By Samuel Alvarado
Candidates for the presidency of the United States of America should be qualified in areas such as experience, civility, and civic mindedness. It is not befitting for a candidate to feel entitled to the presidency, especially if these qualifications are not met. An ideal candidate for the presidency of the United States of America would be a person who not only has experience in government, but also has the civility to govern the great citizens of this nation we call home. In my first article, I discussed experience as a quality greatly desired in a candidate because it makes a candidate better prepared for the difficulties of leadership, and I would advocate that civility is a quality that is required in any leadership position.
Civility entails a person who can respect the position of his or her ideological opponent. Civility refers to having the humility to understand that we are all humans at the end of the day, and should be decent towards one another, as people with different perspectives and ideas should be able to do. Many leaders these days are crossing the line of civility, as they wish to be less politically correct, and blunter with their constituents. However, this incivility comes at a price to both their candidacy and constituents, as it sets a precedent that is not one to be proud of.
Both parties in American politics are guilty of a lack of civility. A prime, and recent, example of the lack of civility would be the 2016 presidential election. The 2016 presidential election was among the most ruthless and pessimistic elections experienced in recent history. In the past election, there was far too little focus on the platforms, and more of an emphasis on the scandals, such as Benghazi and email scandal for Clinton along with the tax return scandal for Trump. The point of being politically correct is to minimize the damage that one is responsible for with their words. Our words have the potential to bring people together or to divide them. Being politically correct is, at its core, being understanding of different people in hopes of being able to work with them effectively. Because of civility, we can more easily make a deal, reach a compromise, and understand each other’s points of view.
When we are civil with one another, we can bridge political divides and make compromises that allow society and government to function A world without civility is a world with much more ruthlessness, anger, and tribal attitudes. We, the citizens of the United States, must be able to understand how certain words can trigger a negative response from others, such as calling people “illegals,” “hacks,” or “idiots”. These small acts of agitation will add up to make people bitter towards working with those who have been insulting them. Having a sense of what to say, or not to say, can go a long way for future political discourse. It is understood that the current president was uncivil and politically incorrect throughout his campaign. However, Hillary Clinton, who some would say has maintained an excellent political record for more than 30 years, made a lapse in judgement when she callously characterized Trump supporters. Clinton may have the experience, but she lacked the civility at a moment when civility was her greatest asset. Trump could not have been a better foil for Clinton’s esteemed civility, but she lost that high ground when she got down in the mud. The characterization of Trump supporters as belonging to a “basket of deplorables” was insulting. Trump made various missteps in civility as well by characterizing Mexican immigrants as drug dealers, rapists, and criminals, as well as offending many others within the country, such as the media, the freedom caucus, and other countries. We can see here that both candidates lacked a level of civility during their election campaigns.
It is time for the return of civility to American politics. The return of civic dialogue between the two polarized political parties would greatly benefit the United States of America. In hopes that our representatives can work together to secure a better future for the citizens of this nation, we can hope, and we can change these bad habits ourselves. This change of callous dialogue does not happen overnight, and we can not expect our politicians to be more civil if we will not subjugate ourselves to the same measures and expectations.