Creep of the Week: Civility

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Men shaking hands
Men shaking hands

Civility is long gone

Once upon a time, there was a president so unpopular with and loathed by the American people that on the same day, he announced the killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi he was booed when he showed up at the World Series.

That was, of course, Donald Trump.

Keep in mind that Trump doesn’t make impromptu appearances. He prefers rallies filled with supporters and carefully scripted interactions. He surrounds himself with yes men and yes women.

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So when his name was announced at the World Series game, he was all smiles at first, waving at the crowd. But it quickly dawned on him that people weren’t cheering, they were booing. And the look on his face changed to a pout, his shoulders slumped. Some videos of the occasion, you can hear crowd members yelling, “Lock him up!”
It’s a beautiful thing. Watch the video. It’ll give you joy. Or it’ll make you clutch your pearls and launch into a lecture about civility.

Take Morning Joe’s Joe Scarborough, for example 

“We are Americans, and we do not do that,” Scarborough said. “We do not want the world hearing us chant ‘lock him up’ to this President or to any president.”
And then there was Nate Silver, who whined on Twitter that liberals were mean and couldn’t let Trump have one good thing. How dare they boo him on a day when the military killed a bad guy?

Some Democrats were upset, too

“I have a hard time with the idea of a crowd on a globally televised sporting event chanting ‘lock him up’ about our President,” Delaware Sen. Chris Coons said on CNN. “I frankly think the office of the President deserves respect, even when the actions of our President at times don’t.”

There are plenty more examples of people aghast that the American people would be so uncivil.

And you know what I have to say about that? Fuck civility. What we have is a lawless leader who has been accused of so many crimes it’s hard to keep track. It is never far from my mind that he is an accused rapist and sexual assaulter. Booing him is the least people can do.

Booing him at a baseball game isn’t disrespecting the office of the President. It’s expressing loudly, and in the only way, Trump can understand. We do not approve of what Trump is doing. This man doesn’t represent us. It’s expressing that the office of the President should be occupied by a person who deserves and is qualified to be there.

It’s not sending the wrong signal to the rest of the world. Someone on Twitter complained that as a result of the booing, “our enemies are laughing at us.” As if our enemies did not know that millions of Americans voted for this unfit reality TV star garbage monster—and our Electoral College rules made him the President. If anything, booing him at a public appearance is sending exactly the right message to the rest of the world: “We hate this guy and wish he wasn’t president!”

As for chanting “lock him up,” it’s not a bloodthirsty chant for revenge, it’s turning the language of his supporters against him as a way to say, “Hey, nobody in the U.S. is supposed to be above the law!” Also, it’s important to note that the people at the baseball game were chanting this about a sitting president who is accused of actual crimes. He is facing impeachment. When Trump encouraged his supporters to chant the same thing, it was directed at his political opponent. There’s a goddamn difference.

As for not letting Trump bask in a glow of adoration for the ISIS operation, baseball fans didn’t take that from him. Trump took that away from himself. You can’t take kids away and lock them in cages, lie more often than you tell the truth, praise murderous dictators, fuel and refuse to condemn white supremacist violence, continually threaten to take away access to health care from millions of Americans, declare mainstream media the “enemy of the people”—not to mention his administrations countless attacks on LGBTQ people, immigrants, asylum seekers, women, students and the poor—and expect people to forget all of that (and more!) when you do something that might be praiseworthy.

There are those who bemoan the crassness of political discourse. They note that the bar for what is appropriate has been lowered a great deal in the last few years. And Trump has been rightly blamed for lowering that bar. Some say we shouldn’t boo Trump because that is stooping to his level. But I’d like to remind those people that this small-minded and cruel man, this man who sees himself as a king and has no respect for American institutions and laws, is the President. We created and cannot control this monster. The only power we have is our vote and our dissent, whether that’s booing, or putting a “Tuck Frump” sticker on our car, or wearing an “Impeach the Motherfucker” T-shirt, and we’re going to use it.

D'Anne Witkowski
D’Anne Witkowski

D’Anne Witkowski is a poet, writer, and comedian living in Michigan with her wife and son. She has been writing about LGBT politics for over a decade. Follow her on Twitter @MamaDWitkowski.