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Where is decency and civility?

Max Stites

Letter to the Editor

Published June 16, 2024

Grand Junction Daily Sentinel

Where is decency and civility?

I am disturbed and extremely disheartened by the level of vitriol and fabrications that exists in our current political climate. I don’t care if it comes from the left or right. My angst increased even more after reading about two of the Capitol Police officers who risked their lives to defend our democracy on Jan. 6, who were booed recently by some members of the Pennsylvania State House.

One hundred-forty police officers were assaulted Jan. 6. Some were severely injured, one died from a stroke as a result of injuries and four others died by suicide in the days and months following the attack. If not for the actions of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police, who knows what may have happened that day. Would Vice President Pence have been hanged and Speaker Pelosi killed? Would the peaceful transfer of power, which is a cornerstone of our democracy, have come to an end forever?

We live in a time when it seems the most extreme actions and statements get the most coverage. Some politicians, who know better, swallow their pride and dishonor their oaths to support colleagues and candidates who lie often, make hateful and unfounded accusations, and appeal to the worst of our nature rather what Lincoln described as the “better angels of our nature.” For example, how is it possible for any member of Congress who feared for their lives that Jan. 6 to later describe it as “a normal tourist event?” How is it OK for two members of Congress to yell “Liar” during the State of the Union Address? How is it possible for people to claim that the whole justice system is rigged when a jury decision doesn’t go their way? Or four years ago, in the aftermath of the tragic death of George Floyd, a few members of Congress called for “defunding the police.” Or recently, how is it possible for a candidate for Congress to send out a mass email with the subject line, “God hates Pride”? These are just a few of the extreme and absurd statements that sometimes dominate the news cycle.

I guess the existential question for me is, do enough of us still believe in decency and civility to support and vote for people who also believe in decency and civility? Are we committed to voting for people who will reach across the political aisle to try to solve problems, or are we to continue the political warfare, disinformation and extremist rhetoric that threatens the very fiber of our nation? We can do better and we must.

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