MIAMI (CBS4) – The American flag flew at half-staff over the Miami Federal Courthouse complex Monday. Black ribbons marked the lapels of many in attendance for the local swearing in ceremony of members of South Florida’s congressional delegation. Together, they observed a nationwide moment of silence in the wake of the Arizona shooting tragedy.
Amidst those solemn moments, there were also reminders of the nation’s enduring strengths, of the oath taking by the son of Cuban immigrants, and now Miami’s U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio.
Senator Rubio said, “I’ve always believed rhetoric should be respectful, irrespective of this tragedy. There are no words to describe a tragedy like this. It’s inexplicable and at the same time inexcusable.”
Republicans Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart along with Democrat Fredericka Wilson also renewed their congressional oaths of office before a federal judge and the local audience.
Congressman Diaz-Balart said he will not shrink from his public outreach with constituents back home. “We can’t let one unbalanced, crazy, violent individual change the way we act with our elected officials,” Diaz-Balart said.
Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen, meanwhile, disputed arguments that increasingly venomous political rhetoric might have played some role in sparking the Arizona tragedy.
“This was a random act of violence and I don’t think you can say it was because of the rhetoric on talk radio or because of any news reports,” Ros-Lehtinen said.
But former Miami Democratic congresswoman Carrie Meek said she thinks we need to reclaim at least some degree of civility in the public arena.
Meek said, “We should tone down much of the rhetoric that I’m hearing. We are all citizens of this country and regardless of party should work together.”