Civil political discourse seemingly a thing of the past

Civil political discourse seemingly a thing of the past

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

Political discourse is just about as American as baseball and apple pie but doing it in a civil manner has eroded. 

The ability to sit down and have a friendly conversation about politics is seemingly a thing of the past. 

California Rep. Maxine Waters' recent call to harass members of the Trump Administration quickly brought scathing Tweets about her "low IQ" from the President. The discourse is just the latest in political incivility that is roiling the nation.

Waters' reveling that White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was refused service at a restaurant and Homeland Security Secretary Kristjen Nielsen was Badgered by an anti-Trump mob at another eatery, then at her house. 

At a screening of a documentary on children's TV host Mr. Rodgers, the Florida Attorney General left after protestors confronted her over her stances on health insurance. 

Political figures are not the only targets though. Political discord is a staple on social media. Friends being blatantly anti-friendly. 

"These days everyone has this constant stream of information coming at them from their smart phone," said Cole Shooter, a Lubbock attorney who is also involved in the Republican Party. "They're going on social media and seeing things that may or may not be true or they're in some sort of echo chamber to where everyone is pariting their ideas and the second that someone disagrees with it they can get some sort of adrenaline rush by defriending that person or just completely attacking them and they don't have to go face to face with these people."

Researchers from the University of Maryland  say this rudeness is contagious. 

Dan Epstein, a Texas Tech political science professor said it is easy to get out of hand.

"I think that in some ways as people have lost those linkages to those things that claim oh this is for everybody, it's not for some people and those other people are bad and as they replace those linkages with politics and especially parties, that I believe people have drawn away from the idea of a universal belonging identity," Epstein said.

And it is tearing at the very fabric of families and other relationships.

How do we develop a tolerance and respect for opposing views though? There is no simple answer.

"I feel like there is really a significant problem with the way people treat each other," Shooter said. "So sometimes you've got to agree to disagree, touch gloves and carve into the turkey and let family be what family is."

That sounds reasonable but these are unreasonable times. Epstein and Shooter said with the deep political divides egged on by the anonymity of social media platforms, there is likely no end in sight to this disagreeable discourse plaguing America.

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