John Dickerson considers what should happen now.

John Dickerson considers what should happen now.

Any speech now, from the president or a top Republican, would have to go beyond merely saying, “Tone down the rhetoric.” This doesn’t mean that sanitizing political speech is the answer. Passion is inevitable and even necessary. (Besides which, there’s no workable way to tamp it down. You can’t station a TSA agent at the front of every debate.)

Still, thinking first in terms of restraint rather than attack, in crafting a political message or in a political debate, might mean taking a breath before you assume the worst about your opponent’s motives. It might mean a pause to consider the danger of your own knee-jerk view of their ideas. Maybe they’re actually capable of reasonable thought.

In honor of the victims of the shooting, Congress will observe a moment of silence tomorrow afternoon. Fitting but insufficient. What we need is a permanent moment of restraint.

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