But first, two definitions….
Civil disobedience is the active, professed refusal to obey certain laws, demands, and commands of a government, or of an occupying international power.
Civil discourse is engagement in discourse (conversation) intended to enhance understanding.
It’s important to understand these two terms… both the differences and similarities among them. And the fact that sometimes, an encounter can have elements of both.
Such is the case for recent encounter between veteran bilingual journalist Jorge Ramos and 2016 Presidential hopeful Donald Trump. Here’s a recap via Fusion TV…
For Mr. Trump and his accompanying echo chambers, Ramos’ actions were “absolutely out of line“. Which I guess means we’re to assume that Trump’s full-scale Twitter attack against Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly is somehow acceptable and appropriate??
But let’s be clear about what happened. Whether you consider Ramos’ actions to be more in the civil discourse camp, or the civil disobedience camp, that doesn’t change the fact that the reporter achieved his desired result. In front of the national news media, he was successfully able to not only press Trump on Immigration, but also put the issue at the forefront of America’s political discussion once again. He did so in the highest form of civil discourse… journalism.
The confrontation was similar to recent tactics employed by the Black Lives Matter movement and the DREAM Action Coalition. Individuals in these organizations may not be as well known as Ramos, but when given the opportunity, they have successfully brought their issues of concern to light, and in many cases, achieved important progress.
In November 2016 and the whole process leading up to it, Americans are being asked to make one of the most important decisions that we will ever make. In the course of making that decision, all Americans have the right to question those seeking the office, and engage in civil discourse around issues that concern our lives. Jorge Ramos was not out of line with Donald Trump… he was doing his job and representing the concerns of millions of Americans who want answers to those very questions. Just as he has done with President Obama at many points in his Presidency, Speaker of the House John Boehner and even Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, Ramos continues to press Federal leaders on why they have not yet achieved comprehensive Immigration Reform after years of promises to do so from both Democrats and Republicans.
After decades in the supposedly cut-throat world of big business, Mr. Trump sure seems to have difficulty with some of the most basic levels of civil discourse. Jorge Ramos deserves high commendation for staying committed to the cause, and for being consistent with candidates of various political stripes. The current Republican front-runner can say all he wants about the “temporary inconvenience” caused to his campaign.
But here’s a newsflash for Donald Trump… the truth ain’t always convenient.
Dos Centavos has more.
Photo credit: CNN Money