Democracy requires genuine and rigorous, but respectful debate. Last week Huntsville was thrust to the fore of public attention when President Trump came to our city. During a rally speech, our president referred to NFL protestors as "Sons of B*tches" and insisted that they should be fired for their dissent.
No matter what side of a debate we find ourselves on, it is never appropriate to resort to disrespect and name-calling in order to advance an argument. Criticizing our ideological opposites or scapegoating our political opponents undermines a key tenet of democratic government—civility. The divisive nature of our political discourse has become an unfortunate trend.
Our President continued this trend Tuesday when he attempted to shame a part of our American family with talk of "broken infrastructure & massive debt". Puerto Rico and the U. S. Virgin Islands are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. Over 3.5 million Americans are in crisis, battling intense heat and humidity and extreme shortages of everything required to sustain life. When people are experiencing a life-threatening crisis, morale is essential in fostering hope - hope which is necessary to provide the psychological stamina to overcome unimaginable adversity and deprivation.
Our unique ability to disagree without disrespecting one another is one of the many reasons North Alabama is so great. We have learned to engage people with whom we disagree without being crass and without bullying. We have learned how to rally to the victims of crisis without pointing fingers of blame at them. We have learned that respect, relationships, and civility transcend party politics. This is who we are. This is who we should always be! I am committed to using my platform to help reverse the trend of divisiveness in politics. I will always opt to build relationships with those I disagree with instead of disrespecting them. The best outcomes occur when decency is prioritized above disrespect.