Monday, October 15, 2012

Civility as Suppression (Monday LINKS)

One of the carry-over ideas from last week's Civility in Politics session was whether Civility, and the invocation to "Choose Civility", can be or is used as a means of quieting dissent.  As noted in the session, saying that someone is a liar or has lied could be considered uncivil in some circles.  If Miss Manners were consulted, she would probably advise that you should "politely excuse yourself from the conversation and ask the host if they need help getting out hors d'oeuvres." 

But there's a difference between being "civil" and being polite, right?  Are we still having a hard time figuring out exactly what the legion of green bumper stickers are asking us to do?  Is the word a catch-all for behaviors we don't like?  And if so, doesn't that wrap around to confirm that "Civility" is a means of censorship to conformity?

I've never been a huge advocate for the Choose Civility campaign.  There is something haughty about the two word instruction that just rubs me the wrong way.  But I appreciate the aspiration and often consider it in my own dealings, with a twist.  Am I going about this in a way that will bring on the best result?  Am I unnecessarily stirring the emotions of another individual in a way that will make me regret this later?  You can imagine that posting approximately 300 comments on the hustle and bustle of state, local, and national politics with these considerations in mind can be difficult.  It would be much more convenient for me to say that I "Choose Civility" if I ever knew what that meant.

And the comments?  Well that's the sticky wicket.  I don't expect them to be "civil" as much as I may hope to make it through the day without fervent disagreement.  And I do hope that.  I expect and appreciate (daily) disagreement, but to be completely honest with all of you, its not the most fun part of writing a blog.  Especially when I have to admit I'm wrong.  But in terms of civility, we don't get to dictate the manner in which people disagree with us, much more than anyone else can dictate the manner in which we thrust our opinions before them.  And maybe civility, in its ambiguity, wraps up considerate, professional, reasonable, open-minded, calm, Caps-lock-off, obscenity-free deliberation, but maybe it doesn't.  Maybe the whole idea of a blog flies in the face of civility? 

Who are you, sir, to be so loud?

All these years later many of us are still trying to figure those green bumper-stickers out.  And that's a good thing.  I would like to think that with the consideration there is some manner of embrace.  Probably not enough to put it on our cars, but at least enough to put it in our thoughts.


With the redistricting of the 6th District, many projected that incumbent Representative Roscoe Bartlett would have to mobilize his campaign to meet new voters and raise his profile in new areas.  Most accounts would indicate that he has failed.  Challenger John Delaney has executed a 21st Century campaign in a 21st Century race, while Bartlett's campaign looks unable to take on the new dimensions of politics.  We often say that we no longer want "safe" districts and District 6 may be an indication of what happens when that safety is removed.

This article on out-of-state support for same-sex marriage opponents wraps up all of the hypocrisies of the campaign.  Advertising is being coordinated by a divorcee (excuse me, annulment-ee), paid for by overwhelmingly out-of-state money, and made up of acknowledged lies.  I'm sure that guy's marriage was destroyed by a loving same-sex marriage and he's just out for revenge.

A 1.6 acre floating marsh has been proposed for an unused corner of the Inner Harbor.  As much as this would help the health of the Harbor, state officials are objection...because of a pier walkway that would allow visitors to walk through the "park". 

A number of Maryland businesses will be paying about half less in unemployment insurance taxes next year as the State lowers the rate by 55% for those employers that did not have layoffs last year.  The talking heads will tell you that this revenue will be put into hiring more people.  Let's see if it plays out.

Featured Blog Post of the Day: WB postulates an interesting turn of events in which the Guv, Martin O'Malley, is appointed to a position in the next Obama administration, Anthony Brown moves into the Governor's seat, and Ken Ulman sits in as the new Lt. Governor.  In this story, Brown/Ulman run in 2014 and Ken goes for the number one spot in 2022.  I'm not buying this one.  I would find it very unlikely for O'Malley to leave his position as Governor to lead into the 2016 election as "Secretary".  It would also be a risky move for Ken to tie his carriage to a weak Brown ticket in what will inevitably be a tough primary against Gansler and Franchot, regardless of incumbency.  But its still fun to think about.

That's all for today.  Have a great Monday doing what you love!