Despite how you feel about the upcoming Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade, civility on both sides is still important (even if it’s hard), and is considered by experts on both sides to be necessary in order to get this country working again. But how do we get there? Brink Lindsey has a suggestion in his incredible two-part essay, “In Search of Civic Virtue.”
He labeled this civic virtue “The Prime Directive,” which for you non-Star Trek fans means that it’s really, really important.
Are you sitting down? Okay, here it is: Treat all your fellow citizens, regardless of their political views, as your civic and political equals.
My first reaction to this was “Arrgh. Are you kidding me? No way!” (Imagine me rattling the bars of a cell, yelling in protest.)
But Lindsey makes his case well…
To condemn someone solely on the basis of their beliefs, while ignoring everything good about them, is disproportionate and narrow-minded. We cannot be good citizens by being unfair to each other…
…Disrespect for people with different political views should be condemned and stigmatized in the same way and for the same reasons that open avowals of religion and racial bigotry are condemned and stigmatized.
Reading this was a little like being slapped in the face. He’s saying that people who refuse to accept or tolerate others because of their race are racial bigots. That’s bad. People who refuse to accept or tolerate others because of their religion are religious bigots. Also bad. When we do the same thing to each other because of politics? Also bad.
Treat all your fellow citizens, regardless of their political views, as your civic and political equals.
I’m guessing this doesn’t apply just when we are face to face, but is something we should keep in mind all of the time.