Viewpoint: Does civility still exist in our society?

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A tweet posted by Rock ‘n’ Bowl owner John Blancher spurred an outcry over the weekend. Blancher has since removed it from his social media accounts.

I am disappointed that Rock ‘n’ Bowl owner John Blancher posted what he considered a harmless photograph of a patron in his establishment last weekend who was wearing a T-shirt that posed the question “Where’s Nancy?” The customer was also holding a sledge hammer that mimicked the hammer used to beat on octogenarian Paul Pelosi, husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, at their San Francisco home recently.  

When questioned by a reporter, Blancher said it was not his intention to offend anyone or drive customers away from his place of business. He somehow did not realize the post was, at minimum, in bad taste and lacking in the courtesy and politeness that are hallmarks of a civil society. Courtesy and politeness — do those attributes even exist in today’s politics?

Blanchard isn’t the only well-known Louisianian who has disappointed me recently. Let’s move on to U.S. Rep. Clay Higgins, R-Lafayette, who promoted a false conspiracy theory about the Pelosi attack on Twitter. U.S. Rep. Troy Carter, D-New Orleans, was the only member of the Louisiana delegation to challenge him publicly. 

Congressman Steve Scalise, who did a yeoman’s job this week attacking FEMA on flood insurance increases, certainly must take some heat from his blatant lies about Speaker Pelosi’s role in summoning the cavalry to stop the Jan. 6 insurrection. U.S. Sen. John Kennedy frequently makes comments that sound good on national television but make his constituents seems like ignorant buffoons. 

Is democracy as we know it in America facing danger in these mid-term elections? President Joe Biden has said so repeatedly, and he sharpened his message Tuesday night when he connected political violence and election lies. “In this moment, we have to confront those lies with the truth,” Biden said. “The very future of our nation depends on it.”  With Biden’s low approval ratings, not all Democrats are rallying around the president. Yet they do agree that candidates should be elected at all levels of government who are committed to building a democratic society — not destroying it.  

There are broad divisions in America today — even broader divisions in New Orleans. Voters nationally are focused on inflation, crime and our porous U.S. borders. When the price of gas rises, so do fears of an upcoming recession.  

As Republicans gain ground in tight races around the country, the razor-thin majority that kept Democrats in power in Washington might be slipping away. While early voting in New Orleans got off to a strong start, the momentum did not continue. A low turnout is predicted for Tuesday (Nov. 8).

Several polling locations have moved in Orleans Parish — including the precincts that were previously located at the Austerlitz Baptist Church, which burned down earlier this year. Click here for a complete list of polling locations. 


Join Congressman Troy Carter and U.S. Senate candidate Syrita Steib for a quick gathering Friday (Nov. 4) at Baldwin & Co, 1030 Elysian Fields Ave., beginning at 8:30 a.m.  Also on Friday, state Rep. Candace Newell is hosting a reception for Donna Glapion, candidate for Clerk of First City Court, at 717 St. Charles Ave. beginning at 5 p.m.  On Monday (Nov. 8), the eve of the election, District Attorney Jason Williams and wife Liz will host a fundraiser for state Rep. Royce Duplessis, who is running for state Senate, at 607 St. Charles Ave.    

Danae Columbus

Danae Columbus, opinion columnist

Danae Columbus, who has had a 30-year career in politics and public relations, offers her opinions on Thursdays. Her career includes stints at City Hall, the Dock Board and the Orleans Parish School Board and former clients such as former District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro, former City Councilman Jared Brossett, City Councilwoman at-large Helena Moreno, Foster Campbell, former Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, former Sheriff Charles Foti and former City Councilwomen Stacy Head and Cynthia Hedge-Morrell. She is a member of the Democratic Parish Executive Committee. Columbus can be reached at

5 thoughts on “Viewpoint: Does civility still exist in our society?

  1. I don’t know him. I’m not friends with him. But John Blancher is a great man that does a ton of charity work here in New Orleans.
    I know that for a fact. I find the author of this article “disappointing” for writing a cancel culture hit piece on such a good citizen of New Orleans.

  2. Civility always exists if you agree with the person. When you disagree, civility is a mask for restraint of free expression. Another reader might find appalling and offensive the Tshirt that says “In Nancy We Trust”. It’s pretty well known that not everyone in New Orleans is a Democrat, so the next best thing for Democrats, is to silence those that are not. Biden tried this in his deceitful speech last night, informing us that Republican ascendancy (see midterms) is a threat to democracy and will result in death and destruction — clearly not civility. Was it civil for him to say those things?
    Civility can exist between peers, who chose the high road to articulating their differences, if they choose to talk about them at all. Boundless civility — repressing political speech — is the objective only of the person losing the argument.

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