We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The campaign season is in full swing; the Republican National Convention is being held in scaled-down mode due to the coronavirus and I’m reminded of an event back in November of last year. It was the second in a series of happenings hosted by the Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Discourse at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. It was emceed by local radio personality David Welch and moderated by Dr. Mary Hendrix the school’s president.

The evening was supposed to be a model of civil debate - civil discourse if you will. The two participants were chosen because of their divergent political perspectives. Donna Brazile: a commentator on the Fox television network and former chair of the Democratic National Committee. Mercedes Schlapp: a former member of the Trump administration. By the way, her husband Matt is the chair of the American Conservative Union. I’ve written about this event previously in an article entitled: Is Civil Discourse Still Possible? So I won’t rehash it here.

Last November we were living in a different time – a different era. Back then society was still fairly cohesive, though it was certainly fraying at the edges. But as the title of my article suggests, the wheels were starting to come off. The establishment of the Stubblefield Institute was supposed be an agent of change – to help to stem the tide of incivility that was gripping us. Or at least a start.

Since then, events have steam rolled that effort. Ironically, it was Donna Brazile herself who got behind the wheel of a steam roller and hit the gas pedal. In early March Brazile was interviewed by her Fox News colleagues. During the discussion she is quoted as telling Republican National Committee chair Ronna McDaniel to “go to hell”. Ronna McDaniel wasn’t even a participant in the interview.

So there we have it. Donna Brazile, answers the question: “Is civil discourse still possible?” Apparently the answer is “hell no!” Brazile set the tone for this election year back in March. I’m going to try to avoid going to hell myself. It’s not a place for believers.

Donna Brazille Shepherd University Election West Virginia Stubblefield Institute Civil Discourse
Elliot Simon

Elliot Simon

I'm a retired executive and consultant. My wife and I have lived up on the mountain outside of Harpers Ferry since 2002. We have six cats. It would be nice if we could all agree on everything, but lately we... [More...]