On Civility, Partisanship, and a ParadeLeonard Presberg
I had the privilege of walking in a Independence Day parade yesterday.
Let me say that again: an Independence Day parade. July 4th. America’s birthday. A celebration of patriotism.
Out of all the days of the year to come together and celebrate our country and our freedoms, this seems to be the one.
But, unfortunately, many people along the parade route didn’t seem to think that way.
I remember not too many years ago when many of our citizens were attacked as unpatriotic for daring to suggest, in well written editorials and opinion pieces and through examining the facts and consequences, that perhaps we as a country should not go to war. This notion was dismissed as un-American. Our President is to be respected in times of war was the mantra. If you don’t then you aren’t a true American.
Fast forward to July 4, 2012. We are still a nation at war.
But it seems that these same people that were not so long ago attacking people as un-American for questioning a President’s POLICY decision are now willing to accept as perfectly American booing a sitting war time President on July 4th during a parade. And encouraging their children to do so. And throwing things!
To relate a particular incident: A child, I would guess 12 or 13 years old, decided that he hated the President so much that he sprayed silly string in the face of one of his supporters as he marched by. Want to guess his dad’s reaction?
Explaining that attacking parade marchers is inappropriate? No.
Explaining that our President deserves respect? No.
Explaining that assaulting anyone is criminal? No.
The reaction: A big hearty high five.
When I suggested that this behavior was inappropriate the dad tried to physically intimidate me and shout me down.
Are we really so partisan that we think the other half of the country is not even deserving of civil behavior? Of being able to march in a parade without being attacked? Of treating our war-time Commander in Chief with boos and disdain?
What happened to civil discussion of issues? Debates and compromise on the best policies to help Americans? Remembering that we are all people deserving of respect and kindness?
Instead, people of the other Party are dismissed as evil and not even worthy of being able to march in a July 4th parade supporting our President.
That doesn’t seem very American to me.