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on civility in politics

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I already messed up my blog. I was going to start with sandwiches describing and introducing the philosophies and principles I function on and THEN get into the issues. I jumped the gun and posted a sandwich on marriage equality.

In thinking of the next sandwich I’d share, I thought of the why I started this blog in the first place; because I was discontent. What was I discontent with? I was discontent with the way that I view political discussion and why it’s taken be 28 years to actually write my views out into the public.

In short, I was being a wimp. I had such an aversion to the lack of civility in political discussion that I wanted to preserve my sanity, keep my temper down, and only discuss politics when I was absolutely sure someone wanted to. To me, that I felt that way is unfortunate and I’m glad to be done with it.

But how many times do I have to hear or see “libtard” or “wingnut” while I’m trying to form a real, honest, opinion about what’s best for all of us?

To be sure, I won’t tolerate abuse here and I won’t tolerate hateful ignorance by ANYONE. By civility, to borrow, I don’t mean politeness, agreement, unity, bipartisanship, or decorum. I mean the act of using a healthy dose of ethos, pathos, and logos. I believe we should be performing dialectics instead of debates.

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You can’t deny that it’s much more rampant now to demonize, attack, and ridicule someone that disagrees with you, especially with the veil that social media and the internet provide. It’s ironic that society is on about this “new” phenomenon of bullying when they continuously commit the “atrocities of bullying” on each other, celebrities, and politicians. (I find it funny that we justify bullying celebrities and politicians on the basis that they are public figures…weak and buck passing at best)

Is no one sick of this? I consider the lack of civility in politics a small part of the large engine that is mass political hypocrisy but I refuse to believe I’m the only one sick of it. Sure, it’s easy to get defensive when someone attacks you but at that point we should reach into our “adult” bag, be a bigger person and at least attempt to bring the discussion back to the topics at hand rather than ad homonym attacks. When it doesn’t work, I think we’ve done our duty, can leave a conversation and not get ourselves riled up over the ignorant masses (or few depending on how you look at it).

Sometimes it does work. People attack me all the time. I calm myself, resist the urge to get defensive, express my displeasure and keep my points on the topic. I find that half the time people give me the proverbial middle finger and go about their abuses, but the other half apologize, and we move forward. It’s amazing.

Why does civility matter? Because what we lack in civility, we also lack in solution and change. Whose mind are you going to change when they are automatically closed off to what you have to say because you attacked them? Passion is not what I want to stop; it’s this very juvenile name-calling and finger-in ear-tongue sticking-nahnahbooboo-ing. We do that. It’s real. When push comes to shove we’re all just four year olds.

But it’s not a question of whether we have thick-skin. You can’t be uncivil in political discussion and they throw out “grow up” when someone gets offended when you wanted them to. There is a difference between saying “you lost” and “you’re a loser”. There is a difference between “that’s dumb” and “you’re so stupid”. If you don’t know the difference and a lot of your “positions” revolve around the former statements or similar, you’re not welcome here.

Incivility is just another crappy ingredient. It’s not a part of my recipe and it shouldn’t be part of yours. We’re all better than that. I highly disagree with this article about civility being overrated.  Civility is not an engine that blocks compassion, passion, or pure honesty. We can be honest without being nasty. It’s in the presentation.

Understand the psychology of civility to understand its usefulness.

Be civil here. I will and I will not tolerate anything less.


2 Comments

  1. […] on civility in politics (yourblc.wordpress.com) […]

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