According to a recent national poll conducted by Allegheny College in Pennsylvania, people are tired of the way politicians conduct their political campaigns, as well as how they conduct themselves once in office. They are tired of the name-calling, personal attacks and denigrating comments.
Public discourse has reached such a shrill level it is sometimes seen as meanness, and according to the poll, that is turning voters off. If voters get sick of politics and sick of government, where does that leave us? Will they flock to the polls? Probably not.
Between 77 and 89 percent of the people who responded to the poll listed the following as unacceptable behavior:
- Belittling or insulting someone
- Comments about one’s race or ethnicity
- Personal attacks
- Interrupting someone you don’t agree with in a public forum
- Manipulating the facts about an issue
- Questioning someone’s patriotism because they have a different opinion
The editorial in The Dallas Morning News that brought this to my attention quoted E.J. Dionne Jr.: “A Nation that hates politics will not long thrive as a democracy.”
It went on to say that 95% of Americans believe civility in politics is important for a healthy democracy. So is it the other 5% that keep electing the same ol’ same ol’ to public office? Is it only the other 5 % who are swayed by the mud-slinging campaign tactics and debates that aren’t really debates?
I’m throwing out a challenge to the politicians and to us, the general public. We can do better than what we have seen in recent years. No more yelling. No more personal attacks. No more “he’s the enemy, she’s the enemy.”
Let’s pull ourselves and our government together for the good of the people.
What do you think? What one thing would you like to see changed in public discourse?