political discourse

the Web Editors 03-23-2016

Screenshot via Speaker Paul Ryan / Youtube

While Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s speech to a committee room full of interns on March 23 focused on restoring civility to political discourse, the speech also contained a surprising twist. Ryan, who has publicly endorsed the writings of Ayn Rand, admitted, “I’m certainly not going to stand here and tell you I have always met this standard” of civility.

Image via REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/RNS

Vice President Joe Biden and former House Speaker John Boehner, devout Catholics and longtime political foes, will share a prestigious honor from the University of Notre Dame in a pointed rebuke to the polarization and ugliness of American politics shown perhaps most vividly in the Republican nominating contest currently led by Donald Trump.

“We live in a toxic political environment where poisonous invective and partisan gamesmanship pass for political leadership,” Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins, said in statement announcing that Biden, a Democrat, and Boehner, a Republican, would receive the 2016 Laetare Medal.

Troy Jackson 10-25-2012
Yelling, Dmitriy Shironosov / Shutterstock.com

Yelling, Dmitriy Shironosov / Shutterstock.com

Note from Jim Wallis: On October 25, Troy Jackson wrote this piece for God’s Politics. He called for a “media fast” on November 2 — today. I thought this was a compelling idea so I am putting it out there again. So Turn Down the Noise: Fast, Pray, and Vote — today or one of the days before the election. Read and heed.

I was a teenager when the rock and roll "documentary" Spinal Tap premiered. Like many in my generation, I love the scene when Spinal Tap member Nigel Tufnel (Christopher Guest) proudly shares with reporter documentarian Marty DiBergi (Rob Reiner) that the band's special amp has dials that go up to eleven: 

"You're on ten here, all the way up, all the way up, all the way up, you're on ten on your guitar. Where can you go from there? ... Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is, if we need that extra push over the cliff, you know what we do?" Marty responds, "Put it up to eleven," and Nigel emphasizes the point: "Eleven. Exactly. One louder." 

This election season, I have come to believe that Nigel was on to something. You see, here in Ohio we have seen political advertising go "one louder" and receive "that extra push over the cliff." The NOISE is so deafening, I'm convinced the campaigns and super PACs have discovered a way to turn the dial all the way up to 11!

Jim Wallis 11-11-2011
Stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates.

Governor Perry should have to stand up and have the three hour Lincoln-Douglas style debates about why he wants to cut the Departments of Education, Commerce, Energy, and perhaps even the Environmental Protection Agency, and all the other government work that he would like to forget.

Charles Gutenson 10-08-2010
It is very difficult to observe the current political landscape and not conclude that the process has seriously broken down.
Jim Wallis 09-14-2010
It didn't happen. The threat of a pastor from a very small Florida church to burn Qurans and start "International Burn a Koran Day," was not carried out.
Jim Wallis 09-08-2010
The extremes now seem to dictate the political discourse -- extremists in caves who invoke their distorted brand of Muslim faith as they murder innocent people; and extremists in a Florida church w
Ernesto Tinajero 04-02-2010

Hate is easy and the domain of the lazy. This insight came in the darkness of the early morning. I wish I could say that it was due to a Lenten meditation that pierced my own darkness, but alas, it rose as I got up too late to do my study.

Jim Wallis 03-23-2010

From the very beginning, more than a year ago, the faith community called on the president and Congress to follow three principles in health-care reform: that it be framed as a moral issue; that it provide coverage to all who need health care, and that the sanctity of life be respecte

When President Obama took questions from Congressional Republicans recently, he spoke about Republican characterizations of his health-care reform plan as something akin to a "Bolshevik plot." Ther
Jim Wallis 08-11-2009
Last Thursday, I wrote about truth-