Yearning for a return to civility

I am a fan of civil political discourse, and of compromise when it can produce a common good, and of political adversaries remaining friends when the battle of the day has concluded.

Thus, I am yearning for a return — please pardon my borrowing a phrase coined by a former U.S. president — to a “kinder, gentler time” in American political life.

The late George H.W. Bush sought such a return when he took office in 1989. It was there, then it was gone.

It’s gotten much worse since Donald Trump entered political life in the summer of 2015. Indeed, he helped foment some of the intense anger even before then, feeding the Big Lie about President Barack Obama’s citizenship status, becoming the de facto godfather of the “birther” movement.

OK, he’s now the current president. The House of Representatives has impeached him. Trump is now getting ready to stand trial in the  Senate.

I won’t venture off the conventional wisdom trail here. I believe he will survive the trial. He will stay in office. Trump then will run for re-election and he will feed the intense anger that will continue to simmer and boil until Election Day 2020.

It’s my desire for a return to political civility, collegiality and comity that makes me yearn for his defeat next year. Trump has shown an unwillingness to bridge the divide among disparate Americans. Indeed, he seeks to widen it.

Thus, as he campaigns for re-election I fully expect the president to keep reminding us of the impeachment drama that is playing out at this moment. He will continue to hurl epithets at his foes. Trump will attach sophomoric nicknames to them. The president will seek to fuel the rage at the system that got him elected in the first place.

What if he wins? Oh, my! We’ll get four more years of practically everything I have just described. There likely will be a new wrinkle or three thrown in for good measure.

I’ll try to do my part to dial it back by refraining from some of the harsh rhetoric I have spouted in this forum since Trump crashed onto the political scene. Trump is a lead-pipe cinch, though, to test that pledge with what he is likely to say out loud over the course of the next year.

Take note: I haven’t hurled a single epithet at him in this post.

Hey, it’s a start. My hope springs eternal that we’ll be able to return sooner rather than later to a kinder, gentler political era.

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