The following piece by Jeff Jacoby is thought-provoking but concludes with a prediction, we hope, will be proven wrong. It’s thought-provoking because the civility of Ronald Reagan demonstrates what we at Common Ground Committee know is true: one can debate one’s side with heart-felt passion and still treat the opponent with respect and dignity. But Jacoby’s conclusion that things are not going to end well with the tone of public discourse is not inevitable. Americans of both parties continue to yearn for leaders who can lead effectively while avoiding the cheap shots and empty talking points.
The Presidential race so far has been dominated by showmanship. Of course, in politics there will always be a place for that. But we believe when all is said and done, the vast majority of voting Americans will go to the polls with a clear view of who they think is the best person for the job. We would like to think the candidate who is best able to positively differentiate themselves, inspire people with their vision and at the same time demonstrate respect for their opponents through civil debate and engagement will have a leg up on the competition. Some of the candidates are already pursuing that strategy. We hope more jump on the bandwagon.