Pardon our French, but fuck Snyder's call for civility

Can't get him out soon enough, tbh. - Metro Times file photo
Metro Times file photo
Can't get him out soon enough, tbh.

In recent weeks, there have been calls for more civility in public discourse — particularly from those on the right — after officials from President Donald Trump's administration have been publicly shamed or shunned. All of this is, of course, deeply misguided — Trump is obviously a racist and misogynist buffoon with absolutely no filter. This is precisely why he got elected. It's good for ratings.

But yes — civility. "I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so," tweeted press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders — whose job it is to put a sunny face on Trump's industrial-scale sadism — after the staff of a Virginia restaurant (politely) asked her to leave. "Let the Trump team eat in peace," implored an editorial in The Washington Post. Even the Free Press weighed in, with Mitch Albom writing quite possibly his worst column in recent memory — and that's really saying something — by comparing discriminating against bigots to discriminating against people based on the color of their skin.

But even more misguided is the belief that somehow civility is the way we fight back. On Thursday, Michigan's own Gov. Rick Snyder published an "open letter regarding civility in public discourse" in The Detroit News. The letter is co-signed by more than 220 political and business leaders who "do hereby commit to standing up for civility in public debate and discussions of policy" and calls on more to do the same:

The United States is a great nation because we can find ways to work together, create solutions and solve problems. Our great country is increasingly at risk of losing its way as we see debate and discussion turn into personal attacks and vicious threats. Discouraging people from public engagement while leaving issues unaddressed is not the America we know it to truly be.

Now, in many ways, Snyder is the polar opposite of Trump. Trump is raw, emotional id; a Twitter-addicted reality TV star who is always yelling, always fucking yelling. Snyder is all superego; a phlegmatic bean-counter who has, in recent years, been entirely invisible save for the occasional press op to deliver a statement in his cold, Kermit the Frog-like modulation.

Sure, Snyder's polite. That doesn't make him any less atrocious. When the people of Michigan rejected his emergency manager law at the ballot in 2012, he promptly rammed through a new version that couldn't be rejected by voters. That's not civility; that's quietly telling the people of Michigan "fuck you."

Of course, it was the emergency manager law that enabled the state takeover of Flint, which led to the disastrous decision to switch the city's water source, which led to poisoning the city's population with lead — which Snyder's administration lied about and downplayed until they couldn't lie about it anymore. Snyder may even have lied about it under oath.

So fuck civility. What we want is justice.

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About The Author

Lee DeVito

Leyland “Lee” DeVito is the editor in chief of Detroit Metro Times since 2016. His writing has also been published in Hour Detroit, VICE, In These Times, and New City. He once asked porn star Stormy Daniels to spank him with an issue of Metro Times. She obliged...
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