I’m excited that my colleague the Rev. Sarah Oelberg is preaching on the topic of “Democracy and Civility” on July 1st. Because civility has AGAIN become a political football.
At the end of June, after White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked to leave a restaurant (because she supports the Trump administration’s policy on separating families who cross the border illegally), there were many cries of “Incivility” from folks on the right. Journalist Osita Nwanevu wrote, “The very same conservatives who inspired and encouraged extreme rhetoric are now admonishing liberals and the left for incivility.” Read his excellent article here.
And then veteran journalist Dan Rather spoke out via Facebook, saying, “(L)et’s be clear about what incivility really looks like:
Incivility is lying to impugn the citizenship of the first African American president.
Incivility is threatening and mocking reporters and attacking the First Amendment protections of our free and independent press.
Incivility is destroying the environment and ignoring climate change.
Incivility is countenancing corruption and venality in the highest reaches of the White House and its cabinet.
Incivility is our government’s response to Puerto Rico.
Incivility is undermining a merited investigation by respected law enforcement officials and maligning the notion of an independent judiciary.
Incivility is cozying up to dictators and attacking our allies and friends.
Incivility is ripping children – even those too young to know their parent’s name – from immigrants legally claiming asylum.
Incivility is endeavoring to have millions of Americans lose their health insurance.
Incivility is creating a false equivalence between Nazis and counter protesters.
Incivility is using peaceful dissent from NFL players as a pretense for stirring the deep waters of racial injustice.
Incivility is using Twitter to lie and bully.
Incivility is just having the pathology to constantly lie in the first place.
Incivility is gaslighting your fellow citizens on issues big and small.
Incivility is trying to bar entry to the United States on account of religion.
Incivility is ignoring science and reason.
Incivility is trying to run roughshod over our constitutional protections.
These are but a few of the real incivilities that plague our moment in history.”
Dan Rather went on to say that the bonds that have held our nation together are under attack by those who currently hold political power – and that that’s the REAL incivility.
Rather and Nwanevu have said it better than I can, and no doubt Rev. Oelberg will, too.
My best response comes from Ella’s Song by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon: “We who believe in freedom cannot rest… we who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes.”
Keep fighting for freedom, my friends. Keep fighting for justice!
The Rev. Suzelle Lynch, Minister