THE LATEST THINKING
The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.
As we ring in the new year, let's bring civility back to our politics.
2017 has been a bad year for civil discourse.
It feels as though America has contracted rabies and we're foaming at the mouth.
Or we've taken too much steroids and gotten a serious case of 'roid rage.
Whatever it is, people are angry — and worse, they've begun to think it's perfectly okay to be uncivil.
But perhaps it's time that we demand more sane conversations — in our politics, our media, among family and friends.
Because the incidents this year looked pretty ugly:
In March, leftwing protestors at a lecture at Middlebury College shut down the talk, then shoved a professor and pulled her hair — enough to wrench her neck and send her to the hospital.
In June, Donald Trump called MSNBC's Mika Brazinski "dumb as a rock" and made a sick comment about her "bleeding from a face-lift."
In May, comedian Kathy Griffin posted a graphic video of herself holding a mask styled to look like the severed head of Trump, and although the video was definitely ill-considered, she received overly-harsh social media backlash that brought her to tears — and resulted in CNN firing her from her job.
Also in May, Republican Senator Greg Gianforte punched out a journalist.
And throughout the year, Facebook and Twitter were bastions of outrage (one study found that anger is the emotion that spreads most easily on social media).
Happily, as the days get shorter and the cold winter chill sends us indoors, outrageous incidents have begun to subside.
Even Trump, that mean old Grinch, has tempered his ire: The Los Angeles Times, which tracks the number of insults the president tweets, shows his rate of insults has been lower in December.
And Twitter has implemented new rules to crack down on social media trolls.
This month the Republicans passed their tax bill, and all we seem to be talking about is good old fashioned tax policy — a divisive issue to be sure, but hell, at least it's legislation instead of fisticuffs.
And more importantly, despite the incidents we see in the news, it helps to remember that life has been normal for most people in 2017.
This year millions of Americans showed up to work everyday, spent time with their families and friends, and watched episode after episode of Game of Thrones, largely without incident.
Millions survived Thanksgiving — and as far as I know, nobody got killed while debating politics with their family.
In other words, most civilians are in fact civil.
Sure, at times there seems to be tension in the air, but I like to think that most of us want civility deep down — that's the point of civilization.
Civility may seem like a quaint value compared with justice, freedom, or equality.
But it's hard to imagine how we can live up to any of those ideals if we can't be decent human beings first.
Something nasty is afoot in the Los Angeles gated community that Kathy Griffin and her boyfriend Randy Bick have called...