Whatever happened to civility?


It was refreshing this week to hear the winner of a primary race speak so highly of their opponent.

After Portsmouth attorney Valarie Gerlach defeated Paul Price of Pike County for the Democratic nomination for the Fourth District Court of Appeals, she told me – “Paul Price is such a good person and a gentleman,” Gerlach said. “He called and said congratulations. He told me when the Democratic dinner was and saved me two tickets and said he would introduce me and said he would help me in any way that he could in Pike County. What a gracious, kind human being.”

Having talked with Paul Price on a couple of occasions, she would be right. He is a very kind and spiritual person and his graciousness is appreciated by those of us in the media who have a propensity to become jaded.

In this day and age that kind of relationship is a rarity.

In my lifetime, I have never seen so many vitriolic attacks as I am seeing now. If you disagree with someone politically you get branded and they fit you in some pigeonhole.

Nowadays, it is not enough just to disagree. Now you have to hate anyone who is not like you or does not have the same political values as you.

I remember when young people protested on college campuses FOR the First Amendment. Now, with no point of reference as to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, there are those on campuses trying to shut down First Amendment rights. Who would have ever thought college campuses would oppose free speech?

I have never seen the way people within the party spew hateful discourse at another human being within their same party.

The Republicans have called each other everything but a child of God, and when they finally have a candidate they will try to make you think they didn’t mean it. But we are seeing a new breed of American voter who actually is sick of the rhetoric and unfortunately for those candidates, I don’t believe the voters will forget all the mud-slinging.

I even heard a delegate say the other day on a radio program if the voters think they’re going to select the presidential candidate they are wrong. If they go to the convention and attempt to take the victory away from the person with the most delegates, even if it’s not the magic number, they are liable to see a backlash unlike anything they have ever seen and maybe the demise of their own party.

What concerns me is that local politicians will start taking a cue from the presidential candidates and start attacking their opponents. Whatever happened to civility? I believe it went out the window when we stopped teaching moral values and virtues.

Watch local races between now and November and mark those who sling mud. Don’t give them your vote.

We need to bring civility back. We need to respect each other’s views. If you don’t agree politically with someone you need to defend their right to have their view.

James McGreevy said, “We are losing sight of civility in government and politics. Debate and dialogue is taking a back seat to the politics of destruction and anger and control. Dogma has replaced thoughtful discussion between people of differing views.”

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By Frank Lewis

[email protected]

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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