ResPect foR opponents

      54 Comments on ResPect foR opponents

There are predictions that the first 2016 presidential debate, airing on September 26 live from Hofstra University, will be one of the most-watched TV programs in television history. It’s almost certainly not because Americans want the details of Hillary Clinton’s or Donald Trump’s fiscal, military or social policies. The true reason for the steroidal level of interest is our fascination with and desire to see potential fireworks between the two candidates. Will Trump resort to the nastiness he’s directed toward his opponents in past debates? Will Hillary try to take the high road or rather test Trump’s thin skin by insulting him? Will either say something that’ll significantly damage their campaign? And who will “win” the first debate?


Bill Maher lamented the lack of civility and respect

In public relations we know that respect for our colleagues and our audiences are essential to successful communication. On his HBO show Real Time, comedian/political observer Bill Maher lamented the lack of respect among those in the political world. “Trump and Hillary are the first two candidates in memory NOT to call and congratulate each other when they won their respective races,” Maher noted. He pointed out that until recently, members of Congress would address each other as “my friend.” They showed mutual respect for their colleagues and opponents despite their political differences.

“If you wanna know why our country is so tense and our government doesn’t work, it’s because society functions on some basic rules of conduct and they’re all going away,” Maher said. “The infectious disease that’s threatening our election isn’t pneumonia–it’s a total lack of class.”

Skillful public relations professionals understand that good communication is knowing what to say and how to say it. Courtesy and tradition have societal and practical impact. Here’s a personal example: When a student only refers to me as “Morosoff” when addressing me, it sounds disrespectful. The convention of speaking a title before a name (Professor, Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.) is a courtesy that’s, sadly, disappearing.

“Civility is nearly dead in this country and we need to return to some basic level of bipartisan decency and respect for our opponents,” Maher lectured. Your thoughts?

54 thoughts on “ResPect foR opponents

  1. A. Murphy

    There is a lot of societal norms and social protocol that have been pushed aside during this election. Candidates are saying and doing things that no other person would have dreamed of doing, especially not on television for millions to see and share repeatedly on the internet.

    Trump has said some awful and disrespectful things which has then prompted the general public to follow suit. For years, efforts have been made to be more respectful of others and not use language that is blatantly offensive and downright cruel. However, Trump has gone against all of that under the pretense that he is going against the status quo and speaking his mind. The result of those decisions is that the general public is doing the same.

    Overall, I would agree that we are becoming a more informal society and have become much more lax. I wouldn’t say it is a bad thing, but rather that society is evolving.

  2. ari okonofua

    I agree with Maher but feel as though both Hilary and Trump cannot “fake the funk.” They don’t consider each other “a friend” so why position it that way to the public? I actually like the fact that they aren’t lying in that aspect. This is still bothersome that there are people younger that are watching and they are the ones to lead by example. I have always addressed my colleagues and those older than me in a respectful manner so I understand from that POV.

  3. Diana Ziskin

    I have noticed in this election especially that most points aren’t about why they are a better fit to lead our nation, or what their plans are, but the largest argument from each candidate is why the other candidate is wrong. Each Presidential nominee is spending more time tear each other down, pointing fingers and name calling then they are building up themselves and their parties. Respect has been long gone in this election, and in the younger generations. Manners are not longer taught and very often not even expected. There is a lack of professionalism, and it is spreading like a virus.

  4. carocalderon88

    I was very surprised when I moved to US and started following the elections. I could not believe how open and direct the candidates were about insulting and discrediting each other.
    I have seen some interviews and it looks like a competition. The sad thing is that their arguments are not about why they are a good – or better – candidate, but mostly trying to point out why the other candidate is worse.
    In my opinion, they should focus more on telling the people about their strengths and how that will be useful in the case they win the election.
    In particular, Mr. Trump is a person that has absolutely no class and moderation when he speaks. As an international student, I was expecting to see that candidates running to be president of the United States – probably the most powerful country in the world – as prepared people. Instead I see a man who is always insulting not only his opponent, but the people he is planning to represent (if he wins the election). The US is a country of immigrants and Mr. Trump has discredited and minimized various sectors of society. All this makes me wonder, is that the kind of person Americans want to lead their country? Someone who spreads hate instead of peace can not be a leader of a first world.

  5. capriceoliver

    Civility is one of the many things this nation is lacking. I never thought I would live to see a Presidential election like this one, it’s embarrassing. I just keep wondering what are other countries thinking and saying about us. I am past ready for this clown show to end. I can say with my head held high that I have not been an active participant of this election. For what? This country needs prayer and a wake up call, this is pure insanity. I of course hope Hilary comes out on top but, at this point I feel like people have already made their decisions. All I can do is pray at this point!

  6. Kristen simon

    The rhetoric involved in the 2016 election has been vastly different from previous campaigns. Not only are we seeing a lack of respect from candidates to each other but now we’re seeing that kind of rhetoric all over the media, lack of respect for others. so much so that now the general public are now having a general lack of respect for others.

  7. Meghan Orsino

    I agree with Maher’s assessment of civility being almost dead in this country. We can see it in numerous instances in our lives: peers no longer respecting teachers, children no longer respecting their parents, and politicians no longer respecting each other. It’s not a matter of everyone agreeing, because of course everyone has their own opinions and beliefs. But instead of acknowledging and respecting others’ differences, we’ve fallen into a downward spiral of condemning others who are different or don’t see things the way we do. And ultimately I think that narrow mindset will ruin our country if we let it continue.

  8. Sshak

    Sadly, respect is something that seems to be going out the window in this election, and even in today’s society. It’s hard to watch, especially from a PR perspective, but also so hard to find a way to change. Hopefully both candidates can talk about some real issues we are facing, like recent attacks in Chelsea NY, and we can start to see real potential for our future.

  9. Jessica Hershman

    I agree with Maher’s comment that civility has been absent from this election, but I think that it is also beginning to disappear from society as a whole. There is no longer a notion of respecting your elders nor your peers. Maher’s comment brings up an important point – if the two presidential candidates cannot even act civil with each other, how will they behave on the world state when dealing with foreign leaders that they may not necessarily like?

  10. Monique Laynburd

    I think it’s almost embarrassing that the two people running to be out nation’s president, have so little respect for each other. If this is how they act now, how will they act around leaders of countries they may not necessarily like?
    Something we’re taught from a young age is good sportsmanship. Even in elementary school, we’re taught to shake hands after a gym class dodgeball game.
    I personally don’t understand how more people are not outraged by the childish behaviors from Hillary and Trump.

  11. Tova A Kline

    I agree 100%. Growing up in a southern household, one lesson that was always present was respecting the people around you, even if you weren’t particularly fond of their presence. What makes me angry about this election the most is that sadly, one of these two candidates are going to be the face of our country and they both lack the respect, class and decency to act civilized towards each other in the public eye. Not only will it negatively influence our future generations in their behavior, but also influence how the rest of the world perceives and treats us.

  12. Laura Logan

    It is such a shame that respect and civility in this election, and in many other scenarios as you mentioned in this post, are dead. People don’t know how to treat their peers, their subordinates, and sadly even their elders. As far as this election goes, it is truly unlike any other and I can’t help but feel that maybe it is our own fault. We are so much more interested in the antics of these two candidates that we lose sight of the real issues. Therefore the news will only show us what we want to see, for the sake of entertainment and ratings.

  13. Emily DiLaura

    Politics have always been a chance for people to push the envelope, but with this election season I think we have taken that to a new level. I could not agree more than the class and professionally that has always been a part of the United States, is slowly fading across the board, especially in politics. Often we hear Hillary and Trump refer to each other as “the other guy” or “my opponent” instead of addressing them by their name or without the negative connotation. Maher, although he presents the information in a non-classy format as a rather vulgar comedian, still is getting across the point that things need to change before they get worse. In his conversation he shows example of other area’s politics and the sight is not pretty. In Public Relations we are taught to always be ready, but always be professional. I think the same goes for politics, but in this year’s election, everything has become very personal. In an election that has the potential to greatly change the future, shouldn’t we pay attention to the character, the policy, and the plans, more than the personality and drama within the election? A change is necessary, but it could be too late moving forward.

  14. Regina Ferrara

    Maher brings up a very important issue that I noticed was going on during this election as well. This current election has had plenty of attention and is full of surprises. I feel like a majority of the attention goes to the way the two candidates are handing the election and how they interact with each other. Of course I would not think these two, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, would act like best friends, but I would hope they would have a mutual respect for each other at the very least. It seems like these two candidates have crossed the line, as in they have both lacked curtsey and respect for one another so now it is just getting worse and worse. I agree with Maher in everyway because I think this election is going to start a new trend, and the next election might be even more disrespectful and it will continue to snowball in that negative way. The election should not be known to have candidates who can lack common courtesy and get away with it. These two people should be showing the best qualities of a person, the best sportsmanship among people, and especially the upmost respect because one of them is going to be the leader of our country. Our President must be respectful to everyone, if he or she cannot behave like that during the election; it is scary to think one will be in charge one day. These people should be looked up to, be great role models, and the best people to represent our country.

    Regina Ferrara

  15. Ashley Pina

    This post is sad, but very true. The presidential candidates don’t have to agree, but they should have respect. Decency and humanity have been completely forgotten during this election. Even within each party, for example when Trump made crude comments about Rubio’s wife, that had nothing to do with the election. This kind of uncivilized behavior is not something I would want in a leader, and it’s scary to think how the rest of the world will see us after this election. Maher is right, no matter the victor, the next President of the United States will be unclassy.

  16. Michael Esposito

    I agree that respect for opposing parties is scarce in today’s society. It seems like as time goes on common courtesy and respect seems to be going away. I think it’s because of today’s means of communication and social media being so informal that it transfers into informal real world communication. I think that Hillary and Donald Trump’s behavior displays a lack of respect for themselves, each other, and the role they are both fighting for.

  17. Adam Engel

    Today in age we are so worried about how we present ourselves, especially when you are on a big stage like the presidential candidates. Come next Monday Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will face off in a presidential debate of Hofstra University. You will see Trump in make up and a bright tie. Hillary will be wearing a pale color suite. Trump and Hillary will be going back and forth on who is right and who’s wrong. Hillary will attack Trump on the comments he makes that are out of this world. Trump will go after Hillary and her emails. This is all about who is going to grab the most attention and get there point across the best since the whole world is watching.

  18. Michael James

    I definitely have to agree here. One factor I believe to be highly influential is the boom of social media. It gives people access to ideas and others opinions unlike never before. because of networks such as twitter and Facebook things that once were never questioned have been questioned on a large scale. In my opinion, this causes huge social influence. If we take for intense TV. As viewers we want the real thing. A 1960s war movie would have very limited gore, where as a modern war movie would give the viewer the closet thing to what someone stepping on a land mine. It’s that type of exposure that dulls the sharpness so to speak of something violent. Overtime it becomes normal. Same with opinion. People type behind the immunity of their Key board as they are exposed to a virtual world, and soon language and abbreviation becomes a habbit which carries over to real life opinion.

  19. nhakels

    Well I completely agree, that respect for your opponent is so important in all aspects. Yes I know both canditates are fighting to win, but why cant it be a healthy election where both parties humbly proceed towards their campaigns rather than mocking eachother, it doesnt only bring bad name to them as individual but to the country too.

  20. Josh Solomon

    I think it’s too late for these candidates to tread back on their animalistic styles at this point in time. Like the previous article I believe we need to get back to focusing on the content of their campaigns instead of their disgusting behavior towards each other.

  21. Jennifer Rauch

    I completely agree with Maher. This election has been nothing but civilized. Most of the time they spend bashing one another instead of spending time on talking about real issues. There is absolutely no respect, and I truly believe they are dividing the nation even more. I really hope this debate they act like adults and not like children.

  22. Victoria Conway

    I agree with Maher, when he says that manners and respect are slowly disappearing across society. The two presidential candidates have made it clear that they do not like one another. However, with any competition there should be some level of respect. One of these competitors will become our future president, therefore it is crucial for them to be able to present the simplest of manners when dealing with people, even if they are not fond of them. It is alright for them not to like one another, but being disrespectful is not acceptable. It is also worrisome to think about our children and their generation. I often wonder if manners will still be as important as they were for myself, my parents and grandparents. I do know that I highly value respect and manners. Therefore, I will ensure that my children know the importance of those values.

  23. danielle ferrara

    This election season is one that our country and world has never seen. The lack of respect each candidate possesses is truly despicable there seems to be no more manners or common courtesy anymore. Growing up my family always stressed being respectful and seeing what goes on in todays world truly shocks me. This is a presidential election not something to joke around with.

  24. Marielle McCartin

    I have noticed as well that in the recent political campaign there has been a lack of common respect between the candidates. I believe that no matter if the candidates are enemies or have completely different political views, they should show a common courtesy of respect towards one another in a professional manner. I have heard candidates speak very poorly of one another, undermining not only their political views, but their character as individuals. Manners and respect shown by both candidates toward one another would set a good example for our country. Whether or not we are democrat or republican, in the end we are all american citizens, who should stand together in mutual respect toward one another.

  25. Ashley Odom

    Etiquette, manners, and courtesy do seem to fade as the generations pass. It is a societal issue that is increasing at a crisis level. The election cycle has set a nasty stage to support Maher’s claim, and I personally, believe it to be true. There’s more to civility than title formalities and holding doors for others– there are things such as showing respect for another person’s opinions, speaking in a friendly manner, avoiding arguments, etc. When a person is devoid of these basic values of civility, their ability to project effective communication plummets.

    The lack of common civility, especially as seen today’s political world, creates a superficial and over negative image of the person. It’s depressing to watch the presidential election gradually turn into a reality TV show, based on gossip and face value, rather than substance and character.

  26. Brianna Holcomb

    Manners and courtesy seem to be two aspects that this presidential race has left at the door. The very idea that people solely tune in to watch a presidential election as though it is a reality television show is insane. Presidential races are meant to be held in order to help inform the voters of the candidates positions and their plans for office not come up with the next viral catch phrase or meme. However, from a public relations stand point this lack of courtesy helps to boost a pr person’s job without them having to lift a finger. Besides here on Hofstra’s campus, I have noticed that there is a lack of mention for the debates, besides in passing since it is coming up soon. Public Relations professionals are able to rely on this lack of tact because it helps them to do their jobs. For this reason I do not believe politics will return to its old ways.

  27. Jordyn Miller

    I definitely think with the development of electronics and social media manners have rapidly declined. When one is in primary school, he or she does not necessarily communicate to people of authority via email, text messages, or Facebook. However, once one reaches an age where every one of his or her peers begins to almost exclusively communicate electronically, one begins to lose a personal sense, and begins to see everyone as equal. This is not to say that professors, teachers, or presidents are necessarily better than anyone else, it is more to say that everyone has a superior in some sense–whether that be a boss at work, a professor in class, or a CEO of a very important company–and boundaries must still be recognized and respected.
    As more and more of our communication takes place behind a screen, we lose any sense of fear to say what we want to say, and along with that, we begin to lose our sense of respect for our superiors.

  28. Adam Palasciano

    I have to agree with Bill Maher that in today’s political world, courtesy, respect, and tradition are most certainly dead. It’s sad to see how these values continue to diminish in politics on a daily basis and at an alarming rate, either by members of Congress or the front running candidates themselves. The American public realizes the utter unprofessionalism both candidates have displayed to us and the debate next week will most likely be nothing more than a spectacle and a comedy show. It’s no wonder the whole world will be watching this debate: the Clinton v. Trump battle has become a worldwide interest because of the way both candidates have acted. Sadly, in my opinion, this election year will come down to choosing between the lesser of two evils when we all head to the polls this November.

  29. Jennifer OMalley

    This election cycle has set a terrible example and will hopefully not become a precedent for future presidential candidates. I imagine the debate is going to be cringeworthy. I do think the lack of respect between politicians, Trump and Clinton included, has contributed to the polarization between the right and the left. Instead of basing decisions on actual reason, politicians are often defensive, stubborn and simply want to see the other side lose. Without some level of respect, politics have becomes personal and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Trump and Clinton bickering more than debating the issues next week.

  30. berniedennler

    Civility in politics may be dead, but Bill Maher sure is an unusual messenger for its obituary. For years, Maher has made a career talking down to conservatives—and religious conservatives in particular—from his intellectual perch. He has insulted them and their so-called “space god” at every turn for the last two decades. As a self-professed bleeding heart liberal myself, I find myself on the same side of issues politically as Bill Maher fairly frequently. However, I have always worried that his attitude hurts the progressive cause far more than it helps. Maher may be entertaining, but his crude commentary probably alienates the very people progressives need to be reaching out to if we ever hope to bring about the societal change we desire. You won’t win converts by calling people stupid.

    I would welcome a return to civility in politics. It wasn’t so long ago that John McCain would denounce his own supporters for suggesting Obama was somehow not a real American. Today, McCain won’t even fully denounce a presidential candidate who—until last week—insisted Obama was born in Kenya. However, I can’t help but find Bill Maher an ironic messenger given his own track record. Perhaps Maher has finally seen the error of his ways. Perhaps he realizes now that we must calmly and rationally present facts, not fling insults at our opponents. Perhaps next time Maher feels the urge to call a conservative woman the c-word, he will remember his own plea for civility and refrain.

    I’m not going to hold my breath.

  31. therianreport

    Within this context, I will concede that manners and respect are essential to effective communication. Insulting language used by Trump in the initial days of the campaign resulted in poor favorability for the candidate with a great deal of Americans. Clinton’s respectability and manners framed her as a steady and capable person who would be able to represent the U.S. in the international arena. We also saw recently that Mrs. Clinton’s attempts to step out of that framework caused tremendous media backlash when she referred to Trump supporters as “Deplorable’s.”

    However, I have witnessed the opposite responses to the same behaviors. While Trump was not favorable with many Americans, the supporters he did garner greatly appreciated his lack of diplomacy and political correctness because in their experience, that correctness has only been a facade. The same can be said for Clinton. Many young supporters were not put off by her comments and in fact appreciated her for “calling out” Trump supporters. I believe we Millennials refer to it as “being fake” and unfortunately manners and respectability are now associated with that label. If Clinton and Trump played nice with each other or demonstrated social grace in respect to one another, we would know they were faking it.

    Despite understanding this, I am a southerner and I will continue to say my “yes ma’am’s” and “no sirs” because of how I was raised and also because I know having manners can place you in a very positive light, whether it’s fake or not.

  32. Stephanie Adomavicius

    I completely agree that common courtesy, respect and manners are slowly disappearing from society. People are so immersed in their own lives, having the “what’s in it for me?” attitude, that displaying kindness, sharing a smile or holding the door for one another seem to be too much effort.

    For example, I’ve witnessed and experienced plenty of encounters where giving someone undivided attention and actually making eye contact during a conversation prove to be a chore. I’ve also had many instances where, if in fact you do hold the door for someone, they don’t even knowledge the kind gesture or say thank you.

    Smart phones have allowed us to hide behind a screen rather than engage in person, and personally, I find it scary to think how future generations will be. If everyday citizens can’t show respect toward one another, why should people in the limelight, such as Clinton and Trump, be any different? In order to create change, society must first recognize this as a problem.

  33. Tai Davis

    I did not know that Congress members referred to each other as “my friend”. It is sad to hear that their courtesy and respect for each other are diminishing. In a way though, maybe such changes could be useful. It is not possible for all of the members referred to as “my friend” to have respected or even liked each other. People view politicians and politics itself as deceiving and fraudulent. Therefore getting politicians to say what they really mean may help this country prosper. Donald Trump, even though many of the things he says are racist and improbable, speaks how he feels. Trump was voted as the Republic Party Candidate because his views and actions are similar to many of that party. The public wants more honesty and less politics and I believe has shown it through supporting a man that is willing to start or finish a Twitter war with anyone who speaks against him. I believe if more politicians would have spoken about how they truly felt about issues and not tried to be so politically correct just to gain votes, we would not be in this situation right now.

  34. Cam Keough

    The problem in the country or the world is not necessarily manners, but instead it is laziness or informality. The up and coming current generation as a group is a far less formal group than any generation before. With the mainstreaming of technology slang and shorter messaging has become the norm and has carried it’s way onto the majority of society. Formality and proper manners are understood by the majority of students and young adults but, it is seen as an unnecessary addition to what they are saying and just as if it was a text, they shorten what is said. In the case of Trump and Clinton, that is a simple matter of class, or a lack there of. Trump is a boisterous persona that emits this stuffy and artificial feeling to a lot of people who look and listen to him, nothing about him shows class or honor. Clinton on the other hand seems to attempt to understand the public and be human like everyone else. Her career has stretched decades without a day off, she is a tried and true politician. Shame falls on both of them for showing no class or respect for their opponents, Trump is (for a lack of better words) an idiot who is rather clueless, but Hillary should know better. The upcoming debate will be a storm of logic vs. whatever comes to the tip of the tongue and ultimately who can make the other look stupid, which is discussing especially after the Obama vs. Romney debates which were presidential and extremely informative.

  35. Anthony Pugliese

    As I said in my last blog post, “2016 is a scary time,” I still stand by my opinion. I strongly believe that people are losing their common courtesy. This statement goes to the length of holding a door open for people to the convention of speaking a title before a name (Professor, Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.). Comedian/political observer Bill Maher highlighted this topic for a significant reason, it is true. Maher’s HBO show seemed to be more compelling than a 2016 presidential campaign rally. I feel this way, because this presidential race has seemed to be more like a verbal battle in a middle school cafeteria than a race for presidency. Maher had brought this topic to conversation, nevertheless majority of America was thinking the same thing. The image of the next President of the United States being a “bully” sets a poor example for our country. If candidates for President of the United States cannot be civil, who will be? Unfortunately, these unruly acts of communication are what is being highlighted in the media from CNN to MTV. The tradition of respect and kindness is being diminished and that is why 2016 is a scary time.

  36. Jack De Gilio

    It’s sad is that in this day and age, it seems as though it’s just the norm to be awful toward other people. It’s practically reinforced between Trump and Hillary as well. Trump gets away with saying rude, terrible things and while he may get a bit of scrutiny from it, it doesn’t really affect his campaign. Obviously, it’s not just Trump, Hillary has had moments where she’s stooped down to Trump’s level as well and it’s just depressing. It seems like so many people have just become entitled and patronizing toward others and the presidential race has definitely highlighted that. While I would like to hope that this will change in the near future, I’m starting to believe that is not going to be happening anytime soon.

  37. Daniella Opabajo

    I completely agree that society has lost its sense of manners and respect. That is why I think that this upcoming debate is more of a skeptical than an examination of each candidate’s ideas. I believe that most people will tune in to watch the witty one-liners , the candidate’s body language and the exchange of clever insults. I am not sure why this particular presidential election seems to be missing a sense of professionalism, however, I do believe that it has everyone more intrigued.

    Maher points out something that I have noticed not only in politics but in my everyday life. I used to work in retail and the blatant disrespect from the customers was hard to deal with. A simple “thank you” or “please” was very rare to come by and unfortunately, I had to deal with it. I often think to myself, who am I to demand respect from a stranger but my parents always taught me that showing respect, especially when it is unexpected can go a long way.

  38. Maria Zaldivar

    Today’s society is amused by reality shows and entertained by the hostility that this election cycle has revolved around. I believe that proper manners and respect should be a given as any serious political figure, or just as a human being. I do not agree with several things that both candidates think, but basic logic should prove them wrong, there is no need to disrespect each other. This election has definitely showed a completely different side of politics. A side that is present in every competition, but one that is usually hidden behind fake smiles and meaningless “congratulations”.

  39. Jessica Mohen

    This election may be the death of politics, as we know it. It does not cease to shock the masses that Donald Trump made it this far as a republican candidate. His politically incorrect comments and manners make it hard for Hillary Clinton, other political figures and members of the press to treat him with respect. If I were the opposing candidate, I am not sure that I would contact Trump with a congratulatory message either. Once the routine is disrupted, there is no way to tell what the future will hold until a new norm is stabilized. Since the differences between red and blue are now likened to night and day, with both sides so ardent and opposing, this election season may be the revolution of the third party.

  40. Justin McCue

    I agree with Maher’s argument. I feel his argument not only applies to this year’s election, but also to our society as a whole. More and more I witness many acts of blatant disrespect to others in this modern age, with politeness and common courtesy being thrown out the window (Although there are still a good amount of people with respect for others). It makes me even grateful that I was raised the way I was, with respect and courtesy being a strict core value among my family. For many people, this value is becoming absent. The way this election is running leads me to believe that these candidates are losing any values they had of respect and dignity for one another, and it only gets worse as the media and the general audience of the politicians feed into it and add fuel to the fire, citing it as “a source of entertainment”. If these politicians cannot show respect to one another and be civil, how will they be in office dealing with a variety of people and diplomats from many different nations?

  41. Justin Chupungco

    Maher’s argument that civility and respect are dying with the times is a very good argument that I agree with. No matter who you are addressing or interacting with, you should have some respect and civility towards everyone. Until someone has done the absolute worse, and no longer deserves respect from people, civility and professionalism should be retained and held a priority. This especially applies if that person is someone like an elder, boss, professor, etc. It’s a shame to see the lack of respect that goes on in the world today in every aspect, but especially the election between Clinton and Trump. These candidates hold no respect for one another and bash one another for almost anything. This lack of respect not only is rude, but also creates a bad sense of character, and bad image no one, especially a presidential candidate should want to have, especially with appearance being one of the most essential aspects people look for in a candidate.

  42. Connor Giblin

    I’ve noticed that people on social media frequently comment that it doesn’t feel like a presidential race, and I think what Maher is talking about is the basis of these sentiments. It’s clear that the two candidates don’t like each other, but they should still understand their position. I recall a video online with John McCain speaking at a rally where we refused to make personal statements against Barack Obama; he actually praised him and called him a decent man. Here’s the video:

    I can’t imagine either candidate saying anything nice about their opponent. And that concerns me for the future of our country. If our leader, who is supposed to be a role model, lacks that civility and respect for others, how will the younger generation view that? Already I see children who don’t value the same qualities of respect my parents instilled to me. I’m hoping we will have some sense of civility at the first debate.

  43. Anna Baxter

    Respect, in any situation, is necessary. Maher makes a valid argument. Oftentimes people disregard civility, which leads to a poor representation of our country, especially if the people who are disregarding it are potential leaders. Although many previous elections have been known to bring out the worst in people, this election in particular is notorious for revealing the bad characteristics of both candidates. Reintroducing respect and courtesy into our daily lives could bring beneficial change to our nation.

  44. elliotrubin

    Maher brings up an interesting point about how the level of respect among both parties has all but deteriorated in recent years. This lack of civility, however, did not begin with Trump and Hillary, and it unfortunately will most likely continue long after this election has subsided. While attack ads have always been a staple of the political process, it seems that in recent years these ads have had less of a focus on why their opponent would be ineffective, and more so about highlighting a negative aspect of their character. While when a candidate runs for public office every aspect of their lives is considered “fair game”, I believe that if the ad does not directly relate to: the candidate’s policies, some legitimate reason why the candidate would be a threat to lead the country (based off of concrete facts), or the candidate disparaging a minority group or another group of the country, then it should not be played. Also, if a voter is really interested in finding more information about a candidate’s personal life, they could always do that research on their own. Similar to how in the ’60s the press didn’t cover JFK multiple affairs because of the respect the press gave to to the Commander-in-Chief, and those affairs, as bad they were, did not directly affect his ability to lead the country. Modern politicians should make the same assessment when deciding whether or not to reveal about exposing information about their opponent. If the information in question does not directly affect the candidate’s ability to lead, or it is not about the candidate disparaging a group of their would-be constituents, it should be left alone. If a candidate included such information in an attack ad, then won the election, to me it is same thing as them cheating to get to the Oval Office (or whatever office they are running for). Candidates should be able to debate and run clean, ethical elections against one another. Though any candidate could theoretically get around these restrictions by claiming that they didn’t them, or that they had proof, but they just couldn’t disclose the source, hopefully having these restrictions in place would make for a more civil political process, in which the candidate with the better policies and platform, not attacks and accusations, could win. I believe that the vitriol from both sides has gotten so intense, that the only way for any hope of compromise on future legislation is to try and return to the days of respecting the politicians across the aisle.

  45. Chrissy Carvalho

    My opinion on the matter of formality is a bit complicated. I do think it is extremely important for us to be polite to each other. If mutual respect is not present in a relationship, that relationship will be doomed for failure. However, the trend toward a less formal, and therefore less traditional work-space is not entirely a negative change. At an internship I had at a subsidiary of Sony Music, everyone wore jeans and t-shirts and referred to each other by their first names. The first day I was there I wore standard business attire and called everyone by their last names with Mr. or Mrs. attached but I quickly adapted to their norm and there was no loss of respect between me and my coworkers.

    In terms of the political sphere, I think a lot of the loss of formality has to do with how this is a very unusual election cycle. Donald Trump has acted flagrantly unlike any candidate in recent history with his constant outlandish and rude remarks. For example, he usually refers to his opponent as “Crooked Hillary” on his Twitter. This is a very far step down from the last election, in which President Obama and Mitt Romney were very civil toward each other.

    However, the hostility between the Democratic and Republic parties has been increasing at a depressing rate. David Axelrod, during his program for the Hofstra 2016 Debate, said it well, “We have to stop turning our political opponents into enemies”. I think this has to do with the divide between the parties increasing due to difference in political opinions. This is backed up by the Pew Research Center, who found in 2012 that the partisan gap in opinions on more than 40 separate political values had nearly doubled over the previous quarter century.

    I unfortunately do not have a remedy for this situation, but I disagree with Maher. I do not think that being more polite greatly change anything.

  46. Brianna Beaumont

    I agree that respect has been lost in the country. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have no respect for each other. In past elections ,as you mentioned, the candidates had some respect for each other. I do not understand what happened that made the candidates think they do not have to respect people. Trump has said so many disrespectful things about people who are of a different religion, race, or ethnicity.

    I respect people until I think they do not deserve my respect, but I always respect my elders ,professors, and my boss. Maher was right, civility is almost dead in this country and you can tell by the candidates for this election. How do we expect whoever wins this election to be able to work with other nations , when the candidates themselves can not respect someone who is in the same race they are in, especially when they both have at least somewhat of the same goal, which is to make this country better.

  47. Owen Lewis

    Too often, I find many people lack manners. It’s always a pleasant surprise when someone holds a door open, or says “thank you”. Perhaps the lack of widespread civility makes one more appreciative of those who do demonstrate some degree of awareness and respect for another.

    Regarding this election, Donald Trump is vile and unworthy of respect. I don’t fault Hillary Clinton for not calling to congratulate him on winning his party’s nomination. However, I don’t respect any politician, with the exception of Mrs. Clinton in this case, who lacks respect for their colleagues or constituents. I believe the incoming generation of politicians has enormous potential to correct our demoralizing political atmosphere.

  48. katiespoleti

    Growing up, my mom would always tell me that the greatest gift you can give someone is respect. Maintaining a level of civility between peers, elders, mentors and colleagues is important because it ensures a common ground of trust where everyone is allowed interact and share their opinions. When respect is earned, to me that relates to individuals who have worked hard for their titles and deserve to be treated in a way that reflects their skills and drive. Therefore, if people aren’t acknowledging these prestigious roles like called a professor, “Professor,” then that strips them of their rightfully deserved authority.

    I also feel with the younger generation its hard for respect to be given out because of negative influences from celebrities and the media. Today we have songs telling us how to treat women, we have a vast online community where anything can be said to anyone regardless if its negative and what’s most upsetting is we even see our party representatives talking bad about one another at a national level.

    Ultimately, I do think that a lot of people are losing sight of what really matters in this world and thats the generosity and kindness that we should be putting out there.

  49. syanok

    I think this post made a very good point about the lack of common courtesy and respectful rhetoric between these candidates. Something as simple as showing respect (or not showing it) speaks volumes about a persons character. I also agree with the use of titles before an individuals name. I have always used Mr, Ms, Professor, etc. and people often comment on how old fashioned I am for it, but it’s how I was raised and show respect.

  50. Vanessa Major

    This presidential campaign has surprised and shocked many people, the time of civility has passed. I’m not sure where the respect has gone and I’m also concerned about what this type of behavior shows for our youths as well as outsiders.

  51. Khaleik Akerson

    The essence of being formal is slowly slipping away right in front of our eyes and too be honest, I blame it on the “Curse of the millennials”. Big businesses and corporations make it their top agenda to cater to millennials with the hopes that millennials would cater to their corporate needs as well. Unfortunately, due to the overdoing of catering to ones needs, corporations are beginning to fold in order to fit in. Being casual is on the upraise. In the case of the 2016 Presidential election, both candidates are trying to take over the power chair that was held by; in my opinion one of the coolest Presidents to step into the oval office. President Obama catered to the millennials during both of his terms in a non “Can I sit at the cool table please” type of way. He was embraced for being himself and nonetheless showing respect. Now we have Trump, a person who shows no respect towards anyone and encourages the nation to “Make America Great Again” by insulting one another. I could see why Clinton would not congratulate Trump on his win because throughout a numerous of events that lead to the victory; neither candidates have shown good sportsmanship. By attacking one another has helped both candidates campaign, so why would they stop acting like a bunch of teenagers.

  52. Arianna du Manoir

    Having been raised in a French and Colombian household, there has never been an excuse for me to not be polite and civilized, as these are two cultures that greatly emphasize the importance of manners. There are traditions and societal rules that are to be upheld and one should not take them lightly. Whether it is towards elders, professors, others in higher authority, or even a fellow classmate, being respectful should just come naturally to any individual. Not doing so gives the impression that you think less of the person you are speaking to, which in itself is very insulting.

    Its been disappointing to watch how little respect and civility there has been in this journey to the election, especially between the two candidates. The lack of manners gravitates towards some of their followers who then feel that they should attack the others just the same, creating a very toxic environment.

  53. Amina

    I completely agree, as well. I actually see a lack of respect towards authorities and peers in the public school system. As a teacher assistant, I have had students refer to me as ‘bro’. I think that in today’s world, this sense of entitlement and lack of respect is considered acceptable not only in politics but in many areas of life. It is in our best interest that we treat each other with respect and act professional in all scenarios.

  54. Zhen Zhong

    Manners and respect go hand in hand. I completely agree with Maher, we need to remain civilized and not regress to our animalistic sides. Perhaps what I hate most about this election is the lack of respect, manners, and civility.


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