At the suggestion of Terry Rindfleisch (I didn’t see you in the audience, Terry) I went to a lecture at UW-L given by David Gergen, a political analyst for CNN. His talk was titled “A Return to Civility.”

I didn’t agree with everything he said, but I did agree with him that no matter who is president for the next four years, it’s going to be tough getting things back on course. What we need most, he said, was a return to civility and a willingness to get along. The candidate best suited to that purpose, he said, was Joe Biden.

And I find myself agreeing. I haven’t been happy with the way Biden has bumbled and stumbled through this campaign. But I also haven’t liked how the Democrats have turned on each other like a pack of wild dogs. That’s what the Republicans did last go-round and that gave us Trump. We should have learned from that.

But Gergen said something else interesting. His theory is that liberals (read Democrats) are interested and are willing to work for candidates. But conservatives (read Republicans) go to war for their beliefs and will fight to the death.

That’s not a pretty picture he paints, but it gave me a lot to think about as I left the UW-L student union along with a crowd of students and some oldsters in my age group.

The first thing I noticed as we took the stairs down is people in my age group gripped the stair railing. Students, on the other hand, touched no railings and, indeed, one guy sauntered down with his hands in his pockets. Had I done that, I would be in an ambulance on the way to the hospital instead of sitting in front of my keyboard.

Maybe that’s why I want an old, moderate guy to be our next president. I don’t want decisions made willy-nilly without good thought. I don’t want a president who trips over his lies because he won’t hold onto the handrails of facts.

But mostly, just like David Gergen, I want civility. And I want a president who won’t lie about a pandemic because he’s afraid of what the stock market is doing.

So good luck, Joe. You’re going to need it as much as I need handrails descending the stairs.


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