On Civility:

The Debate Rages On

The debate about whether, at this moment in American politics, we should be civil toward government officials rages on.

Liberal-leaning Americans continue to label Republican (and some Democrat) calls for civility as hypocritical, privileged, and flat-out wrong. Republicans (and some Democrats) continue to say it’s inappropriate for those who oppose the Trump administration to call Trump associates out in public spaces, like restaurants.

American Public Square relies on fact-based, civil conversations at our hour-and-a-half-long programs on controversial issues. But is incivility ok—maybe even productive—in response to some public policies? Or does promoting uncivil action lead to further rifts or even violence? And what are we debating right now anyway? How is “civility” in these contexts defined?

This week’s roundup on in/civility:

True civility is the opposite of revenge

“If political opponents crash your dinner out, give them a seat at the table.”

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Why civility in politics won't be getting any better

“There’s no magic fix to making our political culture more civil. But the best way of reversing the trend is to give government less control over our lives.”

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White America’s Age-Old, Misguided Obsession With Civility

“For those upset by disruptive protests, the history of civil rights offers an unsettling reminder that the path to change is seldom polite.”

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Weekly Word Watch

And now for etymology.

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Civil For What?

“Trump, the Republicans, and his entire administration have never been civil. Now that Maxine Waters is giving them a taste of their own medicine, folks want to cry about civility. Nah. Not today.”

After shooting, will Trump stop abusing journalists? Let’s revisit that conversation about ‘civility.’

“The ‘civility’ conversation is way out of balance: Its focus needs to be squarely not on the perpetrators of the anger, or the victims of the provocations, but on the real cause-and-effect chain here — and on the terrible toll it is inflicting, one that could grow more horrifying.”

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The big problem with those conservative calls for 'civility'

“Now, the people of Twitter aren’t going to let conservatives have their cake and eat it, too. Many have pointed out that “civility” is just a re-branding of “political correctness,” something that conservatives previously pinpointed as the source of America’s ills. If conservatives were so concerned about preserving their ability to use slurs and “tell the truth” even if it offended people, why are they opposed to liberals using the sharpest arrows that speech allows to protest conservative policy, in the face of those enacting that policy?”

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I’m A DC Chef Who Hates Trump’s Policies But I Would Serve His Staff

“This is a time of anger. This week I have been wondering how I would respond if the president’s press secretary decides to come to my bakery. Would I be uncivil in this uncivil time?”

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Think civility is for wimps? It's worth giving it a try before embracing extremism.

“Many Americans snickered upon hearing that White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders had been asked to leave a Virginia restaurant where she was dining, and that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled away from a separate restaurant. Did those protests change administration policy on immigration or move Trump toward a more conciliatory path? Hardly. He’s more dug-in than ever.”

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Civility and its discontents: Why our public political behavior matters as much as ever

“Americans trivialize the concept when we assume that it means nothing more than politeness. In fact, civility represents a long tradition of moral virtues essential to democracy. Virtues like empathy, humility, integrity, honesty, and respect for others are the ideals of democratic engagement. Deliberation and exchange are the DNA of shared governance, but without civility we lack the character to engage one another constructively.”

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Fight on the side of civility in America’s social media civil war

“In America today, we have it completely backwards. We send angry tweets to people we’ve never met. To people we’ve never even tried to understand. Social media has made us anything but social; it’s made us uncivilized.”

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*background image: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds—AFP/Getty Images