Incivility Portends Hyper-Incivility

Everyone needs to tone it down. Everyone. Sean Hannity. Brian Stelter. Chris Cuomo.  Jake Tapper. Tomi Lahren. 45. You. Me. Everyone. Rage, if allowed to go on unchecked, will lead to an outcome no one (except lunatics on the outer edges of both fringes, who need to be locked up) wants. Have you heard of civil war? That’s where things appear to be heading. That’s not an outcome I ever would have thought conceivable until recently. But I think it’s possible now. I really do. Perhaps not the “classic” model (but possibly exactly the “classic” model), but sufficiently ugly and monstrously damaging to this country and the world order that we must avoid it if we can. How can we avoid it?

Let Sarah Sanders eat in peace. Bake the cake. Conduct the marital ceremony. Sell the flowers. Let them pray when and where they want. Let her take the course (more on that in a moment). In short, none of us are required to let our opinions or beliefs dictate the way in which we interact with people. We ought to be guided by that simple law of reciprocity to which many of the world’s religions subscribe: Treat others the way you would like others to treat you” or, framed in the negative, “Do not treat others in ways you would not want others to treat you.” The law of reciprocity does not say, “If other treat you badly, treat them just as badly or worse.” But that seems to be the way we are conducting ourselves. At least the media (mainstream or not) seems to behave that way. Just chill. Avoid civil war.

About that course. I read about a journalist for a deeply conservative organization being denied access to an online course organized by an organization with ties to left-leaning organizations. The course sponsor had a provision in its terms of use that said it reserved the right to deny access to people who did not subscribe to its political philosophies. The journalist who was denied access was okay with that. I am not. Just like a restaurant ought to feed people, regardless of political position, an online (or not) education organization ought to teach people, regardless of their viewpoints.

I understand, I really do, the desire to take a stand against outrageous political crimes committed against the humanity of which we are all a part. But allowing that stand to pervade every aspect of every bit of the fabric of our lives is dangerous. To those who stand firm with the restauranteur who asked Sarah Sanders to leave, would it be okay for a conservative restauranteur to ask Elizabeth Warren to leave? And how about the conservative owner of a gun range: is it okay for her to refuse to allow Anderson Cooper to pay to do target shooting? We can get upset with bakers and florists refusing to serve gays or LBGTQ folks and we can express our upset, but I don’t think we ought to retaliate by becoming just as bigoted as they are. We teach tolerance by being tolerant. End of rant.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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One Response to Incivility Portends Hyper-Incivility

  1. Warren Searls says:

    Very well stated.

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