June 19th, 2018

Political discourse lacks civility

By Letter to the Editor on January 11, 2017.

All the civility in the fine art of passionate political discussion has been lost. We have descended into the ugly world of loud and angry voices, public shaming, and childish name-calling in an attempt to stifle the voices we do not agree with. Both sides of the political spectrum bear responsibility. Expecting tolerance and respect for your views while being intolerant and disrespectful is not a productive strategy.

The most reprehensible of these is the ongoing comparison of public figures to some of the most evil men of the last century, something that would not pass muster in high school debate club. The mostly beige Stephen Harper has been labeled a “Nazi.” Any 21st-century student equipped with critical thinking skills would have to ask the question “if Harper is a ‘Nazi,’ how bad could they have been?”. The easiest target, of course, is Donald Trump who has been painted as the natural heir to both Hitler and Stalin.

This has some unintended (or perhaps intended) consequences. It demeans the Holocaust, it demeans the starvation of millions of Ukrainians under Stalin’s forced collectivization of family farms, and it demeans the sacrifice of the sons and daughters of Canada in far away places.

Demonization of your political opponents by preaching to the choir will not change anyone’s outlook, it will harden attitudes and allow extreme viewpoints to dominate politics.

The greatness of democracy is that you can almost say what you think, but you should think before you say it.

Immanuel Moritz

Medicine Hat

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