I wrote a response to Dr. Snider's piece on civility in public discourse here. He sent his regards and best wishes to everyone, and this response:
I appreciate Don's sentiment. I'd just say three things:I don't think we really disagree with each other. I only worry that there may be wrong reasons to value civility, and his piece raised those thoughts in my head, but I don't think of course that his reasons are those.
One, the context is primarily local. We've had too many letters to the editor which simply call names instead of dealing with issues. It is public discourse - between neighbors - at its very, very worst.
Second, MLK was indeed confrontational. The beauty of his approach was that he remained civil in his speech, despite the confrontation. He said:
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil--hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars--must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.
Strength To Love, 1963.
AND>>>>>>>>>>I only had about 500 words, so I couldn't cover it all!
If you would, please forward these comments to Don. They aren't meant as argumentative, for I surely understand where he is coming from. Lord knows I've wanted to vent my spleen over the war and the campaign. I have to apply what I wrote to myself daily!
Thanks for sending word, Joel. Come by anytime!