America lacks civility, leadership at top
I just finished reading another thoughtfully written Op-Ed by Al Sikes, friend, author and former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. It begins by referring to the pipe bomb incident, noting it is a manifestation of a larger problem. The piece ends with a call for truth and civil discourse which seems, in these times, just a pipe dream. Actually, the article ends with the following sentence: “I sure wish John McCain was still around.”
Well, just last week I conversed with a friend regarding the current congressional race in our district. We favor opposite candidates, but as friends we found common ground on some issues, one in particular being the need for national service. Somewhere in that conversation McCain’s name was mentioned. My friend proceeded to tear him down by questioning his bravery as a prisoner-of-war in North Vietnam, pointing out the way he treated his first wife, his terrible (courageous in my opinion) vote to not leave millions of Americans without health care and, in my friend’s mind, the shameless self promotion by staging his own funeral. I was taken aback and almost speechless. The last person I heard denigrating McCain was President Donald Trump. Rather than bring up that wound, I chose to point out what Newt Gingrich did to his wife. My friend agreed Gingrich was equally shameful and our discussion continued without contention. I wondered later where the conversation may have gone had I chosen to defend McCain on any of the other assertions. Nonetheless, it was a quite civil discussion. We chose not to debate the merits or foibles of Harris and Colvin and our friendship remains.
Achieving harmony in our country is not a pipe dream, but it will require better leadership. John McCain led his party and was known to be argumentative. He fought tooth and nail for positions, sometimes lost his cool, but was never intentionally personal. If he slipped on occasion, he was known to recognize such and apologize.
Right now this country faces a leadership crisis. I wish John McCain was still around, but also wish for more leaders like him to stand on principle with integrity. For that reason, I voted for Jesse Colvin to replace Andy Harris as our representative in Congress. I do agree with a couple of Harris’s positions, but favor Colvin’s platform. In the final analysis, I cannot vote for someone who lacks the courage to call out the president for his divisive and acrimonious rhetoric.
Veterans learn to obey orders and prepare for war, but our representatives should not show blind obedience They are elected to serve and protect the pubic. Right now we are not being well-served or protected. Instead our president behaves like a schoolyard bully, using language that divides our citizens. Gutless politicians stand around with their heads down and hands in their pockets. In some cases, their hands in our pockets. Putting country first is not achieved by denigrating other people or other countries.