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Posted: November 18, 2011 12:00 a.m.

Have we lost our civility in politics?

We Americans have always been noted for our ability to have opposing political groups playing hardball politics while remaining civil and non-violent. When the campaigning, debating and voting was over, we returned to running the government and moving forward. The night time threats of physical violence to an opponent and his family was reserved for the banana republics and dictatorships. Sadly, some citizens of Newton County have recently displayed banana republic political behavior.

Over the last two weeks, prior to the County Board of Commissioners vote on creating the position of county manager, some people opposing the new position made threats of physical violence and personal retribution to the three Commissioners proposing the change. An attempt was made to have one of these commissioners fired from his job. The other two commissioners received phone calls warning them to retreat from their position or face violence or other types of retribution for their position.

I attended the Board of Commissioners meeting last night during which the county manager position was reviewed and voted upon. This is not a meeting open to public discussion and citizen comments are reserved to the end of the meeting. The group opposing the county manager position catcalled and booed comments supporting the position and whistled and clapped on comments opposing the position. When the time came for citizen comments, there were comments made comparing Tim Fleming to Moammar Khadafy and personal criticisms to all the three commissioners that voted for the county manager. 

This is totally unacceptable behavior lacking any civility or perceived intelligence. We Americans and people of Newton County are better than this and must not tolerate this type of behavior. When an opposing party stoops to base and brutish behavior it is a good indication that they have no logical or intelligent support of their position. These commissioners are public servants who sacrifice their personal time and energy to serve the community. They should be treated with the respect and gratitude they deserve.

 

William Perugino is active in local and regional politics and can be reached at william.perugino@jacobs.com.

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