Lack of civility is big problem

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell raised an interesting point Monday.

Well, others might refer to it in a less objective manner.

“We have a behavioral problem,” he said in a speech after receiving an award from the Kentucky Electric Cooperatives at the group’s annual meeting. “People are acting out and it’s not, I don’t think, limited to one ideological place or another. You’ve just got a lot of people engaging in bad behavior.”

Whether you agree with his politics or not, McConnell is right about one thing: Far too many people lack basic respect. They don’t display common courtesy. And either they don’t know it or don’t care. As McConnell notes, more and more people are hostile, rude and nasty to those who have different views from them. The days of agreeing to disagree are over. We are now in the days of agreeing to berate, belittle and bad-mouth those who don’t think like we do. It’s not that we disagree with them. It’s that we don’t even want to hear them anymore.

Remember those days of preaching tolerance? Of listening to other viewpoints and presenting a different viewpoint in a reasonable manner?

Well, forget them.

We would love to say Kauai is a model of good behavior, but sadly, it is not. Kauai, the land of aloha, is also home to a fair number of mean-spirited people who look to blame all their problems, all this island’s problems and all this country’s problems, on everyone else, but certainly, not themselves. As we have said before, most of us think far too highly of our own opinions and too little of others. Too many of us believe we know better than everyone else.

In the Associated Press story, McConnell was asked if President Donald Trump, known for his combative tweets, was partly to blame for stoking tensions, McConnell replied: “I think we have a civility problem and I didn’t confine it to just liberals. I think it’s across the board.”

McConnell did single out college campuses in his speech.

“You read stories of young people, incentivized I think by the faculty actually on college campuses, who don’t want to hear anything they may disagree with,” he said. “It might upset them to be exposed to a point of view that they don’t always subscribe to — being brilliant, of course, and knowing everything at 18. I think that’s troublesome.”

McConnell, the top-ranking Republican in Congress, said civility is an “important thing” in a democracy. He vowed to do his part to steer political discourse away from angry tones.

“I intend, for what little impact I can have on that, not to act that way,” he said. “We have plenty of incentive to get angry. But as you may have noticed, I try to stay calm, be respectful and don’t get caught up in these intense debates that we have.”

So, what’s the point of all this?

Simply, that we can better. We can return to the days of speaking and acting with basic respect and courtesy.

But don’t hold your breath.

You’ve heard the adage, “Treat others as you would like to be treated?”

You haven’t?

Well, don’t worry about it. It seems no one else has, either.

10 Comments
  1. Patrick Flores November 19, 2019 6:24 am Reply

    I agree with this commentary, we each as individuals can and should be tolerant of other opinions, especially if we aren’t immediately impacted by them. Let us each give careful consideration to our responses to others, verbally or in our thoughts. of course , we all have the liberty to choose our own means of behavior. Patrick Flores, Wailua Houselots


  2. tunataxi November 19, 2019 6:48 am Reply

    Anyone who canʻt see that trump has been a huge factor in the lack of civility today is in denial. If not please show me someone else in recent history who has acted similarly…. Iʻll wait


  3. Nick O'Casey November 19, 2019 6:50 am Reply

    This editorial makes a good point. Unfortunately, Sen. McConnell’s failure to recognize his own part in the sad decline of our political discourse makes him a poor example to point to.


  4. Rev Dr. Malama November 19, 2019 8:52 am Reply

    Wow, once again tgi newspaper shows who they are working for! Quoting the man who’s sold out American people in favor of Bank and Billionaire bailouts and the unconstitutional patriot act, just to mention a few behavioral issues this self serving idiot possesses…. google Mitch McConnell quotes and track record yourself and read the rolling stone article…
    Kauai is doomed!!!


  5. kauaiboy November 19, 2019 8:55 am Reply

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the president’s most stolid defender, wants us to show him, and other sycophants, respect? Good luck with that.

    McConnell is down to a 18 percent job approval rating in Kentucky. He has lost respect even in his home state.

    McConnell’s stone-faced support for whatever the New Yawk con man Trump says or does, is an embarrassment to our democracy.


  6. Craig Millett November 19, 2019 9:20 am Reply

    Somehow Mitch seems to have forgotten that he supports the most uncivil man in America.


  7. CommonSenseish November 19, 2019 2:33 pm Reply

    “We would love to say Kauai is a model of good behavior, but sadly, it is not. Kauai, the land of aloha, is also home to a fair number of mean-spirited people who look to blame all their problems, all this island’s problems and all this country’s problems, on everyone else, but certainly, not themselves.”

    THIS IS SO ON POINT. AND TO REPLY TO TUNATAXI… OBAMA WAS THE KING OF HATRED AND DISRESPECT. HE DIDN’T EVEN RESPECT HIS “FOLLOWERS” ENOUGH TO ADMIT HOWQ MUCH OF A POS HE WAS.


  8. steve November 19, 2019 7:14 pm Reply

    Really, tgi? I agree completely with Mitch’s sentiments. Let’s just say that civility starts at the top. When you have a leader who models mysogeny, can’t find words (for a day or two) to renounce a KKK endorsement, finds equivalence “on both sides” of a deadly encounter where one side is white nationalist & neo-nazi, encourages followers at his rallies to beat up on minorities & reporters, insults anyone who disagrees with him including a disabled reporter…well, I could go on. But Mitch thinks he’s being civil….by holding Trump’s coat.


  9. Aukai November 19, 2019 8:19 pm Reply

    A common mistake, we live in a Republic not a Democracy. The MSM media likes to keep you ignorant of that big detail. What else is fakenews now? Who knows, Obama authorized propaganda in the United States against the citizens just before he left office. A crime against you & us all. Did you know that? Obama promised to do away with the Patriot act but instead of letting it expire he signed a new worse version his 1st yr in, but did you hear about that?
    I would like to suggest that more people not only watch CNN but watch something else that has actual news too. Seems to me social media has a big impact on people’s behavior & lack of civility towards others with a different opinion.
    Let’s not forget Dem. Maxine Waters & dozens of Democrats saying get in their face push back, against Trump’s ppl in restaurants in stores. The Soros Clinton left is & has been promoting violence since they lost because they lost and they don’t like Trump. Maybe vote next time. Actually it won’t matter Hawaii always votes for the Democrat. That’s why DC takes us for granted just as they take black American voters for granted.
    I see low-information commenters convinced that Trump is “literally Hitler” and the same people are insisting that we forfeit our second amendment rights and give literally Hitler all the guns. Does something sound wrong there or is it just me? Hear of Antifa? The Marxist group that uses fascist violence proclaiming themselves anti-fascists? Maybe them clubbing people with bricks and beating up transgender and homosexual reporters in the street for no reason has something to do with the anger people are expressing also. Maybe that liberal that shot up the Republican Congressmen’s baseball practice last year had a impact also. I mean besides almost killing a Congress man & 20+ others because “Orange man bad”, CNN said so.
    Just before Hillary lost, when she still thought she was going to win, she went on national TV and warned us how important it was when Trump lost that his supporters support the newly-elected government, her. Remember that? Well she lost and her supporters instantly started demanding impeachment and formed the resistance.
    Now a impeachment for what? The Dems change the charge every other day after polls show ppl aren’t buying the bs.
    What’s next? Do you expect the conservatives will accept the Socialism the left has planned?
    If Trump loses in 2020 I’m not sure what’s going to happen. but it’s kind of hard to blame anyone if they acted the same way as the left did for the last four years isn’t it? I reject violence in politics but I see CNN say antifa was the good guys as they spit on & beat up ppl at a Christian Prayer & Free speech gathering last year. Did you watch it online or TV? CNNs Fredo Coma said antifa good.
    Wakeup folks Socialism is coming & you won’t like it.
    Aloha to all the ppl of Kauai!


  10. Chris Runco November 21, 2019 5:47 am Reply

    I agree with much of Senator McConnell’s theory, but as noted by others here, he is a big part of the problem. He has never called out Mr. Trump for Trump’s brazen bullying. Recently he defended Kentucky’s Governor Matt Bevin, who acts as viciously as Trump. And how respectful was it to block even a single vote on Merrick Garland? Or the Violence Against Women Act? Call him Senator Hypocrite.


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