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John Homan: Where has our civility gone?

By John Homan
updated: 2/2/2018 6:02 PM

I get that politics can bring out the worst in us. Many of us have strong opinions and we want to believe that the vast majority of Americans believe the way we do, or should.

But there are certain lines that should never be crossed when discussing serious subjects like politics.

One woman on Facebook Wednesday started a thread about President Trump's State of the Union speech Tuesday night. She commented that many of the Democrats were not willing to get on board with Trump's attempt at unification. She said some Dems were on their cellphones or computers ignoring the positive aspects of the speech.

Accurate or not, that observation was civil, not mean-spirited. It was her opinion ... period, and I respect that.

But sadly, the woman's post led to one made by a man who remarked that the Dems are the enemy of conservatives and that they all need to be "strung up."

Joking? Perhaps. But perhaps not. It's that frightening mentality that makes me wonder how this nation can possibly move forward in harmony. How many more people believe like him?

It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant some people can be when they make comments on the internet for everyone to see.

A debate of the issues used to be fun and almost always civil. Today, it is too often replaced with rancor, bile and hate and an ignorance so profound that one can only shake one's head in disbelief and wonder how relations will ever improve.

Is it possible we were all better off when there was no internet to make us look foolish in front of the world?

Sure, there have always been racists, idiots and haters, but at least only a small group of people knew about them. People were more inclined to keep their opinions to themselves back in the day, or at least confine them to family and close friends.

But now?

Now, there are no rules of etiquette. No regard for how the person with an opposing view would feel about what I say. I heard one national commentator remark after the President's speech that he thinks our nation is as divided today as it was in the 1860s when the issue of slavery led to the Civil War.

Could he be right?

It might be wise that we lean on President Abraham Lincoln for some advice, here. Here is an excerpt from one of his speeches that needs to be read and remembered.

"Let us at all times remember that all American citizens are brothers of a common country, and should dwell together in the bonds of fraternal feeling."

If only, Abe ... if only.