Wednesday, March 7, 2012


The AARP bulletin for March is the latest ‘main stream’ publication to bemoan the loss of civility in contemporary American society. Like most of the other media sources that comment on civility, the AARP bulletin, speaks as if the lack of civility was a general, societal problem with no one in particular at fault. I disagree with this point of view.

First, I agree that the lack of civility is a serious problem. I also agree that it is a widespread, societal problem that needs to be addressed at many levels. Where I disagree is that there is no one, or no group in particular at fault. We must call a spade a spade and identify one of the prime sources of incivility and thus one of the prime ways to address it and begin to eliminate it.

To me one of the prime sources of incivility and therefore one of the prime ways to address it and begin to eliminate it, is the rhetoric of the so-called ‘conservatives,’ t-party and extremist Republicans. Their name calling, personal attacks, lack of respect, especially for the President, gross distortions of fact, and out-and-out lying have rarely been equaled.

Of course the left and so-called ‘liberals’ distort facts and have biases. But who on the left is even close to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and the whole Fox News establishment? Wasn’t it the Republicans under the leadership of Newt (what kind of name is that, anyhow?) Gingrich that shut down the government 15 years ago and almost did it again last year? The Dems don’t do things like that (mostly ‘cause they’re wimps and are afflicted with blue dog-itis).

Which party is attacking women’s rights to contraception, shackling the state to the care of unwanted babies and dealing with their subsequent criminal behavior? Who speaks of honoring the Constitution, then fights against the separation of church and state - a separation that is not only about the freedom to practice one’s religion of choice, but to be free from religion, and not made to submit to unelected, undemocratic, theocratic ministers and traditions?

There’s so much more of this…. One last one: who would rather bomb Iran, in the name of their theocratic, evangelical support for the Second Coming and poorly camouflaged by the rhetoric of support for an ally, than criticize, the non-existent moral authority and hate-filled rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh?

The Republicans are not all bad of course, but lately they’ve been worse than bad. Their leadership in incivility is dangerous for civility which is, as the AARP bulletin said, “more than polite courtesies. Derived from the Old French and Latin term for ‘good citizen,’ civility enables us to live respectfully in communities, and is the glue that binds society. It is an essential component of our human sustainability, enabling us not only to survive, but thrive…. [it is about] treating others with respect, compassion, kindness and generosity.”

Haven’t we had enough incivility? It’s not just about polite courtesies. Can’t we say, ‘no’ to those who sponsor, preach and practice incivility? We can and we must! Vote the incivility out and don’t put it back in. Somehow, the oh so righteous incivility mongers always seem to get back in and when they’re in, they always seem to bring the incivility with them. Think Nixon, think Bush the second, think that Gerald Ford and Bush the first were the exceptions. Enough, already! Stop incivility now, please…!

No comments:

Post a Comment