Political incivility has been around for a very long time. According to the article “The Rise and Fall of Nasty Politics in America”, a number of studies have been conducted to prove that politics has always been “a bit rough”. Many people in and out of the political world are agreeing that politics these days have turned in to a horrible cycle. Politics today involves nasty language about fellow members families, angry protests and violent outbursts. Sometimes racial slurs and discrimination is also involved in bringing down your opponent.
Furthermore, political incivility has caused a variety of problems in American politics throughout the years. Knowing this, what are some of the things that can be done to help increase political civility? Political incivility has caused a variety of problems in the political process. Politics today is often biased based off of the partisan media and views of opposing sides of various parties. According to the article “What Is Civil Engagement Argument and Why Does Aspiring to It Matter?
” the partisan media only shares those facts that are inconvenient to their opponents, engage emotion, and replace argument with ridicule causing many of the listeners or viewers to have angry views of the policies on the opposing side. Allowing the partisan media to be broadcasted for Americans to see causes outrage and incivility in the world around us. This brings me to my next point where the violence in the political world is getting out of control. The violence that occurs includes both physical and emotional attacks by the opposing parties.
For example, the district office of a Georgia representative was defaced with a swastika, and the lawmaker, who happens to be African American, has been the recipient of racist hate mail (Shea and Sproveri, 417). There have also been many other instances where racial violence was used including during the final health-care reform meetings. A lot of the protesters yelled out racial slurs at the African American members of Congress. Also during this time one of the legislators was spat on while entering the Capitol Building to cast his vote (Shea and Sproveri, 417).
This type of violence causes politicians to lack the motivation to run for office. Olympia Snowe, a former Senate member, finds it very frustrating that the atmosphere of polarization and the “my way or the highway” ideologies has become persuasive in campaigns and in our governing institutions (Maisel, 408). She is resigning from office and decided not to run for her forth term in office. Other politicians are afraid of ridicule about their families and therefore will not be running for office any longer.
Another reason that political discourse is harming the American political process is it is influencing the ability of govern. “Incivility leads to an inability to govern and, therefore, more can be done in other areas” (Maisel, 408). The inability to govern leads the government officials to detach from politics and take interest in other areas. Also, politicians in today’s era have only one thing on their mind and that is to win. They do not care about the common good or the similar believes of the opposing parties. All they want to do is finish on top.
This situation is causing the president and other officials to lack the ability to pass laws that may benefit the whole population. “According to NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll conducted in the fall of 2011, more than four out of five voters felt that the Congress’s decisions on the debt ceiling were decisions made for partisan political advantages” (Maisel, 408). This is problematic because it brings other officials to not want to run for office and for the population to be dissatisfied with the whole system of government. This can lead to outburst and protests by the people of the nation.
So, what is the best way to increase civility in American politics? First, we can follow the ways of the people during the World War II period where partisan differences still existed but at the end of the day the government officials went back to their families where their wives and children were interacting with the wives and children of those with whom they had been debating with (Maisel, 409). In those times, the politicians worked together for one cause, which was to be united and progress with the well being of the nation.
That is what the politicians in today’s world need to realize. The politicians in that era had certain rules they needed to abide by like they had to treat others involved with respect and civility. They also relied strictly on truth and not on the fact that they need to win no matter what the consequences to the nation are. This seems to be one of the biggest problems that the American politics has today. The US House of Representatives has it’s own set of rules that ensure that there is civility.
The Congress has a set of rules that ensure that the disagreements in Congress are purely philosophical but not personal and that their views are legitimate even if they are wrong (Jamieson and Hardy, 412). This is exactly the type of rules that need to be set for regular debates and this will ensure that the members do not over step those boundaries. The House makes sure that the members do not call each other bad names or over step any boundaries that may cause them to lie. They are not even allowed to call their fellow members hypocritical even if they are being hypocritical.
Their understanding is that each side needs to be heard and then they will come up with a compromise to make both parties accept it. In conclusion, the political incivility going on today is effecting the government in ways unimaginable. Politicians are not willing to run for office because of their fear of having their families or themselves ridiculed and talked about in an inappropriate manner, there is a big increase in violence during debates and the politicians of today are only focused on winning and not on the benefit of the greater good.
There is a lot that needs to be improved before there could be any type of change in the political world. The government needs to set a variety of rules for debates just like the House of Representatives or the Senate has that will set a limit to the type of things the politicians can say to each other. This will minimize the political discourse today and help new politicians accomplish more and help the nation prosper in the future.
Courtney from Study Moose
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