Sunday, November 6, 2011

Civility revisited

  President Obama gave an eloquent speech in Tucson on January 12, 2011 after the shooting of Representatiave Gabrielle Giffords.  In it he said   "How can we honor the fallen? How can we be true to their memory?  ....[we can remember]  we are all Americans, and that we can question each other's ideas without questioning each other's love of country" 

Earlier in 2010, when the Tea Party Movement began, Democrats called for civility on the House Floor when false reports about Tea Partiers calling Representatives racial slurs surfaced.

The Establishment Media reported endlessly about the "lack of civility"  here here here here and here which they concluded caused the Tucson tragedy.  One pundit even called for a National Civility Month, and USA Today reported that a National Civility Institute was being established by President Bill Clinton and President George H.W. Bush.  Never mind that the Tucson tragedy was perpetrated by a mentally ill assailant who had no political motive.  These articles linked the conservative Tea Party to the lack of civil discourse in this country.

How times have changed in so short a period.  First, a mere month after the Tucson tragedy, there were the decidedly uncivil  union protests in Wisconsin and elsewhere across the country.  The Establishment Media and the President were silent on the the lack of civility by union protestors. Indeed, while Obama remained mostly silent about the protests, his Secretary of Labor enthusiastically endorsed the union's methods.

Then came the Occupy movement.   Unlike the Tea Party Movement, the Occupy Movement has been characterized by physical attacks on the elderly , arson, sexual assaults anti semitism; vandalism,  zombie like shouting down speakers.    

Civility went out of fashion a mere few weeks after the Tucson tragedy, according the Establishment Media and President Obama.  A Google search of the word "Tucson tragedy civility"  reveals hundreds of stories about the need for civility in politics in the wake of the Tucson shootings.  A Google search "Occupy movement civility" reveals not one Establishment Media story linking the Occupy Movement with the need for civility in public discourse. Not one.  And of course, our eloquent President has been silent on the need for civility by the Occupy protestors.

Last night, Presidential candidates Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich provided the answer to the call for civil discourse in politics. In an historic Lincoln Douglas style debate on entitlements,  the two candidates delved into the issues of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security entitlements, and how to save those programs for our children and grandchildren.  There were no "gotcha" moments, no personal attacks; only cordial discourse on the problems we face and solutions to those problems. If you did not see the debate,  I urge you to go to C-Span to watch it.   If we truly want civility in politics, Cain and Gringrich have demonstrated how it can work. 

1 comment:

  1. It would be nice if the debates would be broadcast on TV. I wonder how many people actually watch the debates. Every time there's been a debate, we've had to do a lot of research to figure out how to actually watch the debate and in the end have had to gather around the computer screen to see it. I hope that other people are also out there watching the debates. I heard at least one friend say she'd like to wait til the field is narrowed down to two candidates before she decides to pay attention. We should look at the political debates as an important step and opportunity in our duty as citizens, not as a chore or something that should be an activity only for those who are "politically minded". All of us should be politically minded, particularly now, as the world appears to implode around us.