I didn’t think we’d have to go over this again after kindergarten, but apparently, I was wrong. What are the rules? Play nice. Do your own work. Wait your turn. No sharing secrets with the Russians. And – most importantly – keep your hands to yourself.
This last point has become an issue lately. Let’s review.
In Montana, a congressional candidate allegedly body-slammed a reporter, sending the guy off for X-rays while the police came to charge the candidate with misdemeanor assault. Before the set-to, a major issue there was land use, now it’s hand use. As my colleague Brianna Keilar tweeted, “Remember the good old days when political reporters could only expect a threat to be broken in half and thrown over a balcony?” (And yeah, a few years ago, that happened too.)
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In Belgium at the NATO summit, President Donald Trump apparently wanted to be in front for the photo op, so – on video no less – it appears he shoved aside the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Dusko Markovic. Considering the population of Markovic’s whole country is about 700,000, this is like the leader of the free world roughing up the mayor of El Paso. I won’t get into President Trump’s knuckle-cracking handshake with France’s Emmanuel Macron or the repeated brush-offs he seems to have received from his own wife when he has tried to just hold her hand.
Of course, there was the election in which supporters of numerous candidates behaved badly – after failing to make points, throwing punches instead. All of it paints a political landscape in which, for some mysterious reason, a surprising number of people think it’s OK to slap hands on anyone who challenges you, stands in your way or gets under your skin.
And it’s not. Sure, many of us feel pushed at times beyond our limits, and some political/social movements turn violent. But we can’t accept that as the norm. It’s uncivil, it’s destructive, and it’s nonproductive for adults in our modern world to push, shove or elbow each other around.
We’re not children. We’re not the Taiwanese Parliament. Want to effect change? Punch a ballot. Not a nose.