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In a statement sent to reporters on Friday, Lauren Valle, the MoveOn.org activist who was stomped on during a pre-rally demonstration outside the Kentucky Senate debate, addressed her antagonist’s insistence that he is the one owed an apology.
The crux of the issue, Valle said, is not who was in the wrong with respect to the fracas (most sober-minded observers agree that head-stomping was a completely inappropriate response to Valle’s pre-debate antics). Rather, it is about whether contemporary politics would continue to be threaded with violence.
Mr. Profitt, You have asked that I apologize to you. Perhaps this is not the apology that you are looking for, but I do have some things to say.
I have been called a progressive, a liberal, a professional agitator. You have been called a conservative, a Republican, a member of the Tea Party movement. Fundamentally and most importantly, you and I are both human beings. We are also both American citizens. These two facts, to me, are far more meaningful than the multitude of labels that we carry. And if these two facts are true then it means we are on the same team.
I have not been for one moment angry with you and your actions. Instead I feel thoroughly devastated. It is evident that your physical assault on me is symptomatic of the crisis that this country is struggling through. And it seems that I will heal from my injuries long before this country can work through our separation. Only when we decide let go of our hate, our violence and our aggression will we be able to communicate to each other about the issues that divide us. Right now, we are not communicating, we are stomping on each other. No one can ever win, no one can ever be heard, with violence.
You and I, as fellow citizens, and we, as a country, have a choice. Either we choose to continue the cycle of inflicting violence upon each other, screaming at each other, insulting each other and putting one another down or we and find a way to sit down and start listening to each other. We’ll see how far we get. We are all viciously and vociferously feeding a fire that will only burn us down together. We must reach inside ourselves and make space for each other. We must forgive each other. We must believe in our capacity for transformation. The moment we choose compassion and reconciliation is the moment that we will begin to move toward freedom. There is no other way.
I believe that you should be held accountable for your actions but I also recognize the incredibly negative impact that the consequences must be having on your life, and I wish you all the best as you yourself heal from this. Violence hurts everyone.
Valle’s response is, all in all, a fairly generous one to an incident that would cause most people some lingering outrage. And it strikes a similar tone to that which former Obama adviser Van Jones adopted when first addressing the criticism he received from Glenn Beck (criticism that resulted in his resignation). Instead of addressing the agitator, they both decried the agitating.