“Rage is all the rage and it’s dangerous” ~ Today’s “Pearl of Great Price” from the WSJ

by faithgibson on June 16, 2017

Never forget, always remember:
People get the government they’re willing to put up with…

WE should be relieved, as this simple fact puts the ball back in our court, where We The People can actually make a positive contribution to our own government. 

 

After reading the passage below from the Wall Street Journal, I encourage you to read an essay I originally posted on November 25th and 26th, 2016 on the critical role of civility in all areas of our public discourse (especially partisan politics).


Wall Street Journal

June 16th, 2017
by-line: Peggy Noonan

“What we are living through in America is not only a division but a great estrangement. It is between those who support Donald Trump and those who despise him, between left and right, between the two parties and event to some degree between the bases of those parties and their leaders in Washington …

We look down on each other, fear each other, increasingly hate each other. Oh to have a unifying figure, program or party!

But we don’t, nor is there any immediate prospect.

{faith’s note: unless a massive national problem befalls us, like invasion from space aliens, that would require all of us to work together — One Planet, One People, our only One Hope!}

So, as Ben Franklin said, “we’ll have to hang together, or we will surely hang separately”. To hang together — to continue as a country — at the very least we have to lower the political temperature.

It’s on all of us more than ever to assume good faith, put our view forward with respect and even charity, and refuse to incite.”


 

This was posted in the wake of two mass shootings that occurred just 3 days ago, on June 14th (2017).

For those reading this post at a future time, here is a brief recap of events:

 

7:05 am ~ Alexandra, Virginia, as Republican House of Representative members and staff members practiced for the annual Washington, DC bi-partisan charity baseball game

On Tuesday morning (June 13th) a mentally-deranged man who apparently had projected all his personal demons on the current Republican administration used a high-power rifle to shoot several Republican members of Congress and their staff. Six people were hurt and two of his victims remain in critical condition.

8:30 am ~ San Francisco, CA; a large UPS facility  

Two hours after the Alexandra shooting on the East Coast, there was a workplace shooting on the West Coast by a deranged UPS employee who shot 9 employees at random (w/ 3 fatalities) and then turned the gun on himself.

Only 5 1/2 months into 2017, reputable news reports identified these events as the 154th and 155th mass shooting so far this year!

Obviously, the United States has a real problem with gratuitous violence, one we so far have failed to effectively address.  Every country and every culture

Every country and every culture has a small number of people with seriously disordered thinking (i.e. mental illness) that have an increased potential for violence. Sometimes these people go on a ‘killing spree’ and commit horrible, senseless crimes on their loved ones, family members, neighbors, teachers, co-workers and random strangers in schools, movie theaters, and night clubs.

What is unique in the US is a significant spike in this form of mass violence by American against other Americans. What is remarkable about these numbers is the rise mirrors a rise in the frequency and pervasiveness of vitriolic, even vicious political discourse.

Such uncivilized speech acts focus on public humiliation and character assassination — name-calling, belittling, harming the person’s reputation and other ‘scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners’ assault by politicians on other politicians. This “fight to the death, show ’em no mercy” perspective of partisan politics as a blood sport is the absolute polar opposite of civility.

The over-heated political discourse at a national level that has become the ‘new norm’ exponentially expands the list of potential targets, and for many crazy people, it tips the scales so this irrational rage is used against political officials.

If this were a presidential Tweet, I would type: “so sad” in all caps.

The Exercise of Civic Responsibility

In a civil society, voiced objections are not personal attacks; instead, they focus on the process  — the way that social, economic, political or governmental power is being used, abused, misused, overused or not used when needed.

In a civil response,  the speaker is not aiming at the person but rather the person’s actions or behavior.  People in a civil society voice specific objections to a specific aspect of the other person/politician’s political opinion, agenda, actions, or a lack of action, or policies that the speaker is asking to be re-visited, re-negotiated or rescinded.

One specific and effective suggestion is for us as ordinary citizens to participate in a public discourse (i.e. a “conversation of agreement), the goal of which is to again ‘normalize’ public civility (the best and worst examples can be seen in the 1940’s movie “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” w/ Jimmy Stewart.

Personal and local citizen participation simply describes saying “no” to such behavior each and every time you become aware of your elected representatives. Whenever you see one of your two senators or your House of Representatives’ member or the president ‘behaving badly’, you would contacted them directly with feedback that puts them “on notice” ~ you are watching them, and in regard to a specific behavior, you don’t like what you see (more about that in link below). You will continue to watch and if you don’t see any positive movement, you will be back and be working to make changes.

In this way, we can fully embrace the ‘crowd-sourcing‘ of local activism, and the national via cyberspace our ability as individuals to have political influence both locally and in regard to the Central Government in Washington, DC.


Essay originally posted on November 25th and 26th, 2016 that identifies the critical role of civility in all areas of our public discourse (especially relative to current partisan politics).

 

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