad position when people who are in charge seem to think that it's OK to even figuratively beat up others who don't agree with them on political stances.

We realize that it gets you a lot of attention and it gets your message out.

But it's time to act like an adult.

We're saying this because we care about you. We have information about anger management and counseling, and we want you to take it.

Or maybe it's time for a time out. Go think about what you've said and come back when you can relate to your peers in a positive fashion.

FILE - In this Dec. 1, 2015, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump smiles as he arrives at a campaign stop at the White Mountain Athletic Club in Waterville Valley, N.H. The Republican establishment has flexed its muscle in New Hampshire’s presidential primaries for years. But in the unpredictable 2016 election, the state’s standard political playbook faces challenges on two fronts. Trump’s brash brand of populism is resonating with voters, sustaining a commanding lead in statewide preference polls for months. (AP Photo/Jim Cole, File)
State Sen. Scott Wagner