Does anyone out there remember Johnny Carson? How about Everett Dirksen? Remember Ronald Reagan? Can your remember what they had in common? Civility!
I don't bother with late night tv anymore. It is mean. The jokes are mean...and I often think the stars are mean too. I grew up...and more intelligent...with Johnny Carson. He would poke fun at anyone who acted stupidly, or made a fool of themselves...but it was never mean. He had a humor that was observational, not an attack. Don't know how he did it, but he did...and he made America better for it.
Dirksen was a politician...but he understood that politics was a craft that required negotiation, not a "Sherman's march to the Sea." Progress, as his ideology defined it, was slow...but not a reason for destruction. He lost some. He won some. But he treated his opponents the same way that he treated his allies...with civility.
Ronald Reagan was a man with strong convictions. He never foreswore those convictions. Yet he negotiated with a Congress that opposed him to achieve progress. He didn't demand "winning'"...he gave some and won some, but like Dirkson understood that it was a gradual influence that he wielded, not the label of a "winner" or "loser"...time would determine those things. Both realized that the job of ruling the country came first. Each put politics away once an election was over, because they needed to DO THE JOB! Not only that, they did it exemplifying the art of civility while promoting their own agendas.
Today, I experience ole age with a certain amount of disdain for America. Not for the country physically, but for our government. There is no civility. Oh, sure, there is feigned politeness...but it comes with obvious cynicism...it's not real.
And the President has no skills in negotiating. Of course, he knows that so there is an avoidance of even entering that arena. For the first time in my more than 70 years, I see a President afraid of the Oval Office. I see a President unable to even call Congressmen and Senators and talk about solutions for problems. Instead, he runs off to fundraise or play golf. I expect that he is scared of showing his lack of experience if he sits down in the situation room with his military officers and discusses the ongoing world-wide challenges. For such an intelligent, learned man, how could he not realize that the admitting of ignorance is the beginning of both knowledge and the inspiring of a desire of those around him to help. Instead, he ducks, weaves and avoids. And makes believe all is well.
His attitude, mentally, is the equivalent of the old story of the Emperor's new Suit of Clothes.
Unfortunately, this is NOT a fable.