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Jeff Whitten: A note on civility
editor's notes

A buddy of mine named Bruce McCartney sent me an email last week. I include it here, mostly in full: “Ya’ll need to write about civility,” he wrote.

“Went to bed Veterans day eve and all was fine, and had been for several weeks. My Veterans for Trump posters were stuck at the entrance to our Drive. The large sign you see in the attached wasn’t there then. My Grandson called Veterans Day and wished me a Happy Vets Day, then said ‘Pop you’re not going to be to happy.’ I went out by the mailbox and the shreds of paper you see below my newly placed Veterans for Trump are all that was left.

“Grandson was right. Veterans Day and Memorial Day are normally a little rough, this one was a 19 beer day and I quit drinking years ago.

“Needless to say the sign just hung is me venting anger, disgust, disappointment, etc We may have differences of opinions, but does that necessitate our losing our civility?”

Now, Bruce is a Vietnam veteran who served as a dustoff medic and has spent many years since then fighting for veterans right to the healthcare they paid for, and if anyone I know has earned the right to stick a sign up and not have it torn down, it’s him.

But civility is, if not gone, going fast. It’s like the kid with the “Bleep Trump” sign at a flag waving demonstration on Highway 144 and 17 a few weeks ago. Why wave that at traffic? It’s on the same level as some of the ads the Republican senators are airing attacking their Democratic opponents, that level being childish and mean.

Lest you think that’s the exclusive territory of Democrats, I live in what used to be the wilds of South Effingham, where I often drive a certain nearby road lined with spacious homes on large lots where the Trump flags (including one that said, “Trump 2020, No more Bull---) and signs and banners outnumber Biden banners about 100 to 3.

If you’re keeping score at home, those three lonely Biden signs were in front of a single house. They kept getting torn down and pelted with trash.

I don’t know the owner, but he kept putting them back up and cleaning up the trash. They were torn back down overnight. Not only that, but folks kept throwing trash at them even after they’d been torn down.

Finally, I drove past one day after weeks of this process and saw in place of the Biden banners a for-sale sign. The man had given up, I figured, and it made me sad. But then he put one Biden banner back up, and far as I know it’s still there.

So is the for sale sign, but good for him for not letting the bad guys win.

And good for Bruce for the sign he posted at his driveway. It ain’t exactly civil, but then Bruce has earned his stripes and he didn’t start it anyway.

It reads, in case the photo doesn’t do it justice: “Dear person lower than worm poop who destroyed our property, have to sneak around in the dark, don’t have guts enough to come see us eye to eye?

You ARE a disgusting person and an embarrassment to your family.”

Preaching to the choir here, Bruce. Amen.

Finally, while on the topic of manners, claims of voter fraud tend to imply some think the only way in heck they lost or didn’t win outright was because somebody cheated them out of it.

Is that where we are now? Nobody loses, they just get it stolen from them?

It suggests (at least to me) some don’t trust voters or the process to get it right if they don’t win. And when a political party or someone in it doesn’t trust the people it seeks to govern and the government it hopes to lead, where are we?

In a world of hurt, probably.

trump sign
The sign Bruce McCartney put in front of his home after his Veterans for Trump sign was torn down.
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