Amer­ica lacks ci­vil­ity, lead­er­ship at top

Cecil Whig - - OPINION - Com­mu­nity Voice From: RICHARD MARKS Eas­ton

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.

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