Andrés Oppenheimer misreads history in his Oct. 30 column, “Civility is dead,” writing that, “With this election, everything has changed.”
The decline in civility in the election process has been ongoing for many years; to place the blame on one individual is an oversimplification. In the 19th century, newspapers were highly partisan, with party leaders writing columns as newspaper editors.
According to historian Edmund Sullivan, Abraham Lincoln was called “the ugliest man in Washington” and a “filthy story teller, braggart and butcher.”
In the 20th century, the advertising industry was developed to mold and influence opinion; civility just got in the way. But civility is just one aspect of the campaign. If candidates were polite but never discussed the issues, we would have nothing.
How about a column on why we get scandals and innuendos instead of substantive discussion of issues such as climate change and environmental contamination; a corrupt and second-rate healthcare system; the corporate takeover of public institutions; manipulation of the election process; unending wars and the uncontrolled military budget?
That’s one short list of incivility.