The State of Civil Discourse

This past Saturday I attended the Freedom Forum in Blairsville to hear from the 9th District Congressional challengers, the 51st District State Senate candidates and others standing for election. I am the grassroots Director for Congressman Doug Collins in Union County and was manning a table with various material from the Collins campaign.

Before the candidates took the stage an elderly woman, who I know casually, approached my table. I asked if she would like a Collins sticker and apparently that lit the fuse. “Are you kidding?” she asked incredulously. Did I know what a horrible human being Doug Collins is? Quickly it escalated to how uninformed I am. Then there were some veiled references to me being a closet member of the dreaded “establishment”. Finally I learned that my long deceased parents apparently did a poor job raising me. All the while my mouth is hanging open disbelieving what is coming out of this “lady”.

Eventually she stormed off in a huff.

Shortly afterwards a male senior citizen advised me that he had lost all respect for me based on my choice to represent the 9th Congressional District. I wasn’t sure how I could lose something I didn’t know I had. While not as animated as the female, the conversation was just as personal.

So when did we lose the ability to disagree without it getting personal? When did we lose the ability to disagree without being irrational? When did attacking differing beliefs become an effective strategy to influence those beliefs? When did my generation lose their manners and lower their standards to the point of this type of behavior being acceptable?

Politics is a contact sport and one needs a thick skin to play in the game even on the periphery. I suspect that some people are unable to rationally explain their choice of candidates and their only remaining strategy is to attack. The weak challengers in the 9th District do it all the time so why be surprised when their supporters use the same tactics.

At the end of the forum the woman sought me out and in a loud voice asked me three times if I listened and did I learn anything.

At that point I discovered that angry people really get really angry when you laugh and walk away.

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xdogBHaylesThe Eiger (aka the NEOCON Hack)SaltycrackerWill Durant Recent comment authors
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Bart
Bart

“So when did we lose the ability to disagree without it getting personal?” Decades ago. Always been that way, but maybe a bit worse now due to increasingly easy access to so much personal data.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

When ? It was 1850, a potato famine and a bunch of Catholics invaded……most people knew their place until Al Gore invented the internet…

Ellynn
Ellynn

The potato famine of Ireland was 1845. More Catholics came into this country when California was made a state in 1850, and from the Prussian Empire exodus between the 1870-1890 then during the potato famine. Facts… Discussed in a civil manner…

Nathan
Nathan

I think a lot of it has to do with the constant news cycle spurred on by social media. It’s easy to become outraged when all you’re exposing yourself to is outrageous, click-bait articles titled “You won’t believe what *YOUR* Congressman did…” and emails that want you to chip in $5 to help send faxes to your Congressman on a bill that has no chance of being signed into law.

We’ve become blind to the fact that governing and campaigning are two separate things. Making campaign promises is easy, but governing is hard.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

It is what it is but there are some things we can do to help the people.

1. End gerrymandering by party, race or “voices”. Subdivide by population, neighborhood, zip codes, towns, cities, trade areas, counties, states…..

2. Term limits, end professional politicians. Then we can carry on about them not controlling their hired/appointed bureaucrats.

The Eiger
The Eiger

I keep hearing this tired talking point of gerrymandering. I know it sounds good, but it’s just not true. At least here in Georgia. Take a look at how the map has changed. Current vs. 2003-2006 map. The best way to place people into a congressional district is to do it with splitting as few counties as possible. Currently there are only 14 counties out of 159 that are split between congressional districts. Let’s find another talking appoint.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia's_congressional_districts#Historical_and_present_district_boundaries

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

I’m not just talking about big US congressional districts but since you mentioned it – my district 11 has to be a poster child for gerrymandering.
Adairsville to Ballground to Vinings and a nice swath of Fulton ITP to the DeKalb line, OTP to ITP with pieces of four counties.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia%27s_11th_congressional_district#/media/File%3AGeorgia_US_Congressional_District_11_(since_2013).tif

The Eiger
The Eiger

Did you not look at the maps in the links I posted?

You honestly think our current maps are more gerrymandered than they were in 2003?

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

And here you go, on Georgia redistricting, not for the people

http://saportareport.com/independent-process-congressional-redistricting-may-solution-georgia/

FreeDuck
FreeDuck

Not sure what age your generation is, but I would say the answer to “when” would be when Fox News became popular.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

It was ugly before the fox got in the henhouse.
The average life span of a duck is under 10 years. Thus you are forgiven.

Jon Richards
Jon Richards

There’s something to the idea that Fox News is linked to the increasing amount of anger in our politics. This piece by Rod Dreher talks about the change that comes over people when they consume a steady diet of Fox, Limbaugh, etc. And to some extent, this followup piece on Where Fox geezers come from describes the type of person destined to become a Fox geezer, but also the type of person likely to be drawn to Donald Trump’s siren song of “Make America Great Again.”

gcp
gcp

If you want to talk “anger” need to look at MSNBC also, but then again no one watches MSNBC so I guess it doesn’t matter what they do.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

I don’t watch FOX much anymore for the talking/yelling over each other, but ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and the others spew sensational batsh*t crazy stuff for entertainment ratings and champagne pity parties.

Noway2016
Noway2016

Eye roll for the troll, Ducky…

ngamtns706
ngamtns706

The weak challengers in the 9th district…..

Collins started the negative campaign with the radio ad, on social media, and now the UPS mailer that he should be worried about. If they are so weak, then why come out of the gate so negative? He seems worried..

Will Durant
Will Durant

Contrary to popular belief more duels were fought over politics than matters of the heart.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Here’s one black lady’s view on the discontent:

http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/sthompson/160424

BHayles
BHayles

I got one of the vilest, despicable negative campaign pieces I have ever seen from any politician in the mail the other day.Personal attack after personal attack.

It was about Paul Broun and was from Doug Collins’s campaign.

The Eiger
The Eiger

So, you are saying it was all true.

xdog
xdog

From his website, Collins wants to fight for conservative principles and to push back against big government overreach and liberal erosion of American values. I don’t think Broun would disagree with those goals. Too bad Collins is to his left.

I’d like to know where Broun’s financing is coming from.