Sunday, March 11, 2012

Some civility, please (Oh, sorry if I shouted)

I loved politics when I was younger. The competition and debate excited me in ways that, I suspect, physical contact and the drive to win get the juices flowing of football players and prize fighters.

But that started to change for me a few years ago when the discourse in this nation turned ugly; when compromise became a vulgarity; when win-at-all-cost egomaniacs started populating the ballot, egged on by the cable news know-it-alls. It changed when the Olympia Snowes and Evan Bayhs of the political world had enough and walked away. Can't say that I blame them.

Can't we all just get along?

There have been recent flirtations with the idea of restoring civility to our political culture. President Obama, who still seems like a decent man, embodied it early in his term. The gun assault on former Arizona Rep. Gabriel Giffords prompted Washington to pause and consider what had become of politics as a once-honored profession. Comedian Jon Stewart brought tens of thousands to the Capitol in an impressive -- and entertaining -- show of force on behalf of civility.

But, it was all short-lived. The Republican primaries have been a cesspool of negativity and personal attacks. And we can expect more of the same once the general election kicks in. The modern political season is not our nation's proudest moment.

But there is hope, albeit slight. The call for civility in politics continues. Check out the Coffee Party USA , about which I will write more soon. It has re-ignited my interest in a new kind of political activism.

Meanwhile, NBC's "Meet the Press" had a thoughtful segment on this issue this morning. The discussion needs to be continued. But civilly, please.

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