Civil discourse.

In response to last week’s post, one of the commenters on this site brought up the issue of civility, lamenting the lack thereof in our political discourse. That comment touched off a back and forth on the issue with other readers weighing in. (Point of order: Is ALL CAPS in an online comment the equivalent of SCREAMING or is it the online equivalent of adding emphasis?)

The political air is awfully thick right now. Emotions are running high. My wife constantly is reminding me to keep my voice down in restaurants lest I ‘trigger’ someone’s political sensibilities. Many of us endured holiday dinners that were spoiled by heated discussions on politics.

I’ll stipulate that civility is a good thing. I’m all for it. But I’m noticing two things about many of the people who currently decry the lack thereof. First, a whole lot of them are liberals, Democrats or RINO Never-Trumpers. And second, as to the real or perceived lack of decorum in our public square, they place the blame solely on Donald Trump.

Can you say “hypocrisy?”

Let’s look at some particularly egregious examples of political incivility and examine the sources thereof. Were any of Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor or Elena Kagan – all appointed by either Bill Clinton or Barack Obama – ever subjected by Republicans to anything close to the grotesque confirmation processes suffered by Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas and, most recently, Brett Kavanaugh? Did any Republican senator, for example – without a shred of credible evidence – accuse Stephen Breyer of gang rape while in college?

Did any Republican senator, with absolutely zero evidence, accuse Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama of not paying their taxes the way Harry Reid accused Mitt Romney?

And for as much as civility is a nominal good thing, of what use is it if it’s not reciprocal? Say what you will about George W. Bush, he is one of the kindest, most fundamentally decent men to ever hold the office. Too decent, actually. He stood mute as Democrats and the media viciously and unfairly eviscerated him, and by extension, those of us who supported him. What did that brand of civility get us? Approval ratings in the 20s and Barack Obama in 2008, that’s what.

I could go on, but space doesn’t permit.

If, as squishy moderates are wont to say, there is guilt on both sides I say it’s about a 90-10 split. Dems fight dirty. Republicans barely fight at all.

If you want to blame Donald Trump for something blame him for at last fighting back. Donald Trump is the first Republican to call out Democrats and their media handmaidens for their repeated lies and distortions. In 2016 a lot of beleaguered middle-class, heartland taxpayers said, “It’s about time,” and marked a ballot.

And that’s why Donald Trump is president.

So, to you Dems and your calls for civility, try this. Show some leadership on the subject. You’ll be amazed who follows.

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Paul Gleiser

Paul L. Gleiser is president of ATW Media, LLC, licensee of radio stations KTBB 97.5 FM/AM600, 92.1 The TEAM FM in Tyler-Longview, Texas.

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30 Responses

  1. Liz Quinn says:

    I agree with your point, Paul. We conservatives have consistently been kicked in the rear with our hands tied and mouth taped. It was exasperating during George W. Bush because he would never fight back, and was just trying to maintain. And then, it got very scary for us during Obama, with his open assaults on us, and his encouraging of lawless haters to come after us. Things are scary with Trump, too, because the violent left is so crazy. Trump is FOR the United States (us). He fights back. And we like it. The lunacy of the left is so out of control that Trump’s crudeness is unimportant.

  2. About your wife’s advice on restaurants.
    I’ve been meaning to say…in a civil way…

  3. John Lester says:

    Right on target Paul. My wife and I have experienced the same things as you mentioned.

  4. Darrell Durham says:

    I don’t remember anyone from the left admonish Maxine Waters when she encouraged people to confront Trump supporters in public. They said, “When they go low, we go lower!” Don Lemon laughed hysterically as a guest poked fun at Trump voters. They consider a very large portion of the country to be “deplorable”, or illiterate rubes incapable of making decisions on their own. Therefore they must be protected from tyrants like Trump, who those same deplorables and rubes so stupidly elected. And, as Adam Schiff pointed out, they simply cannot depend on the ballot box to remove him. Heaven forbid we might be stupid enough to elect him again! Its really hard to remain civil with people with such a low opinion of you and your fellow human beings. You can only kick a dog so many times before he bites back.

  5. Stop the tape: “I don’t remember anyone from the left admonish Maxine Waters when she encouraged people to confront Trump supporters in public.“

    Because you don’t remember it means it didn’t happen? If all you’re ingesting is Fox News you’re not hearing everything.

  6. CNN 06/25/18:”House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi referred to Waters’ comments as ‘unacceptable’ but blamed Trump’s ‘daily lack of civility’ for provoking responses such as that of Waters.”

    Google for more if we can’t agree that two wrongs don’t make a right.

  7. Ron Eagleman says:

    Civility in politics, also known as bipartisanship, is only achieved if the Republicans accede to the Democratic demands. The bareknucle responses of our Queens, New York real estate developer is probably the main reason that we see the progressives in such a state of hysteria. Conservatives are not supposed to offer any resistance to the barrage of insults, misstatements (lies), and violence from their subsidiaries like “Antifa” and “Black Lives Matter”. What is not civil about saying “all lives matter” or that freedom of speech is still a constitutional right? If any reasonable and reasonably intelligent person looks at the uncivil atmosphere that is so pervasive in our country, it is obvious that it is coming mainly from the progressive left. This is not surprising nor a departure from the historical behavior of these anarchists; intimidation has been one of their most effective political tools for generations. The recent undercover videos of Bernie Sanders’ campaign staff bragging about the long-term tactics they plan to use to implement his Socialist agenda are right out of the Marx and Lenin playbooks. Oh, don’t worry about Bernie, he is an avowed Socialist, and could never win? But hold on, If I am not mistaken, he is now the favorite to win the Democratic nomination for president. Thank God we have an uncivil Republican nominee that will not just roll over; I just hope and pray that we have enough electorate with a similar lack of civility (backbone)!

    • We should all pray. The church-goin’ among us should lean-in, not wince, when the sermon reminds us that we’re all in the same boat.

    • C M Solomon says:

      Ron is exactly right! It is the Left that cries for “civility” when the President and his supporters fight back with 1/10th (Paul’s ratio) of the venom of the Left’s rhetoric and violence against fellow Americans in the media, academia, at demonstrations, restaurants, conventions, rallies, and so forth. The examples are too many to recount. It is laughable that Nancy Pelosi is used as an example of being in favor of civility – when she is the polar opposite of such a foolish claim!

      This “civility” red herring is a great hypocritical distraction by the Left to diminish our arguments against the devilish lies and dictatorial one-sided control such as demonstrated in the Schiff Impeachment Inquiry, the topic of Paul’s last story, “The Schiff Show”. What a great example to illustrate Paul’s point!

      How come the Left has the gall to demand any respect when they don’t utter a word in condemnation of their own vicious Comrades, and in fact, pour more fuel on the fire themselves? Where is it written that we Conservatives should argue with meekness and kind words when we are assaulted with such venom? No, the truth is there is nothing wrong with a spirited debate on the issues and a truthful identification of the goals, motives, and dishonest methods as practiced by the Left. It should be a sign of SUCCESS (pardon the emphasis) when the rebuttal of the Left is just more lies, deception, and vacuous rhetoric targeted to their mindless followers. Those who honestly engage in this debate must not have a thin skin and demand kid-glove treatment.

      Note that there is NO serious engagement of the debate by the Left when they are challenged by serious lovers of Freedom and God-given rights by which we exist as a free Nation. We are not in the same boat because we have polar opposite goals that cannot co-exist in a Free country where Liberty is King. We are in separate boats fighting for survival in the ideological wars for Liberty vs. Tyranny. The Left has constructed their boat out of the theories of Marx that can only remain afloat by enforcement of coercion and promises of utopian lies intended to deceive their followers. Please show me a case where the Left is placated and “peace is at hand” and harmony is achieved EXCEPT when Conservatives capitulate or compromise to the point of non-distinction? Perhaps, the Left defines “civility” differently. The Communists used to define “peace and tranquility” as lack of opposition – a great motto for an excuse to dominate and destroy self-determination born out of Liberty and a Nation built on the sovereign rights of free men.

  8. Ron Eagleman says:

    O.K., enough of the civility stuff; let us go back to our respective corners. Seriously tho, the “mainstream” media and politicians could learn a lot about civility by reading the opinions and interactions in this forum. We disagree, but for the most part, we are not disagreeable. I learn a lot from those whose positions I do not completely share, and this is probably what the framers had in mind when they drafted the First Amendment to the Constitution.

    • Now THAT’S a-step-in-the-right-direction!
      Note Caps Lock? :)

      Next step: Reciprocate “‘mainstream’ media and politicians could learn a lot about civility by reading the opinions and interactions in this forum.”

      Swing that door both ways.
      Could we-here be as curious as you’re asking “them” to be?

      Undeniably, and regrettably, life’s become a Rorschach Test.
      We look at the same thing and see different things.

      The game is shirts vs. skins, and our side is absolutely right and theirs is absolutely wrong.

      Example: Paul exonerates Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh from their accusers’ charges; yet only four people know the truth. Paul reckons there wasn’t “a shred of credible evidence.” Doubters who witnessed Kavanaugh’s meltdown saw a Central Casting angry drunk. Neither viewpoint will dissuade the other.

      Paul is correct reminding us that our pottymouth president didn’t invent this stimulus-response resentment dynamic. But he plays it like a Stradivarius.

      • C M Solomon says:

        To reduce this legitimate (and civil) debate on the Virtues of Constitutional Liberty vs. the Tyranny of Leftist Democrat ideology being forced down our throat in media, academia, most Liberal-infested sermons, and Deep State government, as a ” Rorschach Test – where we look at the same thing and see different things” is Supercilious! You have demonstrated by example the LACK of substantive argument for your side: the polar opposite of our side. It is NOT the same side.

        • Mr. or Ms. Solomon: I simply cannot relate to the joy-of-being-angry that festers and seethes beneath that sentence, which this long-ago English teacher would be challenged to diagram, though it makes my point.

          If, in olden times, I were Groucho and you were the contestant, the duck would’ve dropped on “supercilious.”

      • C M Solomon says:

        One more thing. Your characterization of “Doubters who witnessed Kavanaugh’s meltdown saw a Central Casting angry drunk” is a shocking example of your hollow call for “civility.” Your willingness to excuse it given a “Rorschach Test” is absolutely appalling given the obviously coordinated character assassination by the Democrats of a heretofore respected jurist with an outstanding reputation. That confirmation debacle was a clear attempt for the Left to win at ALL costs, no matter the shattered lives and families left in their wake. Shame on you for defending this despicable lying behavior.of your fellow Democrats to defame Kavanaugh (and by extension his family) to keep him off the Supreme Court!

        • Unfortunate timing: JUST AS we learn that witnesses are unwelcome, you surface with firsthand knowledge of what actually transpired between young Kavanaugh & Ford?

          Tho this denies certain resolution of the he-said-she-said, DO TELL: How many “‘skis” DID he quaff?

          And while you’re on-a-roll, whatcha got on the Lindbergh baby? And WHO was lurking on the grassy knoll that fateful afternoon?

          • C M Solomon says:

            Just so you know, your mockery of Kavanaugh and me did not go unnoticed. I count myself in good company. You might want to review the fundamentals of “civility” as taught to us as children by way of the Golden Rule in the second grade. The same goes for Schiff who forgot about “reciprocity” in his Kangaroo Court proceedings and his dismissal of the civilized American principle of “Equal Justice under the Law.”

            The Democrat mud-slinging technique of last minute discovery of manufactured (fake) witnesses (to defame ANYONE they think is a threat to their dogma and ruthless plans for unconstitutional rule over us,) should be expected by anyone that aspires to represent us Conservatives. This cabal of the Marxist sympathizing Democrats and their Media propaganda machine creates a major threat to the free exercise of Freedom to run for office or to represent Liberty loving Conservatives or even speak freely of our beliefs for fear of reprisal from those who cannot tolerate ANY opposition to their dogma.

  9. Trace Havard says:

    Yes, George W. Bush did stand mute as democrats and the media sliced and diced him.
    But I recall, he did finally speak up about the incivility in politics…..and he directed his criticism solely at President Trump, nothing about Obama, the Democrats and the media.

  10. Ron Eagleman says:

    Bingo, Solomon & Havard!! The Rorschach Test is not a good analogy that analyzes why people interpret ink blots differently. It seems that the progressives have a preconceived description for all blots in a way that call for more government and less personal freedom. I cannot remember any conservative congressman calling for constituents to harass and assault their opponents in restaurants, service stations, or any public place they find them. If a conservative incited such behavior, he/she would first be skewered in the media, and then forced to resign. Of course, the Honorable Maxine Waters represents a “safe district” and can say anything she wishes with impunity.Yes, Dubya is a very civil person, as was his father, and it was surprising for him to finally come out and express his disdain for the lack of civility in politics. Too bad his criticism was directed at the president of his own party! The progressives do not tolerate such civility; they demand complete loyalty to “the cause”.

  11. As, increasingly, I find myself the oldest person in the room, I reckon that this is generational, and what I long for is quaint, something y’all merely tolerate for an hour on Sunday mornings.


    I know when I’m licked!
    If ya can’t beat em, join em.
    Consensus here is clear.
    I’ve seen The Light.
    Well, The Dark actually.

    So if civility is out, count me in. Anyone who doesn’t like it: 4Q2

    I offer this subject to Moderation, so you might never get to read it, a victory for civility.

  12. Michael Reagan says:

    Remember Tom Daschle when he was Senate Majority Leader and his vitriol? Then along comes Harry Reid, whom I thought could not be any more obnoxious than Daschle; but he was far worse. Schumer is annoying and brings in more of a sarcastic patronizing style. Democrats have set this precedent for many years. A take no prisoners, destroy our opponents style. Bring in the House with Adam Schiff and crew where they take up the torch of chaos and erosion of our freedoms. No way anyone can deny his lies and fairy tales. If they do defend this fellow and his minions, they need to re-examine the tapes from 2017 forward of his bombastic whoppers. How can anyone be civil with this atmosphere? These people are on a mission to conquer and rule us. There can be no other explanation. America and Americans do not come first, nor our welfare; that is clear. Obama told us as clear and crisply as he could when he said in a campaign speech that he wanted (with our help) to “fundamentally change America.” That scared the heck out of me and made me pay much more attention to every word the Democrats said from that point forward. Fundamentally Change America. That should scare the heck out of everyone with any knowledge of American history and our Constitution. Remember this last comment by Schiff, “……We cannot trust the American people to do the right thing in this next election…..:” Surely we know what that means and question is; Are WE going to accept that way of thinking and political rule? Damn the laws, do what I tell you is best for you and the country. Time, in my mind, to take off the gloves and get down to fighting these people with their own tactics and the law. Otherwise, we are going to wake up one day and find out the country our families fought and dies for has fundamentally changed forever.

    • C M Solomon says:

      Your outstanding comments should ring TRUTHFUL to anyone witnessing the events of today! Obama opened this Pandora’s Box of wickedness in high places that has given boldness to lovers of governmental supremacy (Marxist Democrats) to justify the eradication of our fundamental Constitutional American principles of Individual Freedom. Visions of “Righteous Tyranny” obviously are running rampant in their heads as they smell “blood in the water,” given their constant display of unbridled HATRED for Trump and for half of the Nation that put him in office.

      Revenge and Retribution is now their openly advertised MO to ultimately wipe us out. They clearly believe that they can accomplish this with the Media, Academia, and the Deep State on their side. The Trump “miracle” has thankfully uncovered these enemies of the America we love. We must be willing and ready to expose their wicked goals and thereby, destroy them BEFORE we are consumed by their unrelenting LIES and the ideological murder of our Constitutional heritage to “Let Freedom Ring”!

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