Editorial: Civility

Civilized costumes grace Howl and Prowl in Greenwich. (John Ferris Robben photo)

Civilized costumes grace Howl and Prowl in Greenwich. (John Ferris Robben photo)

CivilPolitics.org is an organization whose mission is to educate the public on evidence-based methods for improving inter-group activity.

They define political civility as the ability to disagree productively with others while respecting their sincerity and decency. They do not mean blanket agreement on issues, but rather that a citizenry is best served when political candidates represent different viewpoints and compete vigorously to recruit voters to their side. OK, we get that. It makes sense. It just does not seem to be what is happening today.

We have written before about how the political rhetoric from the national campaigns has risen to such a crazy din that it is creating a general unease among voters. While we had hoped the combative attacks would have subsided by now and we would be discussing different opinions on more substantive issues, alas that was not to be.

Now we have to steady ourselves before we turn on the news, not knowing what new attack or combustible statement will be leading the news cycle. Oh, do not get us wrong. We believe that each candidate for President owns equal share in creating this national pandemonium.

Over the next two weeks, even though our crystal ball has not been as accurate as we would like, we anticipate the vitriol will increase further (if that is even possible) and our unease will grow as well.  However, this soon will be over and we will have a new President and our country will survive. We always do. Our country will not self-destruct.

The nice thing about a pendulum is that it swings both ways. Politics is like a pendulum. When our country goes too far to the left or to the right that pendulum seems to swing back towards the center. We actually see a big silver lining in this election cycle. From everything we see and read, more people are involved in this election than ever before. More people are registering to vote. More people are attending political rallies. More people are talking politics and about this election.

Having more people involved in our democracy is a good thing and may be just what we need to move this pendulum back to the center and return a sense of normalcy and being able to actually accomplish business in Washington. Governing from either extreme never works. We need a bipartisan approach in Washington to be able to move our nation forward.

Fortunately, here in Greenwich we do not have to witness the kind of negative campaigning we see on the national front. In fact, Greenwich politicians have, nearly always, waged positive campaigns based on issues. The few, very few, times when someone running for office in our community has waged a negative campaign it has backfired, significantly. Greenwich is better than that and smarter. When a candidate sends out a negative mailing or talks negatively about their opponent it is a red flag to our voters. If they cannot articulate their position on an issue than they are left with no other choice but to go negative.

We strongly encourage every candidate running for office in Greenwich to take the high road and run a positive campaign based on the issues. We are an intelligent community. We understand complex issues. Being negative insults our intelligence. How we wish we could convey that message to our Presidential candidates.

There are just twelve more days until election day. Until then we will keep a wary eye on the national news reporting. When the time comes we will cast our vote and we encourage all registered voters to do the same. In 1974 when President Ford was sworn in after President Nixon resigned when faced with unsurmountable amount of bad press and the threat of impeachment he said, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over. Our Constitution works. Our great Republic is a government of laws and not of men. Here the people rule.” Our country and our community will be fine come November 9th.

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