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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 6, 2011 / 2 Nissan, 5771

A double standard on civility in politics

By Kevin Ferris



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Nearly three months ago, a gunman in Arizona killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Within hours, and with no evidence, Republicans and conservatives, especially tea party activists, were blamed. They didn't pull the trigger, the criticism went, but they certainly had encouraged a violent "climate" with "vitriolic" words, deeds, and symbols.

That was nonsense. But if the criticism wasn't just using a tragedy to score political points, if Democrats and liberals truly believed what they were saying, no doubt they would have become models of civility. Or at least attacked their own if they broke the new rules.

Hardly.

Last week, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., was caught giving fellow Democrats talking points on the federal budget fight. "I always use the word extreme," he said. "That is what the caucus instructed me to use this week."

Leftist comedian/pundit Bill Maher has taken to referring to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as a "dumb t---."

In Wisconsin, in reaction to Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to limit collective bargaining, "dead man" chalk outlines with his name on them appeared outside the state Capitol. Inside, after the Assembly passed the bill, an irate Democratic lawmaker turned to a female GOP colleague and shouted, "You are f------ dead!" He later apologized.

Aside from NOW's clucking at Maher — mostly the group was upset at having to rise to Palin's defense — there wasn't much made of this "vitriol." So, all the post-Arizona venting was just a cheap attempt to silence political opponents.

Knowing all that, I was reluctant to attend last weekend's conference "Can We Talk? A Conversation About Civility and Democracy in America" at the National Constitution Center. But I went, and I'm very glad I did.

First, the sessions I saw demonstrated what I've come to appreciate about the Constitution Center: It tries to present as many sides of an issue as possible. Is there a perfect balance of right, left, and center every time? No, but the effort is there.

Second, I was reminded of the basic decency, common sense, and concern for the country's fiscal future that is at the heart of the tea party movement. That was all courtesy of the Seattle area's Keli A. Carender.

The 31-year-old blogger and activist used to teach math to inner-city adults. Now she works full time for Tea Party Patriots and State Budget Solutions, focusing on legislative research, government transparency, and helping states fight the worst aspects of the health-reform law.

In the conference's opening minutes, the Oxford-educated veteran of comedy improvs politely, yet directly, put the day's topic in perspective.

"It's hard to believe we're talking about civility now after I and others in the tea party have been maligned and impugned," she said. "I've been called a racist many times."

As have other tea party activists, including her parents, Carender told me in a phone interview last week.

"My parents, when they were younger, threw themselves into the civil rights movement," she said. "Now people try to call them racists?"

How does that differ from calling supporters of health-care reform socialists?

"When you call someone a racist, you've labeled them an immoral person, as a person who literally hates someone because of the color of their skin," she said.

"Call someone a socialist, and you imply that they believe in a certain set of philosophies and policies. You're implying those policies are bad and dangerous, sure, but that doesn't say anything about the person's character, what's in their heart, or how they treat other people."

She has two simple rules to live by in her activism: Govern yourself first. Even if a policy or issue gets you angry, you won't win anyone over with insults or attacks.

"Shrill gets attention, but it turns people off," she said at the conference.

Second, govern your side.

"If people are calling for civility, but not calling out the uncivil behavior on their own side, they have no credibility with me," she told me.

At its worst, she sees the civility movement as a distraction from issues.

"We can't put all our energy and resources into fighting smears," she says. "We have to put it toward affecting the change that we want to see."

Last week, Carender was working to change federal budget policy. She and other tea partyers were backing rallies urging the GOP not to settle for less than $90 billion more in budget cuts this year.

Isn't that uncivil, refusing to compromise?

"I think $90 billion is a compromise," she replies, noting that the annual deficit is more than $1.3 trillion. "We're flying off a cliff and $90 billion is nothing."

"We're not trying to play the politics of fear or gin up a crisis," she says. "This is really what's happening."

Well put. Even civil.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Comment by clicking here.

Kevin Ferris is commentary page editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer.



Previously:


02/10/11: Why Bolton has an eye on 2012
07/22/10: The liberal roadblocks to shrinking government
06/16/10: A rightward sequel to Year of the Woman?
03/11/10: Dems silent on health-bill concerns
03/03/10: More than an angry mob
02/17/10: A summit for the rest of us
02/08/10: A moving tale of detainee shuffle
01/27/10: Standing for more than ‘No’
12/24/09: A duty, an honor that grows and grows
11/12/09: Obama should heed his own lofty words
11/05/09: Getting well, helping others
10/01/09: Helping the fighters thrive
09/03/09: Holder needs to explain dismissal of Philly case
08/19/09: Rage understandable, but what comes next?
08/05/09: A few words, and then some, from the Obama Center
04/29/09: Pity for ‘tortured’ terrorist?
04/22/09: For good or ill, to be a public figure is to have your image used and abused
03/11/09: GOP lacks leader but has potential
03/05/09: A dangerous naivete in foreign policy
02/25/09: Beware ‘dialogue’ on race
12/29/08: ‘Chicago II’: A governor's story
12/11/08: Operator: Welcome to transition hotline
12/03/08: How Obama will fight a growing front in Afghanistan
11/25/08: GOP ahead of curve for change
11/13/08: Prayers for President-elect Barack Obama
10/03/08: Obama's lowball attacks: Suggesting that McCain is a bigot runs afoul of the high-minded ‘unity’ tripe
09/06/08: It's unlikely that a President McCain would be driven by political ideology
09/04/08: Bold McCain will sharpen the contrasts

© 2008, Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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