Since the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 2012, Arizona State University has been exploring the issue “Are We Losing Our Humanity?” The perceived loss of civility and humanistic values has impacts on political, scientific and business issues in the US. Former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s remarks, questioning the President of the US’ patriotism and implying ties to communism have sparked discussion again about the loss of civility in US politics.
Ironically, on February 17, 2015, ASU just had an “Are We Losing Our Humanity Politics and Politicians” conversation at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. Former Arizona State Legislator Chris Herstam, Tempe City Councilperson Lauren Kuby, and Associate Professor Thomas Catlaw, had a lively debate about current values, conflicts and possible solutions.
Giuliani’s remarks were made during a private meeting. But, just as Mitt Romney and so many other politicians have discovered, nothing said out loud is off the record. Attacks on patriotism are particularly sensitive and riling to African-Americans, as the racist myth of Blacks being unpatriotic has been persistent despite African-Americans’ sacrifices in every war dating back to the Revolutionary War, despite often being treated worse than white prisoners-of-war.
“It seems peculiar that anyone is in the business of assessing another’s patriotism or love of country,” says Dr. Neal Lester, Director of Project Humanities. “What I find particularly disturbing about Mr. Giuliani’s comment is that no one would want to be President of the US without having a deep love of country. Fundamental to our Humanity 101 effort is this notion that we be more self-aware of our individual actions, thoughts, and deeds, than spending energy assessing, critiquing and questioning others in light of our own limited experiences.”
ASU’s Project Humanity encourages the public to take a pledge that advocates the principles of integrity, compassion, kindness, forgiveness, empathy, respect and self-reflection. Giuliani’s latest brouhaha comes just as the Republican Party is attempting to change its “stupid party” (a term used by Louisiana Governor Jindal, who Giuliani bragged supported his anti-Obama remarks) image before the national election.
Unfortunately this lack of logic and reasonableness diverts time and effort from more important issues, like growing the economy, creating jobs, fighting terrorism at home and abroad, and rebuilding our crumbing infrastructure.