Have we reached a new level of ugly?

It was a beautiful weekend here on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and coupling both a day at the beach and a day of golf, it made it pretty perfect.
AH, but there was more to come.
I have a guilty pleasure, that being on Sunday morning I enjoy reading a paper, real newsprint paper, and my paper of choice is the Cape Cod Times. It’s a perfect size usually for about a sixty to ninety-minute read and does a good job of curating articles both local and national from the Associated Press, other papers and their local writers.
Their feature article which is a three-part series is on the “Erosion of civility” in Washington, an interesting topic that is one that has been in the conversation but not right out front as it should be. Certainly timely considering the consistent banter between parties that results in nothing productive but fuels the newswire and fills social media.
They have reached out to historians, educators, political scientists, and religious leaders, to get their view on whether we are at the low point of our nation’s history with regard to civility in government or is it not as bad as we would suggest. There are opinions that vary greatly, from those that compare it to the brink of civil war to those that remind us that prior to the actual Civil War it was not uncommon to have actual fistfights break out on the floor of Congress, duels were a regular occurrence, both then, and as we all have been reminded by Hamilton, the play, during the early days of the formulation of our present form of government.

I guess this indicates that we are not in as bad shape as many of us might think even with the reality that Congress can’t get anything accomplished, and the President continues to use Executive Order as a way to circumvent the Legislative branch to implement his policies.
We are reminded in the article that there is a perception gap among Democrats, and Republicans, research shows that each parties estimate of the proportion of their opponents that have “extreme” views is roughly double reality, 55% to 30%. A surprising finding is that about half the Republicans think that “properly controlled immigration can be good for America” when in fact the study found that it was a majority of Republicans that agreed with this statement, 85%. Maybe we just need to talk to each other more rather than rely on Twitter and CNN to inform us of what people believe.
As I read these intriguing opinions I actually began to lean towards the “not as bad as I thought” belief and then later in the day something happened to alter my thinking.
Our President’s latest tweets appeared with his views regarding four progressive junior members of Congress suggesting they should go back to their countries of birth which he characterized as “totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came”. Ironically three of the four were born in
The United States and the fourth has been a citizen living in Minnesota for ten years. It is sad that the President or his staff don’t even study the background of his arch-rivals before lashing out at them. The most effective way to win a debate is to thoroughly research your opposition and identify their weaknesses.
This along with his follow-up of ” If they don’t like this country and are unhappy here they can leave” brings me back to the same words the pro-war hawks used in the debate over the continuance of the war in Vietnam in the ’60s and ’70s. There was no dignity in those words
then and there isn’t now.
Have we now stumbled over the line from uncomfortable name-calling, to outright racist remarks and personal attacks, that will serve to move society in the United States closer to a conflict between the white nationalists and the progressive people of color? We are already fighting a battle to reduce gang and drug violence in the cities and now could we be moving toward increased activist response including violence in the form of a societal conflict not unlike the debates that escalated during the “Antebellum” period which evolved into the Civil War.
Isn’t it past time that the patience with, and excuses for, the actions of this president end and both his own party and the voters that he regularly courts pressure him to listen rather than tweet insults, and open the door to conversation rather than resort to racist and vindictive remarks.
For the Democrats, it is time to be the statesman, not the antagonists and recognize that their job isn’t to win a rock fight but to pass legislation that makes the lot for all better and the country a more respectable one.
We are losing our leadership position in the world with our bickering and offensive behavior rather than showing the world how opposing views and civil debate can make our country stronger if we collaborate and listen rather than fighting to be the loudest voice and have the last word.
It’s time for us as citizens to implore our legislators to focus on doing their jobs and not spending a majority of their time hurling insults on social media and making accusations instead of presenting solutions.

Republicans, grow a pair and get your “leader” under control,

Democrats, stop taking the bait and represent.

Civility, an interesting concept!

#strategy, #leadership, #civility, #dignity