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