Like many people in the United States I would love to push the pause button on the political incivility that seems to escalate each day. When the political dialogue deteriorates to comments about candidates’ wives and manhood it is time to reflect on how we arrived at this disturbing juncture.
How do incivility and justice connect? While incivility is not a crime, it does have victims. Muslims are a frequent target, along with immigrants, persons with disabilities, women, gays and lesbians and low income citizens. In a recent KRC research poll, 62% of those interviewed believe there is less tolerance, and that leads politicians to say what they believe their supporters want to hear.
Social media has provided a vehicle for spreading angry messages fast, with online bullying, discrimination, humiliation, and harassment as the finished product. This has also been the vehicle for uncivil political statements.
At this time in our history we need thoughtful, responsible political dialogue on critical issues that touch the lives of millions. How do we, Democrats and Republicans, come together to address immigration reform? How do we follow up on the Paris 2015 talks and transition to environmentally responsible energy policies? How do we address income inequality that continues to shrink the middle class, pay women less than men, and cut the safety net for low income families? Can we move away from a military solution to every international problem to exploring the root issues behind the problem? A political campaign needs to be a time to provide substantive dialogue.
Will tactical incivility that targets marginalized groups produce a win for the presidency? Or, will a thinking public demand responsible leadership from those who wish to be the next president?