To Be Civil…
Or Not To Be?
This week, thanks to several restaurant incidents in which prominent Republicans were harassed or denied dinner, the notion of “civility” in public discourse has become a major topic in the national conversation.
At American Public Square, civility is key to what we do—provide forums for fact-based, civil conversations between non-like-minded people—so of course our ears are ringing.
Journalists, pundits, and citizens are asking questions: Are there situations where being civil isn’t the best course? Is it ok to be uncivil sometimes, for example, as a form of nonviolent protest? What’s the difference between restaurant employees kicking Sarah Huckabee out of their establishment and President Trump describing a Congressperson as “an extraordinarily low IQ” person? Should Democrats praise or condemn those who act uncivilly toward politicians they disagree with?
On the whole, the Right seems to be concerned that these acts of incivility will lead to a larger violence. And the Left labels the Right’s calls for civility blatant hypocrisy and an attempt to squash free speech.
Here are just a few articles from varying points of view that may help us fine-tune our notions of what civility means. Also check out PBS News Hour’s debate on civility, embedded below the articles.
*background image: Daniel Lin/AP