Civility

This first appeared in the Platte County Landmark on July 3, 2018.

Over the past week, politicians and media outlets have seemed to focus on a call for civility by President Trump. This follows the controversy about the immigration policies that separated upwards of 2,500 children from their parents after asylum-seeking families crossed southern borders into the United States.

The outcry was noticeable and loud – which is saying something after the last two years. People in Trump’s circle were verbally assaulted while at dinner. The Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders was forced to leave a dinner party after the restaurant she was at asked her to leave. Protesters are getting more aggressive towards members of the Republican party in public stepping right up to the line dividing criminal behavior and fair protest.

So, in a way, the right calling for an easing of tensions is totally appropriate. I’m not sure we want our mayors and our dog catchers and our county accountants being harassed while in line at QuikTrip. Seems that there is a time and a place for it.

But the call for civility – from the source it came from – is pretty ridiculous. It wasn’t the time for civility when entertainer Trump joked about grabbing women by the pussy. It wasn’t the time for civility when candidate Trump mocked a disabled reporter. It wasn’t the time for civility when mobs of white supremacists spent the first months of the Trump presidency holding white pride marches only to hear silence from the White House. It wasn’t the time for civility when President Trump insulted any number of people in the country including Reporters, politicians, citizens, and foreign governments.

But now is the time for civility. Got it.

After the press secretary didn’t get her Cobb salad, and five reporters have been murdered at a newspaper, prompting that newspaper to print the word “f&&&” (without the ampersands) in their newspaper – following an open call to shoot reporters from political commentator Milo Yiannopolus  – NOW is the time for civility.

I’m as against whataboutism as anyone. I hate to denouce a bad thing by mentioning an equally as bad thing. However, it’s absolutely impossible to see those calling for professionalism and restraint while politicians rely on that professionalism and restraint to act as cloud cover to make policies that endanger water, remove ourselves from important trade agreements, and, worst of all, incarcerate children as young as three years old after ripping them from their parents’ arms.

So no, I’ll probably not take this time to be civil. I probably won’t take this time to not curse on Twitter, and I won’t take this time, if ever given the opportunity, to interrupt those responsible for this goat rodeo of a country right now from getting their Happy Meal and Shamrock Shake.

In the words of my then five year old brother in the back of our Oldsmobile stationwagon traveling to Colorado on a vacation, “You started it.”

I’m perfectly fine with that response – and that’s about as civil as I can get.

[Featured Image from Cartoon Free America reprinted courtesy of Creative Commons]

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