DAYTON, Ohio (June 2017) – Usually I will write about a business issue that affects employers or our economy … or maybe write about a quality-of-life issue that is important to the well-being of our community. After all, I do represent the chamber of commerce and business interests in our region.
Over the last 3 years, I remember penning my perspective several times on the lack of civility in Washington or other communities (thank God not ours) as this mean-spirited decline in civil discourse among and between our leaders has driven a much larger and deeper wedge between those who are there to represent us and solve many of our national concerns. Your feedback has been mostly in agreement.
But enough is enough! The continued rancor and down-right nasty dialogue about our country’s President is shameful. If the President or other past or present elected leaders have done something illegal, then let our judicial process resolve it. No matter who he or she is, they were elected by our long-standing electoral process. And now the recent shooting of Congressman Steve Scalise and injury to four others, including two police officers trying to stop the violence, has outraged many. The question now remains … has it outraged enough leaders to take a position that will help calm the radical elements of both sides of our political spectrum? Maybe.
Our country has certainly experienced political ideology, partisan fighting and yes, bloodshed among our leaders and zealots since its founding. Not just violence aimed at our Presidents, but also at others who dared be disagreeable. But the shootings on June 14 show that some are using this national deterioration of our civility among our people to justify their own horrific actions and treatment of others. Enough is enough.
So where are we, our little region of the Midwest, in all of this? Thank God we don’t try to emulate the behavior of some. Back here in Ohio we may be insulated from some of this negative attitude; but we could easily fall prey to its trappings. It’s bad enough that the world has witnessed violence for more than 2,000 years because of religious differences … and we know that has gotten worse over the last twenty years. But now we are letting our partisan political ideologies separate us into a country that lacks unity, direction and a sense of purpose. Enough is enough.
We just can’t stand by and let this continue. Our community never has. But it is a slippery slope if we the people don’t speak out and condemn the intolerance … condemn those who encourage violence … condemn those who sit on the sidelines only to conveniently point their nasty little fingers at others while they allow their own condescending attitudes to prevail. Thank goodness we have some really good people and organizations in our community that are working each day so as to not let that occur in Dayton and the Miami Valley.
But what are we going to say or direct those other national leaders to do to stop this growing chasm of negativity? A chasm that if left unchecked could be the beginning of some level of anarchy and the downfall of one of the world’s greatest experiments in not only democracy, but as the best culture and quality of life any nation has been blessed with since people gathered together. What kind of world … or country for that fact … will we leave our children and grandchildren?
This anger and lack of respect and civility have got to stop. It starts with every town in America and every citizen. Maybe the tragedy that just occurred finally gets us to a tipping point … where enough is finally enough!
To download a PDF of this article as it appeared in the Dayton Daily News, click here.
Phillip L. Parker, CAE, CCE
President & CEO
Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce