I attended a public forum on politics and polarization Wednesday evening and a civil discussion broke out.
The Humanities Washington’s Think & Drink program at Lindaman’s featured two political science professors from the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at WSU. The program was titled American Rage: Division and Anger in U.S. Politics. » More …
In the wake of harrowing revelations about the CIA’s secret torture program, Cornell Clayton, professor of politics, philosophy, and public affairs and director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at WSU, critiques disturbing reactions. “The tragedy,” Clayton says, “isn’t that torture failed. It’s that Americans resorted to it.
“Nations are not individuals or even extensions of individuals. A nation is its values and what it stands for. This is especially true of America, which has never been defined by a shared ethnic or religious identity, but only by our common ideals. Chief among these is the belief in human rights, the rule of law, and the dignity of the individual. Torture is an affront to these ideals.
“Those who insist that brutal terrorists who kill innocent civilians forfeit the right to humane treatment miss the point. It is not about who they are, but who we are. America is an exceptional nation because it embraces – often imperfectly – exceptional values. We lose if we abandon those values.”
U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) hollers “You Lie!” at President Barack Obama during his health-care speech to Congress. Conservative talk-radio showman Rush Limbaugh labels a caller a “slut” because she advocates insurance coverage for contraceptive care. Occupy Wall Street protesters portray bankers as criminals. Is American democracy in the midst of an “incivility crisis”?
Cornell Clayton, political science professor and director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, will discuss “Being Wrong about Democracy: Political Incivility in a Polarized Society” at 7 p.m. today, Oct. 1, in the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education, Room 203. Hosted by the Common Reading Program, this presentation is free and open to the public.