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David H. Stevens has advice to the nation’s political leaders: Play nice.
In a column published on LinkedIn titled “Winning by Insulting—The New Normal?,” the president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) expressed an emetic-level frustration over what he considered to be a breakdown in civility during this year’s election campaign.
“This has been flowing on the airwaves from leaders across the political spectrum,” Stevens wrote. “Anger against virtually everything wins the day. What is most unique to this season’s politics is the more polarizing and personal form of the discourse. Name calling, personal insults, mocking appearance, and more have led the day’s lead news stories in ways I can never remember before.”
Stevens acknowledged that animosity in politics is not unique to the hashtag era, showing off both his academic acumen and hipster cred to prove a point.
“Personal attacks are not unique in our country’s political history,” he continued. “All one has to do is see the play ‘Hamilton’ to be reminded as to how personal and aggressive the political discourse was when this nation was formed. As we all know, one famous political feud ended in a duel to the death.”
While Stevens did not blame any particular politician or party for this situation, he placed a great deal of blame at the entity that many elected officials love to hate.
“I think what makes today’s environment more distasteful is the 24/7 live media coverage of this campaign and the heightened attention on the personalities, with the spotlight on whoever makes the most outrageous statement,” he stated. “All of us have to constantly endure the coverage of hands, to hair, bathroom breaks, orange tones, gestures that mimic, and more, on a daily, or even hourly, basis. I'm not sure the answer, but I find myself more and more appreciating the time from my youth when networks would simply dedicate a fixed amount of time to covering the candidates and we did not have to watch the ‘reality TV’ approach to electing our officials.”