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Civility in Civil Service

This week we saw the contrast between two civil servants of similar political perspective who are worlds apart when it comes to civility.

At the Livingston County Republican Dinner in Howell Michigan, Ted Cruz Senator from Texas and Presidential hopeful made a joke that he has made many times before.

He mocks Vice President Biden to get some cheap laughs, but given that the Vice President had just lost his beloved son Beau to cancer just days before the joke didn't go over so well. When questioned by a reporter afterwards he just walked away. While he did apologize later on Facebook (seemingly after his political team pointed out the problem) the fact that he thought it was a good idea in the first place is disturbing.
 
But let's go back a few weeks to one of the many speeches he gave before the latest Biden family tragedy. Was the joke a good one then? Does it make a substantive point? I understand the value of being entertaining in a political speech, but do we really need to do so at the expense of mocking others with seemingly no purpose? 
 
Let's contrast that with the video of another rookie Senator:

 

In this video Senator Cotton responds to a father with strong views about the War on Terror, with compassion. Senator Cotton doesn't back down from his views, but he also recognizes the grief behind the position of this hero father who has sacrificed so much for our country.
 
Senator Cruz's comments betray a contempt that he holds for a dedicated public servant who has sacrificed for this country, just because they have a different view of what is best for America. Senator Cotton respects that sacrifice with compassion, but maintains his disagreement in a compassionate way. 
 
It is impossible to be effective as a national leader when you lack compassion for those who disagree with you. It is essential to look for the best intentions of those on the other side since that understanding will help one be a more effective advocate for the right position.  
 
When we choose our leaders we need to look for people who are civil, it should be the first thing we look for even before we consider whether we agree with them. Our country based in the principles of discourse and democratic dialogue deserves leaders with compassion and understanding. We should do all we can to reject those who find honor in the mocking of others.