I've thought a lot about the matter of civility in politics. Personally, I don't like political confrontation, rudeness and insolence, although I confess I'm not always as civil as I should be. The often-nasty nature of politics is one reason I've never even been even slightly tempted to run for office myself. (That, and the fact that I'd make a really terrible politician.)

So it's refreshing to see gubernatorial opponents Spencer Cox and Chris Peterson jointly call for courtesy and respect in politics and even spend money on some excellent advertising promoting niceness.

A cynic might say it's something of a political stunt. It is actually a very effective way to close out the campaign, especially for Cox. It contrasts sharply with what's happening in the 4th Congressional District and in the presidential campaign, so it's getting enormous attention, including on social media.

I've heard some people grumble that it's essentially a surrender for Peterson, because he can't possibly defeat Cox without some strong criticism. Making nice with Cox isn't the way to beat him.

But let's put aside the cynicism and just accept, on face value, that these are two good guys who differ politically, but want to show that two candidates can disagree without being disagreeable.

I think it's refreshing and I applaud them for their congeniality and creativity and for setting a good example.

So it raises the question: Can politics actually be like this? Is this realistic? And not just in election campaigns, but also in dealing with difficult issues and controversial legislation?

Certainly, if both sides agree to be nice, our politics can be a lot more pleasant. But if your cherished principles or positions are attacked, are you going to be nice and get run over, or are you going to punch back and fight hard?

I believe Ben McAdams and Burgess Owens are both nice people. But it's either run attack ads, or lose. The other side is punching, so you have to punch harder.

On issues like abortion, climate change, gun rights, police brutality, court packing, the death penalty, or a Supreme Court appointment, do you play nice, get along, and compromise (assuming the other side is willing, which isn't usually the case)? Or do you fight with all your might, whichever side you're on?

Politics has always been a contact sport, and always will be. I absolutely agree that it's gotten out of hand, especially on the national level. Trump is way over the top, as are some Democrats and some in the news media. They can't climb out of the gutter and they don't even try.

We've shown we can do it better in Utah. But politics isn't for the faint of heart. It's not always sweetness and light. We should absolutely strive for civility. But some principles and issues are worth fighting for.

Good Read. In a "First Things" essay titled, "Of Course We're Not a Democracy," Sen. Mike Lee lays out why the United States is not a pure democracy. He's right, of course, that America is a constitutional republic, which is far different than a pure democracy. And he points out that even his harshest critics don't really believe in, or want, a pure democracy.  Read the essay HERE.

Reader Response. From Stuart Reid:  I have long respected your political opinions and wisdom. Nevertheless, when Trump's governing and campaign strategy is "let Trump be Trump," no one, especially you, should be surprised at this point after four years that his self-indulging strategy has long proven to be self-destructive.

Moreover, Trump is completely clueless trying to replicate his political playbook of 2016 attacking emails. The electorate you identified as necessary for Trump's reelection are just not buying what the guy is selling this time about emails. That failed strategy falls into the category: "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me."

The only lingering question is whether Trump will just be Trump during the last debate between him and Biden. If so, the fat lady will be singing over his political grave-the election will be over on Thursday.

Parting Shot. It's not healthy to be obsessed with politics. Political obsession can raise your blood pressure, give you ulcers, make you depressed and make people want to avoid you. In extreme cases, it can ruin marriages and result in getting fired from a job. To avoid political fixation, get out in nature, interact with people who don't follow politics, build something with your hands, read an entertaining novel, play with pets, and provide some service to others. If you get away from politics for a while, you won't miss a thing. When you come back, very little will have changed.

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