Eggs and Issues
In your recent column describing the "let's try to be civil" effort at the last Eggs and Issues forum, you concluded by asking "What say you?" So, since you asked for it, I'll give you my take on the matter.
The event began in proper fashion, as a wonderful middle schooler schooled us all. Then a former state senator urged civility and "Iowa nice" activity among politicians, and promptly proceeded to demonstrate the antithesis of both virtues by insulting and accusing not only our first female United States senator (Joni Ernst) and long-term U.S. Rep. Steve King, but four more guests he was addressing (two local state representatives, one state senator, and our secretary of agriculture). Anyone present last Saturday morning, or watching the debacle on the rebroadcasts courtesy of SMU can attest to that. This individual persisted in bloviating more bile in filibuster fashion, to the point that members of the audience were requesting that he sit down and allow others to give their questions in civil fashion. Not an unusual request given that all questioners were asked to follow the same simple, respectful rules.
I applaud the commitment of the Spencer Chamber of Commerce, Spencer Municipal Utilities, our local media representatives and those who sponsor each of the Eggs and Issues sessions and provide the breakfast that precedes the dialog. I echo your sentiments that following a few simple rules for civil discourse can't be that difficult. A questioner submits their question in writing, comes to the podium to ask it in one minute's time, and speaks further only if asked by our guest speakers for further clarification. Standing at the podium, arguing and accusing, and hanging around for 10 or more minutes is rude and disrespectful. I expect more class than that from someone who used to represent this area in the Iowa Senate.
— Bill Kersting, Spencer