Jim Leach served 30 years in Congress. These days, he has harsh words for the state of American democracy, but delivers them in the same calm, measured tone that was his trademark.
“It’s clear an awful lot of citizens in American have lost confidence in institutions of government. They have become disrespectful of their leaders. They’ve become disrespectful of other belief systems and of each other,” Leach said Friday at the University of Northern Iowa.
These days, Leach serves as chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. He travels the country in that role and often gives speeches about the need for civility in politics. He bemoans the current political climate, in which political parties seek candidates who hold pure their ideology and punish those who compromise, often by supporting a more pure candidate running as a primary challenger.
Leach feels the long-held tradition of respecting the other sides argument has gone by the wayside, and often opposing sides are just talking past each other, rather than looking for common ground.
How do you feel about Leach’s views? Do you think it’s possible to restore civility to the current political discourse? If so, how could that be accomplished?