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A Christmas wish: Civility in public office

December 25. 2013 9:58PM

We had a crazy Christmas wish this year. We wished that everyone elected to public office in Manchester and throughout New Hampshire would suddenly be filled with the Christmas spirit and commit on the spot to be civil to each other for the duration of their time in office. If we cannot have peace on earth, maybe we can at least have peace in the aldermanic chambers.

Before you say "Bah, humbug," imagine the possibilities.

Imagine a year without the threat of a fistfight breaking out at City Hall.
Imagine a year in which every single school board meeting is conducted with more decorum and maturity than any randomly chosen meeting of the high school drama club.

Imagine a year in which the only shouting at public meetings comes from citizens in the back row when the microphones fail during public comment sessions.
Imagine never hurriedly switching from the government access channel to a cable show about the mob because a child walks into the room and you don't want her to see adults behaving so rudely to each other.

Maybe it was the egg nog, but for a brief moment before Christmas we reveled in the thought that our elected leaders might spend the next year setting a good example for the young people of our great state instead of acting as though they had been raised by honey badgers.

In the spirit of the season, we will not name names. But those who could have used an etiquette book under the tree this year know who they are. The public knows who they are, too. Come to think of it, maybe we are wishing for the wrong people to change their behavior. If voters just held public officials accountable for their actions, wouldn't that do the trick?

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