Embracing Civility

Arthur Hargate
3 min readJul 1, 2023
Photo by J.E. Hargate

A local media outlet here in Cleveland is running a series of articles analyzing and bemoaning what they observe to be the breakdown in civility in today’s political discourse. I agree it’s gotten to be a pretty rough and tumble game, replete with crude adolescent name-calling, vicious personal attacks and fact-free, angry posturing, often designed to target the base fears and resentments of voters.

Politics has pretty much always been a vicious, dirty bare-knuckle arena, but there are aspects today that do seem uniquely dangerous here in the United States. It’s a shame, and frightening.

I hope these articles go deep into underlying causes rather than skim the surface with the very typical “false equivalency” approach used by local media to protect the full spectrum of their readership. Usually the approach with analyses like this suggests that “There are very fine people on both sides,” implying, of course, that fascists subscribe to news services like anyone else.

Nonetheless, in the spirit of doing my part to help cool the hostile political discourse atmosphere just a tad, I’m offering my thoughts here to those with whom I disagree most vigorously in political matters in as civil a manner as I can think of. Here you go:

Please forgive me for saying so, but I must assert, with all due respect, that I find many if not most aspects of your observable routine public behavior, verbal demeanor and apparent underlying character objectionable to my sensibilities.

Please note my considered opinion has absolutely nothing to do with the political party you identify with and support. Whom you vote for is your business, and although it appears to me to be your business to vote for idiots, be certain that my observations have everything to do with the human values you display in abundance in your speech and actions.

To wit, these overt and repeated offenses to the moral compass I humbly choose to embrace peeve me greatly, i.e. your quite obvious racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, homophobia, misogyny, willingness to condone lying, cheating, and stealing, your aggressive and violent rhetoric and tendency to embrace threats of violence and violence itself to get your way, your disrespect for the rule of law, your insatiable greed, your often coded, dog-whistle, vulgar hate-speech, your denial of scientifically proven facts, your complete lack of compassion for other people, your contempt for democratic norms and love affair with authoritarianism and a ruthless and relentless mania to do whatever is necessary to win at any cost while intentionally humiliating and injuring other people in every conceivable human interaction you have, no matter how morally repugnant your means.

Please don’t take offense at my saying so, and I do apologize if I have unsettled you in any way, as I believe you certainly have a right to your uninformed, unintelligent and feckless opinions and the freedom to live your tragically deluded life as you see fit. Forgive me too, then, if I choose to work tirelessly in my life to assure you do so in a way that affects me, other people and the planet as little as possible.

I do hope you have a great day.

Civilly and very, very sincerely yours,

Arthur Hargate



Arthur Hargate

Arthur Hargate is retired after a 40-year management career in the environmental services business. He now writes, plays guitar and is a social activist.