New Book Offers Call To Conscience In Politics
MICHEAL PECK, Special to the Courier
Sunday, November 14, 2010 8:19 am
What would George Washington think if he saw how ugly politics could get today?
He probably wouldn't be very happy according to author and Murfreesboro Post contributor Christian Grantham's new book, George Washington's Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.
The book goes into detail on the 110 rules of respect and consideration that the first president followed when he was a teenager.
Grantham said he was inspired to write the book from the anger he saw coming from the Tea Party movement, along with their historical focus.
"This was kind of a way to show them, you know, the founding fathers were about a lot of things, but they were also about being civil."
Many of Washington's rules aren't directly tied to politics, but Grantham thinks they can still be relevant today.
"What we hope people will do, is read them and ponder a more modern version of a rule," he said. "To dig and find the sentiment of a rule and just be cognizant of that in your actions and words."
The call for civility has been all over the media during the recent contentious midterm election.
Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert just wrapped up their Rally to Restore Sanity in an attempt to bring some sensibility back to politics. Only days later, Keith Olbermann suspended his "Worst Person in the World" segment on MSNBC's "Countdown" and the Today Show recently aired a three-part series titled, "Is Civility Dead?"
Grantham says that civility is declining because channels of communication are narrowing onto specific interests, and fewer people are making an effort to understand different points of view.
"You've got this view that is custom tailored to really tap into and foment a lot of hostility and anger toward the other side," he said. "It's just a matter of perspective. A lot of people don't have that kind of perspective anymore."
In keeping with the book's message of respectful political dialogue, it was actually worked on by three people with very different political beliefs.
Grantham is a Democrat, the book's illustrator, Jeff Moore, is a Libertarian and Glenn Reynolds, who wrote the foreword, is a conservative Tea Party activist and founder of the blog Instapundit.
"We've all three collaborated to put this together, feeling like it was an important message to put out there, because all year long politics has been so acrimonious," Grantham said.
Grantham feels the most important rule Washington followed is rule 110: "Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.
"That really kind of sums up what this book is all about," he said. "It's calling upon people to keep a conscience in your actions and your words. You're doing them and saying them with some empathy for others, and that's one particular rule that stands out."
Click Here To Purchase The Book