The volatility of the electorate, borne of a frustration and anger over high unemployment and persistent uncertainty of what the future may hold is especially vulnerable to heated diatribe and flashes of white hot rhetoric. But let's take the recent events in Egypt and learn an important lesson: namely, democratic reform can be non-violent. And let's hope that whatever the future holds for the plight of that country that civility will prevail.
Increasingly over the last several election cycles, but particularly during the most recent, many politicians in this country have resorted to fiery incitement through their choice of metaphors and a literal call to arms. While trite refrains like "don't retreat, reload" and "man up" and "put on your man pants", and resorting to "Second Amendment remedies" may seem like clever or maybe even cutesy projections of strength, the imbecilic nature of these proclamations can have both intended and unintended consequences, but consequences nonetheless.
Lack of civility, comity, respect, and faith in our institutions and leaders has been brewing for some time now and is clearly reflected in poll after poll. Society's collective enchantment with vilifying those who even try to bring reason and sanity to the decision-making table has provided a convenient rationale for avoiding tough decisions and encouraged institutionalized cowardice on politicians at all levels of government. When doing the right thing equates to political suicide is there any reason to expect we will get anything less than candor and statesmanship from our so-called leaders?
Arizona has become the poster child for half-baked ideas and half-cocked politicians but the nationalization of intolerance finds comfort from the wilds of Wasilla to the Deep South and plenty of places in between. It finds enough comfort that a peckerwood from South Carolina finds it somehow plausible to call the President of the United States a liar during a State of the Union address, and the former Vice-President of the United States can cavalierly tell a United States Senator to "F#@& himself" on the floor of the Senate. Is it any wonder that honorable men and women might shy away from subjecting themselves to such indignities?
There is a critical need for a national conversation on the restoration of civility in our governmental system. The call must be bipartisan and should involve leaders from all walks of society, all political stripes, and must reach a unanimous consensus on the need to reinvigorate our system of governance with the tolerance and forbearance required to lead a pluralistic democratic nation.
The Republican Party has a very large role to play in tempering this bubbling cauldron.. There will be plenty of time to exercise your electoral might during the next election year, but right now you need to play a constructive role in managing differences. That is your job.
There will be a time for fighting, but it is simply not a 24/7 job, and to invoke another remnant from a recent campaign it is truly time to put "country first". You must rid yourselves of the notion that politics is more important than governing, otherwise we will continue to see episodes where individuals take symbolism to heart and act upon it. Words matter. You must temper your penchant for illusory optics and pyrrhic victories and actually do the work of the people. Put away the Gadsden flag and unfurl the Stars and Stripes that truly represent the entire nation, not a loose confederation of states.
The President should endorse the call for a national conversation to restore civility to our discourse and lead it. The people are tired of the backbiting, name calling, divisiveness, and discord that prevent our system from functioning at anything resembling an efficient and effective level. And to those who feel the need to exploit anger and fear for their own personal or political purposes let a renewed call for civility expose them for what they are and let the consequences of their actions be a reaction at the ballot box. It is the only way to salvage a system that has gotten way off track. Taking these actions just might render reactions that are best for the country, and that is really all that matters.