Civility in Politics

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When it comes to politics I have friends all over the political spectrum. It’s nice. I like it that way. But I’m worried.

I think we can say almost anything, make any point, raise any objection as long as we can do it with respect for one another. I think that’s lacking in today’s world, and it’s sad.

Most of you know I teach history. Let me tell you about the dream of 1964. Kennedy knew he’d likely run for re-election against Goldwater. These two men could not be more different politically. Polar opposites. But they discussed a wonderful plan. If they faced each other they agreed to campaign WITH each other. They would travel the country side by side talking to people, answering questions- debating.

Kennedy and Goldwater showing great civility in politics.

This would have been the most outstanding exercise in political respect and decorum in history- but alas with Kennedy’s death, it was not to be.

We need politicians who think that way today. They may differ in their ideas and differ profoundly- but they should agree to treat one another civilly. Showing respect for those we disagree with is the essential ingredient of democracy. It is an American value. Let’s not lose it.

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