Perspective: We Need Civics, Not Politics

Feb 8, 2019

We were told the recent State of the Union speech would unify the nation. Yet, even as the speech was being given, hateful tweets were flying in all directions. 

Members of both parties have said over and over we need to work together. We need to seek unity to meet the needs of the people. Then they go back to their corners to come out fighting the next day. 

  The word unity has been used so much that it is worn down to a bare thread, its true meaning lost. 

Partisan tribalism in the U.S. is higher than at any point since the Civil War. 

As a nation, millions are stuck in what psychologists call “confirmation bias,” which shapes both memory and imagination. People filter out most information that conflicts with their desired conclusions. People work hard to confirm their biases, not to challenge them. 

One of the core problems is the inability to differentiate between politics and civics. 

Politics is about use of power, and civics is about who we are as a people. If we continue to collapse the two together then we squeeze out unity. 

Civil discord is the greatest threat to America. 

What we need is to agree first on the universal dignity of all people. Once we embrace “we” instead of “us” and “them,” we will be able to find true unity. 

I’m Dan Kenney, and this is my perspective.