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Holding civility at the heart of politics

With the Alabama state primaries coming up at the beginning of next week, the air of unease that surrounds any kind of political decision-making has begun to rear its unfortunate head. Political discussion is a healthy and encouraged part of our democracy, but it is something that can quickly reduce the demeanor of the brightest scholar back to that of a child. All sides of the American political spectrum are guilty of this, so it is important that we do our best to remain civil in the face of differing opinions.

Especially in the Greater Valley Area, which spans three Alabama towns and one in Georgia, political opinions are sure to vary from county to county, community to community and even house to house. As stated last week in this very paper, the people around here care deeply about what happens around them, meaning that choosing someone to represent our communities is top priority for many.

This is important, as it is every American’s duty and privilege to participate in our political system. From putting campaign posters in the front yard to just talking about each candidate’s platform, all of this creates a healthy environment for politics.

What spoils it, though, are when the same yard signs cause passerby to look down on the homeowner that supports a particular candidate, or when the round-table discussion turns into a shouting contest in defense of one party over another.

This gets us — as a community, as an area, as a country — nowhere, and tears us apart. Political debates and discussions are not meant to demean opponents, but are supposed to bring us together in the goal of picking the best candidate.

That is not to say everyone has to agree politically, it is just a reminder that political discourse goes a lot further when everyone involved remains polite, open-minded and civil. Hopefully, those chosen Tuesday night will represent each side well until the final decision is made later in November.