Email #246: “civility in Washington”?

Republicans and Democrats have found something to agree about. An NPR poll last month asked how “the overall tone and level of civility in Washington between Republicans and Democrats” has changed “since Donald Trump was elected president in 2016.”

73% answered: “Gotten worse.”

While that figure included 83% of liberals, 71% of moderates agreed, and even 69% of conservatives did too. Compare that to July 2009 when the poll asked the same question about Barak Obama. Then only a total of 35% thought civility had gotten worse. President Trump has doubled that figure even among Republicans.

Would you say partisan civility has gotten worse too? You said just days before the poll was taken that “we have seen a decline in civil discourse.” Why exactly do you think that is? Do you, like 73% of Americans, see it happening as a result of President Trump?

You also said: “it is more important now than ever that we as a nation work even harder to maintain a civil discourse.” So what hard work are you doing to achieve that important goal?

Author: Chris Gavaler

Chris Gavaler is an associate professor at W&L University, comics editor of Shenandoah, and series editor of Bloomsbury Critical Guides in Comics Studies. He has published two novels: School for Tricksters (SMU 2011) and Pretend I’m Not Here (HarperCollins 2002); and six books of scholarship: On the Origin of Superheroes (Iowa 2015), Superhero Comics (Bloomsbury 2017), Superhero Thought Experiments (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Iowa 2019), Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith (with Nathaniel Goldberg, Routledge 2020), Creating Comics (with Leigh Ann Beavers, Bloomsbury 2021), and The Comics Form (Bloomsbury forthcoming). His visual work appears in Ilanot Review, North American Review, Aquifer, and other journals.

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