On Political Civility or the Lack Thereof

Terry Frank has penned an eloquent call for continued loud citizen voices in the political arena that begins with the not-as-eloquent-as-what-follows statement: “If I hear the word civility one more time, I’ll puke.”
An excerpt:
Calls for civility are one of the many smokescreens to the continuance of misdeeds–a virtual cloud for cronyism. Such lectures regarding your behavior or speech are not truly intended to raise the level of discourse or provide more forums or roundtables or columns or even new voices for a furthering or expansion of political debate. Nay, those calls for a more civilized body politic are rooted in the political elites self-serving desire to carry on its politics business-as-usual, fully uninterrupted.
Demands for hushed voices and pinkies-up on your teacup are the tools to shadow the merits of our representative republic. There can be no political accountability if the voices of the people are never heard, or if those voices are misrepresented by handpicked pundits. We can’t have representation that works if we are cowed into believing we are too uncivilized–if we are demoralized into believing we are too ignorant–to participate in our own government. If we hear no other voices, we are led to believe we are alone.
A little honesty is order. It’s not the tone or the rhetoric the political class doesn’t like, it’s an American public awakened that is not appreciated.
Whether it’s President Obama and Nancy Pelosi, or even Senator Lamar Alexander and our newly elected Tennessee Speaker Beth Harwell and her call for an end to “bickering”, the message they send is loud and clear: “trust us, there’s nothing to see here; now move on along.”

To avoid nausea, perhaps Terry should avoid reading Otis Sanford’s Sunday column, though it doesn’t actually use the ‘C’ word….much less the press release announcing formation of the National Institute for Civil Discourse, chaired on a bipartisan basis by former presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, which does.
From Sanford’s commentary on Gov. Bill Haslam’s call for less heated rhetoric.:
Some lawmakers and their allies don’t give a hoot about decorum or respecting the opposition. Governor or no governor, you’re either in lockstep with them or you’re treated like the enemy.
Since taking office in mid-January, Haslam has tried to be the diplomat between a cantankerous bunch of Republicans, who now enjoy a super-majority in the state legislature, and anyone who opposes their agenda. And all it’s gotten him so far is an unflattering comparison to public TV’s kind-hearted Mister Rogers.
….The poisonous political atmosphere in Nashville already is every bit as bad as it is in Washington. And it didn’t just get that way three weeks ago. Republicans and their supporters aren’t all to blame for it, but they’ve certainly carried it a higher level in recent years.

And there was a previous post on Bill ‘Mister Rogers’ Haslam HERE.

2 thoughts on “On Political Civility or the Lack Thereof

  1. Donna Locke

    I agree with Terry. It’s way past time to start calling some people out, especially when their actions affect other people, few or many, and when it’s high time to inject some facts, some truth, another point of view, into the record.
    On blogs in the past couple of days, I’ve called a lefty attack blogger a hypocrite, and Tennessee’s Republican lieutenant governor a business-lobby puppet. I’ve never been a mincer of words, but there are lines I won’t cross. I don’t lie about people, I try to be fair, and I don’t get into the gutter, though I’m sure that’s a matter of perception.
    As Gov. Haslam warned during his campaign: “We will defend ourselves.”
    As for the Republicans in the legislature, they’ve been sprung from a jail imposed by decades of Democratic control. Under that Democratic dictatorship, many of us observed a hell of a lot of arrogance on the part of the Democrats, many injustices, much incivility, continual disrespect toward our Republican lawmakers and their bills and thus to us their constituents, and just general intolerance and worse on the part of the ruling Democrats.
    I refuse to indict the Republicans for turning the tables on ’em in terms of control, but I dare say the Democrats are receiving and will receive better treatment from the Republicans than the Dems dished out. But the Democrats will react like toddlers anyway, because they want it all. Liberals, the left, are not known for sharing or for tolerance of other views. Quite the contrary. That’s a diversity they simply can’t have.
    I like some of the Democratic lawmakers, and we agree on a few things some of the Dems SAY they believe in, though we independents have been far louder advocates than they for those things, such as gay equality in this state. The Democrats are just trying to leverage advantage for themselves out of anything that is said or that happens.
    The times are critical. Our nation is fragmenting and on the road to falling apart. The world is in flux. This is no time to soft-pedal. Speak now or forever hold your peace.

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