Political Civility

While it may have once seemed impossible, the content and context of political rhetoric is becoming more and more pathological. I’m not sure if candidates and their staff grossly underestimate the intelligence of the American people or if their strategies are merely a reflection of their own capacity for communication. Either way, I have little confidence in any political leader who puts down another human being, especially a fellow American. Political candidates engage in negative reciprocal exchange that makes a mockery of our democracy.

I would love to see candidates focus, or shift a significant majority of their focus, onto their own values, attributes, accomplishments, and vision rather than disparaging the opposition. That constitutes bullying, and we expect better from young children.

Comparative analysis can helpful for rational, and even emotional, decision making. To this end, candidates can simply state: This is what I want to do (strategy). This is why (purpose). This is the expected outcome (vision). In contrast, candidate B wants to do this. This is what I see as the possible outcome of that plan. Such a synopsis would result in less clutter, more complete and concrete information, and a more compassionate political climate.

2 thoughts on “Political Civility

  1. Scott Erb says:

    I’m afraid it’s become all about marketing. It reminds me of Joseph Goebbel’s claim that he learned all he needed about propaganda from Madison Avenue. Candidates are scripted and marketed, messages are tested with focus groups, and authenticity is considered dangerous. Moreover, emotion trumps reason in the eyes of the campaign strategists. Negative attacks are used because they work, they arouse emotion.

    This is not good for a democracy.

    • jrdreistadt says:

      No, it isn’t. I wonder if people respond to the negative attacks because it is our innate nature or if it is because we have been culturally programmed to do so. That would be an interesting study!

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