Drown­ing in a swamp of in­ci­vil­ity

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Left has de­cided to join Trump in the swamp. They’ve seen his tac­tics, and re­al­ized fiery rhetoric works.

In the trou­bled days af­ter 9/11, pop icon and New Jersey na­tive found him­self in a park in North Jersey look­ing across at Man­hat­tan, pon­der­ing what had oc­curred.

As the Jersey na­tive tells the story, he en­coun­tered a man who told ‘The Boss,’ “We need you now.”

The re­sult was “The Ris­ing,” an al­bum about loss, re­cov­ery, and the strug­gle to go for­ward in a changed world.

To­day we call for a new “Ris­ing,” one that might raise the level of our na­tional dis­course.

No, it will not be easy, not in light of what has oc­curred in the past sev­eral days. And cer­tainly not af­ter this week’s con­tro­ver­sial Supreme Court rul­ing on Pres­i­dent Trump’s travel ban.

But that is our mes­sage to­day. We call for all of us to rise above the crude, coarse, too of­ten vul­gar sta­tus of our na­tional con­ver­sa­tion. A few things first.

The restau­rant owner in Lex­ing­ton, Va., who po­litely asked White House press spokesper­son Sarah Huckabee San­ders to leave her eatery be­cause she dis­agreed with “an in­hu­mane and un­eth­i­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion” was wrong.

That does not mean she did not have the right to do so. We just hap­pen to be­lieve she was wrong, adding an­other stri­dent note to our na­tional dis­cord.

As was Huckabee San­ders, who took to her boss’ fa­vorite form of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, jump­ing on Twit­ter to an­nounce that the woman’s ac­tions “say far more about her than about me. I al­ways do my best to treat peo­ple, in­clud­ing those I dis­agree with, re­spect­fully and will con­tinue to do so.”

This was not her call­ing a friend and re­lay­ing what hap­pened. This was the White House press spokesper­son an­nounc­ing it to the world. That’s part of how we com­mu­ni­cate these days. We no longer whis­per in each other’s ears. We now shout it for the uni­verse to hear.

The de­bate since these in­ci­dents has fo­cused on how best to reg­is­ter op­po­si­tion to the pres­i­dent’s poli­cies. Many peo­ple seem to think that the time for ci­vil­ity has passed, that we now must be more stri­dent in mak­ing our voices known.

I guess you can count Cal­i­for­nia Con­gress­woman Max­ine Waters among them. She en­cour­aged a pub­lic gathering to do just that, to ha­rass ad­min­is­tra­tion and Trump Cabi­net of­fi­cials when they en­counter them in pub­lic.

We fear for where all this is go­ing.

Of course, ev­ery­one is tak­ing their lead from the com­man­der-in-chief. And of course the pres­i­dent re­mained noth­ing if not con­sis­tent, re­spond­ing to the in­ci­dent in­volv­ing Huckabee San­ders about the way you might ex­pect. The pres­i­dent went on Twit­ter and ex­co­ri­ated the restau­rant. And he had to add a dash of clas­sic Trump, cas­ti­gat­ing the Vir­ginia eatery for its cleanliness.

Trump sug­gested the Red Hen “should fo­cus on clean­ing its filthy canopies, doors and win­dows (badly needs a paint job) rather than re­fus­ing to serve a fine per­son like Sarah Huckabee San­ders. I al­ways had a rule, if a restau­rant is dirty on the out­side, it is dirty on the in­side.”

Don­ald Trump uses lan­guage in a way the na­tion has not en­coun­tered be­fore from the man who holds the po­si­tion as the most pow­er­ful per­son on the planet. Sure, all pres­i­dents have had their mo­ments. Lyn­don John­son and Richard Nixon could get a lit­tle salty in their pitched po­lit­i­cal bat­tles and the skir­mishes they had daily with foes.

But for the most part, those were pri­vate mo­ments, they were not shared with the rest of the world.

And that is the heart of the prob­lem. Yes, it is the words that are trou­ble­some. But it is the way they are shared that turns these in­stances from a pri­vate dis­pute into na­tional head­lines.

Now the Left has de­cided to join Trump in the swamp. They have seen his tac­tics, and, at least for some, have un­der­gone an epiphany. They re­al­ized this kind of fiery rhetoric works, at least in en­er­giz­ing your base.

We are drown­ing in a swamp of in­ci­vil­ity. Maybe it’s time for the Boss to save us once again.

Can we come on up for an­other Ris­ing, as­cend­ing from the muck of our cur­rent po­lit­i­cal dis­course?

We have our doubts.

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