Modern Civility

I am not going to opine on whether Judge Brett Kavanaugh is innocent or whether Dr. Ford is a victim. There are plenty of people out there who have strong opinions on both sides.

What I am concerned about is the idea that we are innocent until proven guilty–until you are tried in the court of public opinion. And when you are tried in the court of public opinion, some members of the public can embarrass you and your family, threaten you and your family–without reservations–because, in their minds, the end justifies the means.

It does not.

The means in which we engage each other matters. It matters that we treat each other with civility and kindness. Dr. Ford may be a victim but Judge Kavanaugh may not be her assailant. Each deserves a presumption of innocence.

Having worked for a citizens’ lobby group, I know how hearings work and how interested parties can visit and lobby their congressman or senator. It was horrible to see the interruptions, the yelling in the hallways, and the confrontations in the elevator. This is not how we encourage true discourse on the most vital issues of our day.

Personally, I would be inclined to vote in the opposite direction of what those protesters were advocating. I would not be persuaded by hyperbolic arguments based on emotional appeals–especially if they were screamed at me.

Sadly, civility, which is what gives us the ability to disagree and remain unified in the fundamentals, seems to be a thing of yesterday–thrown away at will because the “ends justify the means” for some.