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Decorum needed in politics

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

It has gotten to the point that it is beyond embarrassing how some lawmakers conduct themselves in meetings and public venues.  Flagrant disrespect, lies, and total lack of any decorum is being flaunted by lawmakers without any threat of consequences. This has become so commonplace that it is considered the ‘American way’ by many people.

If we are supposed to be the ‘example’ for the rest of the world, we have failed and lost our credibility. The irony is that (for the most part) lawmakers are supposed to be intelligent and well educated with the propensity to manifest common sense, at the least. But that perspective can be thrown to the wind when you see the ostentatious display of some lawmakers or others in public office. Their exploitation of ignorance, lies, and disrespect is all too often ample evidence of their deplorable and offensive behavior. Yet it is encouraged by their supporters or base.

Call me a dinosaur or old fashioned, but I can remember a time when such behavior (even subtly manifested by contentious politicians) was looked upon with disdain by the mainstream public. Now there have always been contentious politicians making racist and mendacious remarks, but it wasn’t as ‘well received’ as it is now.

Acts of blatant disrespect is so commonplace in our legislative chambers and public venues today that it has become an acceptable way for some politicians to communicate with their base. Such disrespect is only further fueled by some politician’s propensity to openly and vehemently spread lies and untruths, hoping to advance their political party’s following.

During our formative years, we are taught to address our peers in a respectable and honorable manner even if we disagree or oppose their position on different ideas or subjects. There once were consequences for those who chose to vehemently attack others verbally in an abusive and vulgar manner. But nowadays, what examples are we allowing our children to see? Do we think they can’t see the hypocrisy?

Freedom of speech is a constitutional right, but there are appropriate ways of addressing your peers without coming across as adamantly disrespectful or as a physical threat. We all know words can be explosive and damaging. That is all the more reason to use them carefully. But can there be anything more damaging and harmful than the willful distribution of lies and hyperboles by desperate, self-serving public officials?

Unless we, as a country, get a handle on politicians who feel free to exhibit sensational public tirades laced with unmitigating lies, we are contributing to our own downfall as a country with little if any trust in our three branches of government. In any given institution or group, it is sometimes necessary to weed out those who compromise effectiveness and credibility to attain success or a supposed mission. That is why so many citizens are appalled at Congress’ inability or refusal to regulate their rules of ethics against overt in-house violators. If rules of ethics are being executed, they are so ineffective they do not act as a deterrent.

A set code of ethics that should be followed by all. Heavy fines, suspension, or expulsion should be applied when lawmakers compromise, exploit or violate the integrity of legislatures, especially the U.S. Congress. Calling out or disrupting our president when he is addressing the whole country and the world is beyond disrespectable and unacceptable. Fair measures should be respectfully followed and in place to have all sides given a voice when deciding policies and laws. Let’s work to make unethical and deplorable behavior in politics stop. It doesn’t speak well for this country and only works as a divisive tool.

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