OPINION: The end of civility within politics


If you were given a chance to sit down with the possible next president of the United States, what would you ask him?

CBS’s Bob Schieffer went with a question on his wife’s horse. While this is all trivial, it only gets depressing when it makes it’s way to MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell whose comments turn a wasted opportunity into a vicious attack.

O’Donnell mocked Ann Romney for her participation in a form of horseback riding known as dressage. What Mrs. Romney chooses to do for fun, as well as comfort for her multiple sclerosis, doesn’t affect her husband’s policy or campaign in any way. Or at least it shouldn’t.

The country is polarized. The far left and far right, who don’t represent the majority of Americans, are the loudest and most brutal voices being listened to. It’s not enough for them to disagree with a candidate or one another. They must vilify everything about the other side. They have turned our political system into an “us” vs. “them” mentality. They have turned the dirtiest word in politics from “liar” and “fraud” to “moderate” and “bipartisan”.

When Romney referred to the president as a “good guy” he received backlash from within his own party. That is a problem. It is not enough to just disagree civilly like we saw during the first of the presidential debates. No, it is expected of the candidates to tear their opponent down on a personal level leaving all their skeletons out to bare in front of the whole country. How will the fact Romney put his dog on top of his car affect his plan on the economy? And what does Obama having eaten dog while living overseas have to do with trade with China?

In the coming election we have two candidates who have two drastically different plans for our country. From their economic plan to how health care will be provided. All of these issues affect every single one of us and it is our job to decide which path the country is to take. It is an incredibly important decision that we hold in our hands. At a time when we need to be the most informed on these politician’s plans for our country, what the media chooses to focus on are car elevators, birth certificates and horse dancing.

As the default rate on student loans continues to rise the amount of attention given to “birthers” seems insignificant. The relations between a late-night talk show host and Romney are a joke when compared to the far more volatile relations between Israel and Iran.

If you go to vote make sure you are voting because you understand the vision your candidate is offering. In this case ignorance is not bliss. It’s just ignorant.

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