Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all; let’s be outspoken.
On September 2nd, former president Barack Obama wore a visage of grief and sobriety. He looked upon the casket covered in red, white, and blue. The casket held the body of the late John Mccain. After a moment, he looked away and proceeded to give a monumental eulogy. He described his respect for John Mccain regardless of political disagreement. Incorporating humor and nostalgia, he reflected on Mccain’s life. At the end, he brought tremendous honor to his name as a true American hero.
John Mccain and Barack Obama clashed within the 2008 election. Even though they saw the country in different perspectives, they addressed each other with upmost respect. The 2008 election was a true symbol of political civility.
However, just eight years after, the 2016 election sparked controversy and hate in America. Before Trump won the primary, he debated with prominent Republican figures such as Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush. One of the moderators asked in the debate, “Who is unwilling tonight to pledge your support to the eventual nominee of the Republican party and pledge to not run an independent campaign against that person?” Donald Trump rose his hand. When asked why, he said that the only Republican nominee he would support is himself. This showed the lack of trust and respect he had for the other candidates.
As the election progressed, Trump made insulting remarks of his Republican opponents. For example, he insulted Cruz’s family and somehow linked Bush’s wife to illegal immigration. Both Republicans responded with rage and contempt for Trump.
When Trump won the primary, he went against Hillary Clinton. To say that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were the most hated candidates in American history is an understatement. For months, the country had to suffer the two candidates constantly attacking each other and their respected parties. Day after day, political ads were displayed to discredit the opposing side.
In the presidential debate, Trump called Hillary a “nasty women.” Hillary responded by calling him sexist and racist. During the election, she called Trump’s supporters “the basket of deplorables” while Trump brought up the Bill Clinton sex scandal. Later, in Hillary’s bestseller book What Happened, she calls Trump a creep and a sexual assaulter. It did not stop there, Barack Obama attempted to paint Hillary as the best politician through youtube videos and social media posts. While media outlets themselves were warring over which politician is worse. According to the Washington Post, 4000 people protested at an Anti-Trump movement. It eventually broke out into a riot where the Portland Police had to stepped in. Thousands were arrested and one person died. Even to this day, there are Anti-Trump movements.
Comparing and contrasting the 2008 and 2016 election, one can see the political divide that is precedent in America. Within school and work, we identify ourselves by who we voted for in the last election and which party we affiliate with. We are discriminated for the certain political ideologies we have and praised if those ideologies coincide with the general populous. People are starting to lose a sense pride for their country. Statistically speaking, according to Pew Research Center, 60% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans say the U.S. is one of the greatest countries in the world. Overall, the numbers are decreasing every year. Furthermore, I noticed more and more people are sitting down during the pledge of allegiance in classrooms. When our english teacher asked us to write down our fears on the white board, someone wrote “Trump and white people.”
Now, let’s talk about Trump.
He lacks what most of his critics call a “Politician’s Filter.” Trump skips formalities and goes straight for the controversy. This is seen in his campaign, debates, and current presidency. He disregards his own party and political rivals. Just recently, he viciously attacked John McCain eight months after his death. His criticism of the late senator was counterproductive, unnecessary, and false. Therefore, Trump needs to address far greater problems and not spend his time tweeting about the Democratic party.
However, the ugly truth about American politics is that is not just Donald Trump that is guilty of being uncivil. Famous Democratic figures such as Nancy Peloksi, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders are berating each other and the Republican party. For example, Bernie Sanders attacked former Vice President Joe Biden for his healthcare policy. Furthermore, Nancy Peloski recently attacked GOP senators on the Heartbeat bill.
Because of this, I see incivility everywhere. It’s in the biased CNN news coverage of the Mueller report. It’s in the skewed stories of Obama aiding terrorists from Fox News. It’s in the malicious attacks by Republican and Democratic senators alike. It’s within the debates I engage in at tournaments. It’s in the monumental and minuscule events of everyday life.
Here is the truth: Civility is vital. The fundamental infrastructure of debate is civility. Without it, debate becomes nothing more then a petty yelling match. In times when political discord is becoming a commonality, we must be insightful and respect all perspectives. In becoming civil, we become productive. In becoming productive, we become compatible. In becoming compatible, we become united. In becoming united, we become a better nation. Not just for us, but for future generations to come.
Remember, let’s be polite; let’s be respectful, but most of all, let’s be outspoken.