The embarrassing mayhem at the U.S. Capitol began immediately in biblical proportions.

With all of the issues facing Americans, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided the most important item of business to take up first was gender pronouns used in House correspondence and legislation. She actually introduced a 45-page package of House rules that would remove all mention of gender-specific pronouns and terms such as “man,” “woman,” “mother,” “father,” and “son.”

After once again electing Pelosi as Speaker of the House, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat from Missouri and an ordained Methodist minister, was asked to give the prayer to open the House session. Cleaver, whom I assume wanted to be clever, tried to be humorous and ended the prayer with the words “amen” and “awoman” to show the gender neutrality of the prayer, probably in response to the new House rules.

The word "amen" has nothing to do with gender, but is actually a word from biblical Hebrew to Greek, then to Latin and later to English, meaning “certainty” or “certainly,” and also translated as “so be it.” The word “awoman” is not actually a word at all. Saying “amen” at the close of a prayer, or writing it at the end of a statement, instead indicates the listener or reader agrees with and supports the statement. Adding “awoman” to the end of the prayer is asinine.

The backlash suffered by Rep. Cleaver should not be surprising. Americans have pushed normal issues to the point that there will be a backlash for anything said or done if the person is not on your side. As expected, those on the right did not spare the verbal rod against his action, and those on the left were quick to forgive Cleaver, who called his action nothing more than “a lighthearted pun.”

However, it shows again just who did what as to what the reaction will be by respective sides. When then-candidate Trump had supporters simply raise their hands in show of support for this campaign, social and mainstream media were ablaze saying his actions were in the image of what Adolf Hitler did in Germany during the rise of the Nazi party. At the time, Trump responded by saying the attendees at his campaign rallies were simply “having fun.”

The divisiveness this country has seen over the past three decades is horrendous and reached epic proportions this past week with the protests at the U.S. Capitol over the electors. What started out as a peaceful, yet vocal, protest turned into a riotous act when some breached the barricades and stormed the Capitol building and began attempting to enter the House chambers during the counting of the votes

Make no mistake: This action was wrong, just as wrong as it was when earlier in the year, protesters took over portions of cities and neighborhoods and began destroying buildings, homes and cars. Peaceful protests are a right guaranteed to all citizens, but riots and destruction are criminal acts, and anyone crossing that line should be prosecuted to the fullest.

It was interesting, though, that while for months we heard about the “peaceful protests” and “summer of love” in cities when protesters were bringing notice to an issue that benefited the left, similar actions were immediately termed “riots” when it was about protesting potential or perceived fraud over the election by some on the right.

It makes one inquire as to why occupying cities and destroying businesses is considered “peaceful,” while expressing displeasure at the actions of our elected representatives “riots.” It seems as if words, just like lives, really do matter.

Randy Gibson is the CEO of RDG Communications Group, LLC, and the former director of the Tahlequah Area Chamber of Commerce and the Texas State Rifle Association.

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