Every day is a new horror, revelation, lie or mortifyingly embarrassing behavior not fitting the leader of a democracy.
I wonder how we have come to this vile juncture that causes me regular misgivings. I wonder what my father would say about his lifelong membership in the once proud “Party of Lincoln.”
Dad was a principled citizen who believed in people and in the democratic process. He gave four years of his life to fighting for it in the European Theatre of World War II. Humanity, cooperation and helping others were tenets of his belief system as well as the principle that people are basically good at their core. He was the consummate gentleman in every way. He would be heartbroken to see the state of our country now with the vileness of some and the total lack of civility of his party and especially our current leadership. He would have been horrified that our leader fraternizes with dictators and tyrants after he and others spent 48 months fighting for freedom and democracy a continent away.
Civility is defined as “formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.” It was expected behavior in most circles and especially in the public limelight. It was expected behavior in the legal arena and in discourses of debate. Growing up, we were taught to be polite and conscientious and if we disagreed, we could discuss it. We were allowed to disagree, but not to demean and talk down to our parent, sibling or others. The argument should be the topic and the facts — not the person with the opposing view.
I find myself regularly repulsed by the vileness of our current occupant of the White House. It seems every day presents a new horror of some kind that comes from his mouth or his fingers and truly not one bit of it is respectful or respectable. The behavior is hateful and nonnegotiable. It occurs with such regularity that we forget the offense of yesterday. Having the current occupant in the White House has made me change some of my behaviors to preserve my well-being.
What I find most upsetting is that living in the state of Utah, where people have always been so welcoming of others from different cultures, and so good at facing adversity, digging in and working hard. Why are Utahns not absolutely horrified and outraged by the discourse and actions of this leader? Why do they not speak out and rebel? Why have our congressional leaders and senators not vigorously called him to task? How can they turn a blind eye to the multitude of lies, cheating and colluding with tyrants?
Rep. Ben McAdams and Sen. Mitt Romney offered tepid comments not shock and dismay. Where is the outrage? Shame on Sen. Mike Lee, Reps. John Curtis, Chris Stewart and Rob Bishop. Silence is complicity. How can they not be outraged for what this our country’s president has said and done on a daily basis since the start of his presidency?
Chief Justice Warren Burger said, “Civility is really the very glue that keeps organized society from flying into pieces.” How horrified he would be.
In a speech to the American Bar Association in 2011, Stephen N. Zack said, “This continuing slide into the gutter of incivility degrades us all. It destroys the values of respect and diversity that we all treasure, and that leads us to bad societal decisions, to demeaning arguments, and intolerance and repression — symptoms we see all around us.”
That statement was made years ago, before we reached this inflammatory pinnacle of today.
More than ever we need to speak out and voice our support of our once proud, inclusive and welcoming American ideal and not cave to the political divides. The party system has let us down in so many ways. Speak out and demand that our cowardly political leaders speak up and support the ideals that have made the United States of America the model it once was and not cower to the vileness and incivility of bullies who lead.
Patricia Sadoski, Logan, is a semi-retired hospice nurse who consults with seniors to help them remain vital and independent.