A Civil Understanding
In a recent column titled “Who will bat against ‘Alibi’ Obama”, George Will wrote “Announcing his candidacy near the Statue of Liberty, where Ronald Reagan began his 1980 post-convention campaign, Huntsman promised “civility” because “I don’t think you need to run down someone’s reputation” when running for president. Actually, you do.”
I doubt George was advocating vicious personal attacks but I do think he was saying we need to define “civil” as something other than bland. I only mention this because I have had two conversations today with organizations in Washington who are both working to bring “civility” back into politics. Is that like bringing romance back into human trafficking? Has the game changed so radically that talking about a return to civility is like a return to wind powered passenger ships?
It’s novel and laudable but ships don’t run on wind anymore. That is not what fuels them…and civility does not fuel politics. I’ve read enough history to know it never did and we are probably comparing our politics of “civil war” to a time that never existed. From what I heard this morning about the Center for Public Justice (www.cpjustice.org) I love their work “to help equip citizens, develop leaders, and shape policy in pursuit of our purpose to serve God, advance justice, and transform public life.” I can only hope they will show a practical alternative to Rupert Murdoch’s brand of journalism and the “love of hate” that drives ratings and blood pressure up.
While it is certainly counterintuitive and against the trends, it is encouraging to see groups like CPJ taking the stand that there is a City of Man and we, as Christians, have a place in it. Others are beginning to join them and say we are not just here to evangelize or do social justice or create culture. We have a role to play in the rough and thoroughly uncivil world of politics and governance.