We have a disease that could end what most of us cherish, our very existence as a democratic republic and it is not a flu virus. It is the disease of lack of civility.
Never before in the short history of our nation has there been exhibited such unrestrained, expressed hatred between those who disagree with each other, especially in terms of items political. It has crippled our elected leaders and, to an extent, the electorate to the point that they no longer concentrate on the task of governing. Compromise seems to be a lost concept. I am actually appalled, even frightened by the response of individual citizens to such events as the announcement of Mr. Limbaugh’s stage four cancer. What kind of people have we evolved into where we wish those we may strongly disagree with suffer “highly painful” death and we celebrate that announcement.
It is a constitutional right to disagree with another’s point of view, absolutely, but it is barbaric to wish pain and suffering on anyone no matter what their persuasion. Have we lost our ability to disagree with, yet respect another? If our disagreement is to the level of a passion, then the civil thing to do is work through our established constitutional channels to fight the opposing view, not become less than human in the process. Even more disturbing is the fact that a senator from Maine who voted to acquit President Donald Trump has received three credible death threats to herself and her husband and children.
The threat is serious enough that law enforcement has become involved. If we become ruled by violence instead of civility we in effect lose all hope of rule by law, reason and compromise and the republic becomes ripe for anarchy or at the least tyrannical rule. The loss of respect for first amendment rights permeates many college campuses where opposing views are no longer allowed voice or the ability to organize.
I am in no means a radical on either side of the aisle and maybe that gives me a clearer view of the now not so hidden dangers indicated by what we are witnessing in our nation. Our founding fathers as shown by record exhibited very pointed disagreement on many items as this nation was established. Some of those diverse views brought serious, passionate debate and harsh words but through it all at least a marginal respect was maintained that allowed decisions to finally be reached.
Jefferson and Adams vehemently disagreed on many items throughout their careers yet in the end were able to focus on the value of each other. If we don’t put hatred, ego and pride behind I fear the worst is yet to develop and we will all suffer. Let’s work on solutions, and learn to behave as adults as we try to survive the republic. If our elected officials are simply motivated by a lust for power then the principles the nation was founded upon no longer fashion their decisions. That goes for both conservatives and progressives. I hope and pray for a softening of hearts and a return to principled governing.
Dr. John Henricksen