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We need to become civil in U.S. politics
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The re-election of Barack Obama has certainly stirred a lot of feelings. One side was jubilant. The other side - and I know because I am here - was trying to figure out why anyone would give another term to one who has such a dismal first term. And since presidents traditionally have better first terms than a second, we may all be in for a rough ride.

Let's zero in to Stanislaus County where a young Cold Stone Creamery employee in Turlock by the name of Denise Helms made a Facebook post that was in extremely poor taste. She wrote, "And another 4 years of the n----r. Maybe he will get assassinated this term..!!"

Digging herself a deeper hole were her comments to Fox 40. Helms, 22, said to their reporter: "I didn't think it would be that big of a deal... The assassination part is kind of harsh. I'm not saying like I would go do that or anything like that, by any means, but if it was to happen, I don't think I'd care one bit."

If that wasn't enough to bury herself, she took down that post and replaced it with: "... I'm not racist and I'm not crazy. Just simply stating my opinion!!!"

She was fired and the NAACP came down to her former workplace to denounce her attitude. I don't want to get into the "black" versus "white" aspects of this situation, but I'm sure we are not doing a good job of teaching the newer generations what it means to be civil - period - and teaching people what it means to feel remorse for stating something that awful. It's scary that she is that clueless.

But if you think about it, hasn't Denise Helms taken a cue by what she sees in media? Maybe she just doesn't know better. No; I'm not condoning her remarks at all for they were horrible. Anyone who has lived through the assassination of a political leader knows what a horrible wish is hers. I remember the RFK and Martin Luther King assassinations and the emotional distress the nation went through. But let's dial back a bit and remember how nasty the "adults" who were running for office behaved and set the tone of lack of civility.

The Obama campaign ran a commercial that accused Mitt Romney of causing a wife of a laid-off employee to die from cancer.

In recent years a Democratic commercial showed Republicans wheeling a grandmother to a cliff and throwing her over.

The left thought it was cute that a little Florida boy named Brandon, 9, was interviewed at a Michelle Obama appearance and stated he hoped Obama would win "because if Mitt Romney wins, we'll be going back to the crop fields." His dad is heard chuckling off-camera. Perhaps Brandon was taking a cue from Vice President Joe Biden who told one group that Romney would "put ya'll back in chains." Stephanie Cutter, Obama's deputy campaign manager stated of Biden's remarks, "we have no problem with those comments." Kind of reminds you of Ms. Helm, doesn't it?

Let's not forget that when actress Stacey Dash Tweeted that she was now supporting Romney, hateful comments on the left included this: for the "old hag" to "kill herself."

Then there is acid-tongued Bill Maher who said on his TV show: "...for anyone thinking about voting for Mitt Romney... I would like to make this one plea. Black people know who you are and they will come after you. Just this one plea. I'm kidding! Oh, I'm kidding!"

The left also enjoyed their share of threatens and horrible remarks about Bush, but they were mostly ignored. The left wasn't unhinged in 2006 when a British filmmaker produced a "mockumentary" showing the assassination of President George W. Bush. A student was quoted in a 2007 school publication as saying, "I would like to shoot George W. Bush, because in my opinion he is the worst president ever. After that was accomplished, I would be known as a national hero."

There was also the white man at a March 18, 2007 anti-war rally in San Francisco who held a sign reading, "Kill terrorists. Bomb there (sic) house. Kill Bush. Bomb his f----- house." The same man was photographed that October carrying a sign that read: "Death to extremist Christian terrorist pig Bush."

His remarks were more threatening toward Bush since he was issuing a plea for someone to actually carry out his killing. Helm, by contrast, said she wished it would happen.

Then there was the case of actor Alec Baldwin who said something vile on the Dec. 11, 1998 appearance on Conan O'Brien's show about Clinton's battle to avoid impeachment. Baldwin said of Rep. Henry Hyde who was spearheading the impeachment effort: "...I come back from Africa to stained dresses and cigars and this and impeachment. I am thinking to myself in other countries they are laughing at us 24 hours a day and I'm thinking to myself if we were in other countries, we would all right now, all of us together, [starts to shout] all of us together would go down to Washington and we would stone Henry Hyde to death! We would stone him to death! Wait! Shut up! Shut up! No shut up! I'm not finished. We would stone Henry Hyde to death and we would go to their homes and we'd kill their wives and their children. We would kill their families. What is happening in this country?"

America has never been more polarized, for sure, since the Civil War when north was fighting the south. We are split as a country right down the middle. The media in this country has been complicit as they participate in the routine drubbing of Republicans and rush to defend Democrats, as evidenced by Candy Crowley in a recent presidential debate. We must learn to play fair if our country is going to be healthy again. We can't have it ALL our way and that goes for Senator Harry Reid. The president on Friday stated the case for Republicans to get out of the way and let him do what he wants whereas just weeks ago Harry Reid said Senate Democrats would not work with Romney if he were president. That "to hell with you" policy is what has caused people to lose faith that anything will ever improve in our nation.

One thing is for sure. We need to learn how to become civil despite our differences. We need to state our feelings but not act as idiots while doing so. That goes for an Alec Baldwin, a Bill Maher or a Denise Helm. If you don't like Obama, that's understandable. But please, leave race out of it. We have too many problems without it.

How do you feel? Let Jeff know at