Franklin Countys First News

Politics & Other Mistakes: In praise of insult

Al Diamon

According to important political knowers, it’s time to restore civility in Maine politics.

Screw that.

In politics, civility is a code word for dishonesty. Take newly elected Gov. Janet Mills for example. In public, Mills is all about unity, equality and embracing little kids who sing off key. But out of the spotlight, she’s a gun-to-a-knife-fight, eye-gouging, bottle-smashing bar fighter, who leaves her opponents curled in a fetal position, wishing they’d remembered to put on athletic cups before daring to disagree with her.

It would be exhilarating to see more of that persona from Mills, and less of the artificial-maple-syrup-coated rhetoric she oozes when the cameras are rolling. If the situation has to be sticky, let it be from coagulated blood.

Former Gov. Paul LePage didn’t know what the word civility meant, which resulted in bouts of refreshing bluntness. LePage was an ogre, but never pretended otherwise. That’s a distinct improvement over the humble brags that characterize more allegedly civil politicians. Such as:

Unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Terry Hayes, who frequently congratulated herself because she had “never participated in a negative ad, and I never will.” Apparently, this means that if Hayes was running against a neo-Nazi child molester, she’d treat that creep as respectfully as any Nobel Peace Prize winner. How much more sensible it would be if she’d said, “I don’t like negative ads, but if I’m running against that weirdo, I’m producing a TV spot so biting, the pervert will wish he’d opted instead to be trapped in a small room with Janet Mills wearing pointy-toed shoes.”

Hayes and her ilk often cite past Maine politicians such as George Mitchell and Olympia Snowe as paragons of civility. But as with Mills, their polite veneers were all about public relations. When it came to being effective, both recognized the value of profanity, negativity and dismissing dissenters with lash marks all over their backs. Mitchell didn’t get to be U.S. Senate majority leader by being a nice guy. Snowe didn’t survive in a male-dominated Congress by curtseying. They checked their civility at the door.

Nevertheless, this state has been saddled with an organization called Maine Revives Civility. MRC grew out of Hayes’ 2014 effort to have the National Institute for Civil Discourse train local facilitators in the fine art of concealing their true feelings about the idiots that surrounded them. MRC state coordinator Mark Hews told the Lewiston Sun Journal the group’s goal is to “get back to a place where we know how to conduct ourselves in public spaces.” Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon bought that drivel, telling newly sworn-in legislators in December to “believe in each other’s goodness and intentions.”

Gideon had to be aware that one of the representatives she was addressing was Larry Lockman of Amherst, a homophobic, xenophobic, racist bluster bag, who runs something called the Maine First Project. MFP sent out mailers in the last election attacking some legislators who supported a bill providing aid to legal immigrants, claiming they voted “to allow the killings to continue in Portland.” He also characterized aid to immigrants as being part of a “war on whites.” Rational people believe in Lockman’s “goodness and intentions” the same way they believe in Alex Jones’ Infowars.

Instead of civility, we should be striving for honesty, even if it’s unpleasant honesty. And we should remember that if we come anywhere near Janet Mills, it’s best to be wearing Kevlar boxer shorts.

Politeness doesn’t count when emailing

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11 Responses »

  1. Good job Al on this article. So true

  2. It's not just political, it has become a worldwide phenomenon(well the western part of it anyway) from males with bathroom confusion to the people who can eat $100 worth of food at a $7 all you can eat buffet. It has become all about dinged feelings and bruised egos. And the double standards are crazy in the sheer number of them. The science of the sexes and gender is fluid and can be changed upon thought, but science in something that has been constantly changing since time immemorial, the climate is somehow absolute. And if in the act of being kind and a human, you have to be nice and agree with people who do believe those things, but if you don't agree, you are not afforded the same courtesy by the left. You are called names like transphobic, or a racist, even though race and gender are not interchangeable. But it is pointless for politicians to lie in public and be themselves in private. And everyone who knows Mills, keep knows what kind of a person she really is.

  3. Trump has mastered both incivility and dishonesty. So much for him being a political novice.

  4. Arnold... when you have time.... should not take very long..... tell us how many honest politicians you know...

  5. Given the third and fourth sentence of your article Mr. Diamon you have accused Governor Mills of being dishonest !!!!

  6. So civility is a bad thing now? Here's a radical thought, why don't we strive for both civility and honesty. Janet, like her siblings can be a tough fighter, but is she any less a fighter because she doesn't make crude statements?

    Some simpler people liked LePage just because he was crude. They thought it was a big joke. What it really is, is a sign of ignorance when someone cannot express themselves without using crude and vulgar language.

    We've all heard of the dumbing down of America. When our elected officials can't get their point across without using fowl language and the public thinks it's funny or OK it sure isn't a sign we're getting smarter now is it.

  7. Richy... Possibly the former Gov. was talking to the people in CD2... the district that the upscale more educated Portlanders portrays as all living in the backwoods in old tin structures that used to have wheels on em.

  8. Pretty bold and stupid statement to say LePage supporters are simple, Richy. Odds are a bunch of people smarter than you voted for him. Twice.

  9. @Richy...As an apparently simple minded individual who voted for LePage twice. I hope to ease your mind that it was most certainly not due to all the Duck, Turkey, and Geese talk.

  10. Richy,
    Of course you're right.. You caught us.

    It's our "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy" that makes us such Uncivilized Simpletons ( wow, I just chuckled at that..).

    Oh yes,, who was that upstanding champion of civility who uncovered our conspiracy when her political chips were down?? Didn't she also call half the country deplorable?
    Not very civil of her,,, now was it?

    Whatever happened to her anyways?? Lol....

  11. Great Article Al, (I can't believe I just said that..).

    "In politics, civility is a code word for dishonesty. "
    " In public, Mills is all about unity, equality,,, artificial-maple-syrup-coated rhetoric ..."
    "LePage was an ogre, but never pretended otherwise..."

    And SURPRISE!!, the mainstream media had a field day with the ONE who meant what he said...
    The libs are master politicians..(they have to be because they have no message)...
    Gee,, why is the country so confused???

    Richy acts "as if" you can believe what a politician is "saying" as long as it sounds good and honest and pure......

    Don't let the truth get in your way there bud....