Police arrested the legislative aide of Del. Jackson Miller (R-Prince William) for allegedly taking part in a scuffle in the District on election night that officers describe as an anti-gay incident.Del. Miller is known in Richmond for his anti-migrant bills in the House of Delegates, but has little political history with the issue of gay rights. While Miller himself is not at all responsible for the crime committed by his aide, one could question the rise in violent actions and rhetoric among those affiliated with Republicans in the same way some Republicans draw linkages between certain groups and terrorism. If a higher percentage of hate crimes are committed by Republicans than non-Republicans, is it fair to smear all Republicans as criminals? What if we replaced "Republican" with "Muslim" and "crimes/criminals" with "terrorism/terrorists?"
Bryan Fumagalli, 28, was arrested Nov. 22 on two counts of simple assault, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"I'm very disappointed in his actions,'' Miller said today. "He's being dealt with and being disciplined."
Police say Fumagalli assaulted one of two gay men who were walking outside the Capitol Hilton Hotel to a victory rally near the White House. They say he grabbed a rainbow flag, a gay rights symbol, from one of the men and assaulted him. - The Washington Post
If we let falsehoods and hatred about some groups go unchallenged in our discourse, then we create an environment where taking physical action against the "other" seems acceptable, even logical. What responsibility do we all have to stand up when someone we know, love or respect says something deliberately false or hateful about those who are not around to defend themselves?
In my own home, when a member of my own family started speaking lies and invective regarding migrants, I stopped them. I said, "This is my house, and I will not have those things said in my house." It was hard, it caused some problems in my family, but my daughter was sleeping upstairs. I have a responsibility to her to stop the seeds of fear and anger which may be spread, even by those I love, if only in my own home.
Ending fear, intolerance and hatred starts with each of us, every day. It is the only long-term answer for a vibrant, diverse and integrated society which we must become to fully realize the potential of our country.
Perhaps if someone Mr. Fumagalli respected had chastised him for a homophobic epithet once in a while, he would not be in jail today?