There was a time when we could count on civility. There was a moment in our history when we could actually respect another’s opinion, maybe even weigh it against our own with no harm, and then move on without a grudge, without name calling, without hostility. We enjoyed a rare exhibit of humanity when an election was over; when the people had spoken, we accepted the outcome and went on with our lives, knowing that the constitution and reasonable compromise would prevail. I was taught this in school and in church, and it was exemplified by my elders and former national leaders.
It’s become increasingly apparent that civility is a lost quality in our nation. This should concern us all.
It began with the election of the current president and a remark from a senator that the commander-in-chief would only get ‘one term’. It gained momentum when the house speaker in charge couldn’t (or wouldn’t) lead his cabal and a power play over the national budget suddenly became evening news fodder. It culminated when a law, upheld by the checks and balances of the supreme court, was repeatedly voted upon for repeal (or parts of the law as some would clarify – either way, the inability to accept the high court’s decision has marred our national landscape).
It continues with this election cycle. We have witnessed some atrocious behavior towards one another. We don’t respect each other’s opinion, instead we resort to name calling and vitriolic attacks on friends and family. This isn’t civility, it’s anarchy. This isn’t democracy, it’s tyranny. This isn’t respect, it’s cynicism.
We. Are. Better. Than. This.
I understand there is fear, but there is peace with unity. I get that there is lack of integrity, but we can have great confidence in reason.
We will elect a new leader tomorrow. May we honor the votes, honor our democracy, and come together again at the end of the competition, under one flag, under one ideal and move forward once more as one – because without civility, we can no longer claim to uphold the torch of democracy and the “American Dream”. We cannot exclaim that we are exceptional.
E pluribus anum.
Yours in peace,