INDIANAPOLIS –  Where to start? I do think it’s great that the congressional baseball game will go on. It is for charity after all, and we can’t let fear or hate shut down our way of life, as everyone says when tragedy or terrorism occurs.
     
Maybe they have already thought about this, but it might be a good idea to do away with the Republican vs. Democrat theme this year and split the two teams up if possible.  Remember when you’d pick teams in the backyard and captains would each pick one player at a time until the weakest players were left as the last picks? You never wanted to be that last pick. Of course, I never was. I just remember how it was for the others.  But those last picks will play harder to prove they don’t stink. It might be fun and at least different.
     
At any rate, having Ds and Rs play on the same team against other Ds and Rs might bring a truer show of unity. Nothing better to bring folks that don’t know each other well enough together than making them teammates – except maybe being in a war together.  Unfortunately, too much of real life is turning, or could at any time, turn into a war zone.
     
Drinking together is really good too. When I was a House Republican staffer, after a long day and night at the Statehouse, a bunch of us would go out and for a period of time, we’d end up at the same bar where the House Democrat legislators would be hanging. I’ve still got great relationships with some of them because of those days.
     
My point is that whatever it takes, something needs to change. I do hope, like so many are saying at this moment, that we all realize this has gone too far. It was just an election. We’ve had plenty and we’ll have many more.  It isn’t worth a life or even an injury.
     
I agree with my friend Lisa Kobe that the president needs to lead on this and has an opportunity to bring about positive change and maybe even a fresh start. I think he has already taken a good first step by his call for unity and his reminder that everyone serving the public does so because they love America. I also believe that it is up to leaders of both parties to step up and make the turn away from the vitriol that is taking over our political process.
     
Not just our politicians, but the media as well need to take a serious look at themselves and their performance. It seems that everyone has an ax to grind but it would be best to work harder to bring honesty and integrity back to reporting.
     
The public that is participating in politics now more than ever also needs to examine themselves. In late February, in the first paragraph of a column for this publication, I wrote of watching a news story about a crowd of adults in Chicago encouraging kids to beat the crap out of a piñata in the image of President Trump and rip its limbs off after knocking it to the ground. The last line of that column was, “Anger and hatred will lead only further into an abyss and to the demise of the Democrat Party as we have known it at the national level.”
     
I also get that this could happen tomorrow from a misguided soul from the other side that hates Democrats. I’m not blaming Democrats or Bernie Sanders or the media or anyone for the tragedy at the baseball practice. I only blame the shooter. I’m just saying that you never know how criticism taken to the extreme can turn into bullying and hate and this can bring about a mob mentality or even help push an already mentally troubled individual into performing an evil act.
     
Months ago it was the Trump piñata incident, but it’s gotten worse. Recently, it was Kathy Griffin with the fake Trump beheading, and now the Shakespeare in Central Park President and Melania Trump assassination adaptation of Julius Caesar.
     
I get it, some people hate Trump, some hate his tweets. Some folks can’t believe he is president. Now a few lost souls want to take it out on other Republicans. The baseball practice shooting was bad enough, but threats made after the shooting against Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, R-New York, are also just plain evil and show that this isn’t just one lone wolf.
     
Enough is enough. It’s time now for a turn to the better and to unify as a community and as a nation. That’s what this country does in the face of tragedy. We all just need to slow down and remember that there are enough true enemies out there in the world that we don’t need to make any more out of our fellow Americans.  

Samuel is president of Samuel Solutions based in Indianapolis. He was the vice chairman of the 2016 Indiana Trump campaign.