There is no easy way to address a crisis, especially in this political climate. Immediately, the knee-jerk reaction is to blame the current administration or those opposed to the ideas we believe would have prevented said tragedy.
Because of previous "winking and nodding" (as Ben Shapiro describes it) President Trump has done to the alt-right, the larger sense from the Left is that he is responsible for inciting race-related brutality. This emotional take completely dismisses the facts regarding the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter. Not only was the killer vehemently opposed to the president but he hardly represents the first of this brand of violence on American soil. The history of anti-Semitism, in word and deed, existed long before his actions and will continue long after in places near and far. This is the sad truth.
Ahead of President Trump's Tuesday visit to Pittsburgh, there were calls for him to stay away. Even during his visit, protests occurred. Demonstrations of that kind existed in the wrong time and place. When a national event shakes the country to its core, it is just and fitting for this or any president to make an appearance. It matters not what the pundits say or what the social media chatter is; our leader must always make an attempt at solidarity.
Of all the Jewish voices raised after Saturday's massacre, Jeffrey Myers, the rabbi at Tree of Life synagogue, should have been given the largest platform. During a Monday appearance on CNN, he said the following:
"The president of the United States is always welcome. I'm a citizen. He's my president. He is certainly welcome."
Eleven members of Myers' own spiritual community were slaughtered and he not only declared his openness to welcoming the leader of our country but called him "my president." His words serve as a powerful reminder to Republicans, Democrats, and any in between who tailor their reactions to slaughter through a filter of politics. More often than not, the president is only "our president" post-crisis if we voted for him or generally support his policies. Otherwise, he's the enemy and should distance himself from ground zero.
This is always the wrong approach.
Apart from pulling a trigger or giving a command to do the same, no one but the murderous criminal is to blame for acts of violence. This applies in the case of James Hodgkinson, the Bernie Sanders supporter who shot members of Congress, and critically wounded Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La., on June 14, 2017. It also pertains to Robert Bowers, the racist lunatic who stormed into a place of worship on Saturday. Whether the words of politicians resonated with them or not is of little concern. Their actions were their own.
None of us should completely discount the rhetoric that comes from all sides. Trump should be held accountable for his words, which often divide. The same goes for Democratic politicians and their kind. In addition, the media is responsible for its purposeful misleading and fearmongering. But when a life-ending tragedy occurs, those conversations must wait, at least for a short while. There is more than enough time to point the finger of blame in the aftermath.
Just for a moment, Americans should fight against their first impulse to blame and instead, stand with their president in solidarity against evil. The unification will be brief, but there is simply no other option. Since the electorate is ripe with division, the only way to begin to chip away at hate is to cooperate when things are the worst.
I have no idea what Rabbi Myers' personal political beliefs are, and that is refreshing. In the wake of domestic terrorism that violently stood upon his own ground, he was willing to meet with the leader of a divided nation. Of the many roles our commander-in-chief embodies, perhaps being "our president" in times of tragedy is the most important one. We, as members of a divided nation, should give him the opportunity to represent us all.
Kimberly Ross (@SouthernKeeks) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog and a senior contributor at RedState.com.