By KATIE McHUGH
When Allegheny College created a National Civility Award after hearing President Obama tell the two heads of the Washington hydra to cooperate, I had to laugh.
Yeah, let’s give politicians an award for acting nicely towards each other. That will really improve our childish political atmosphere.
Who really cares if collagen-injected Democrat X pretends to applaud fake-tan Republican Y for his “efforts” in helping the American people?
My priorities are pretty backwards according to most political experts—I care more about the subjects of the government rather than its ugly figureheads—but I’ve been thinking that maybe politicians should treat their constituents with greater respect, and each other with greater contempt.
Politics is a scramble for power. It is essential to keep this in mind. Anyone who makes a living duping people into voting for him, collecting withheld portions of their incomes to fill his bank account and exaggerating and sometimes lying to keep his seat of power is clearly a man of questionable morals. Praising his “civility” only reveals the panel’s low expectations of his character. There isn’t much else to applaud.
Good manners in politics are seriously overrated, anyway. I appreciate honesty, humor and a good smackdown much more than any phony display of “civility.”
It looks to me, too, that since the word “civility” will become a way to reward some politicians, the word “incivility” will be used to discipline those who refuse to stick to the politically correct script and exclude them from debate until they issue a meaningless apology.
Hurling the charge of “incivility” at someone will be like telling a child, “Don’t be a meanie!” As if the liberals didn’t have enough code words already to label their enemies.
The civility award will do nothing to improve the pitiable state of public political debate.
Maybe I’ll create my own award. No, I’ll create two. I’ll call one the “Brutal Honesty Award” and the other the “Honest Brutality Award.” Constituents, pundits, whoever can win the first one by giving their honest take on current events without caring if they hurt liberals’ or minorities’ feelings.
Politicians can win the second one by telling their constituents in no uncertain terms that they are the ones in control, that they will vote to wage perpetual war overseas, that they will do nothing to control immigration and that they will do whatever they please, no matter how much it hurts the country.
That probably won’t solve anything, but it will help voters understand that the politicians aren’t on their side.