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Civility. Practice what we preach.



There will be a post-Trump time in two or eight years and we all still will need to get along, B. Jay Cooper argues.


The word of the week is civility – after, among other things, the press secretary to the President of the United States was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant because the owner and staff were offended deeply by the positions and style of her boss.

After that, and after at least two more prominent members of the President’s staff and Cabinet were heckled while trying to eat a meal in D.C. area restaurants, the topic all of a sudden, on all sides, was civility.

It really didn’t matter a lot because a Member of Congress called on citizens to do more such things to Trump Administration members. And, the President seemingly threatening that Member and claimed the restaurant involved was “dirty”, implying it was in violation of the health code.

In the old days, of such things were duels made.

The father of the press secretary, a former governor of Arkansas and a devoutly religious man, posted on his Twitter feed a picture of heavily tattooed Hispanic men, purportedly members of the notorious murderous gang MS-13, and said it was a meeting of advisors to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. He claims it was satire. Even if that’s true, he should have known it would be taken as connecting Pelosi to MS-13. Now, with rare exceptions, I doubt anyone believes Mrs. Pelosi is in cahoots with MS-13. But believe me, some do. And the President's son gleefully retweeted the picture.



Meantime, up in Kennebunkport, Maine, former President Bill Clinton was visiting former President George H.W. Bush. You may recall in the quainter days of 1992, those two faced off against each other during Bush’s reelection bid. It was a tough campaign, although the word tough now sounds strong to use to describe that campaign. Clinton, of course, won and Bush was quite upset for many months after he lost, according to many reports.

Fewer than 30 years later, the Bush-Clinton campaign seems quite dull and droll.

Meantime, the two paired up to raise tens of millions of dollars for storm-related rescue efforts and George W. Bush, the 44th president of the United States and son of the 41st, calls Clinton “my brother from another mother.” Both 41 and 44 have become close Clinton friends.

Back to current times and we have a President who, to public knowledge has never contacted any previous presidents for counsel or console.

How do we get back to the more civil times of 1992?

I don’t know.


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What I’ve tried to do is, while I clearly oppose nearly everything this President has done, I have, I hope, not used nasty names toward him though I probably have said nasty things, and if those have offended anyone, I apologize now.

Sinking to his level has done nothing. In fact, the more the “other side” criticizes him or heckles his people, the more solid his support among a slice of the voting public.


I hope that none of us wants to hate the other. We can certainly disagree (strongly) on how to get things done but why should that devolve into a hatred for “the other side.” In fact, why does there need to be an “other side.” We’re all Americans. We all, mostly, hold to the same values – liberty and justice for all. If that’s the case, why can’t we disagree and go out for a drink or coffee after. Why instead do we go to our tribal corners?

Talk about quaint, the late President Ronald Reagan and the late Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill were on distinctly different sides of just about every issue. But they got together “after hours” and shared a drink and a laugh or two. And how about the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch or former Senator John Kerry and Senator John McCain? Distinctly opposite Democrats and Republicans but who partnered on many pieces of legislation to benefit the American people.

Let me know the next time that happens.


President Trump, when a civilian, reportedly was friendly with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, but now Trump calls him names. In fact, Trump calls nearly everyone who disagrees with him names and labels them with his own handles “Crooked Hillary,” “Pocahontas”.

Those of us who didn’t vote for Donald Trump can do nothing about it but speak our truths, register to vote and when the time comes – whether that’s the coming mid-term elections or his re-elect effort in 2020 – vote against him. Many people wonder what the post-Trump era, whenever that comes, will be like. Many think the tribal postures folks have taken will stick and maybe worsen.


But there is always a choice.

We needn’t throw chairs or treat others like we wouldn’t wanted to be treated. There will be a post-Trump time in two or eight years and we all still will need to get along.

Call me Pollyanna, but why not start now?🔷


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Embed from Getty Images


(This piece was originally published on the Screaming Moderate.)


(Cover: Flickr/White House/Shealah Craighead - President Trump at the G7 Summit in Canada - 8 June 2018.)


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Former deputy White House press secretary to Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. Also headed communications offices at the RNC, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Yale University. Former reporter.
Marion, MA, USA. Website

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