It does not take a tactful observer to recognize the growing tension within the United States. Resentment has festered to unhealthy levels for those who stand on the opposing side of the political aisle. As friction heats up, so are the once strong layers of civility shaved down to something flimsy, porous and bare. This is no longer a friendly competition where competitors shake hands whether win or lose. The nation has splintered, and prominent voices are not shying away from this new state of reality. On an interview with CNN, former democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton effectively said, “Civility can start again” when democrats have power.
Here we have the former leader of the democratic party from just two short years ago first acknowledging that civility is not taking place. In more reasonable times, the lack of civility would be answered with a need to restore it as priority one. A society cannot continue onward for long without a degree of cohesion.
Clinton knows that politically things are not civil, but she does suggest that this is necessarily a problem. She instead rationalizes the state of incivility by declaring, “you cannot be civil with a political party” that stands for principles and ideas such as the republican party does. By Clinton’s analysis, the republican party is so destructive that principles and decency need to be discarded for the sake of regaining power. All rules are off. Until democrats regain power, this is to be the new norm.
Hillary clearly states that civility will not be reestablished while democrats lack authority. “If we are fortunate enough to win back the House and/or the Senate, that’s when civility can start again,” says Clinton.This approach comes off as rather totalitarian, as rules of conduct only apply when democrats are in power to set the rules.
However, she surely will not rationalize this approach as anything but a necessary response to the greatest evil America has ever faced. If Trump and his administration are genuinely perceived as a force of pure immoral darkness, it can be understood how such levels of action can be proposed and pursued.
The political temperature continues to rise, and there is no cooling agent in sight. Nor is containing the temperature even desired, and likely the opposite will be desired from the left if the Republicans win the midterms and retain power for at least another two years.