Legislator should lead by example

Isn’t today’s political environment ugly and banal enough at the national level; and hasn’t that helped drive social media to become a swamp in-and-of-itself?

Many seem to think so, which is why recent inflammatory statements on social media by Minot legislator Roscoe Streyle were so uncalled for and unfortunate. District 3’s Streyle, a Republican, employed a derogatory term for liberal that some believe is also insulting to those with developmental disabilities. The former would be juvenile, the latter unacceptable – but slang is rarely specific and Streyle is hardly the first figure in the public eye to employ the term.

Minot Daily News will not further inflame the issue by repeating the term or engaging in a debate over semantics that can’t be honestly decided. It was juvenile and one does not benefit public discourse by reducing it to the level of name-calling.

Streyle has rightly apologized. He has also said he will tone down his rhetoric, use better judgment and keep his focus on policy rather than personalities when using social media in the future.

“That’s where I made my error,” he said. “I will just focus on why liberal policies are destructive and not helpful to economic growth and what I stand for.”

Streyle is on solid ground should he stick to this approach. Based on electoral numbers, championing conservative policy over Democrat policy is a winning strategy given how few offices are held by Democrats in the state today.

Meanwhile, Democrats are outraged and of course, a petition is circulating to remove Streyle. It won’t happen. Nor does the offense reach that level. It’s purely another political move by a party that hasn’t many gains to trumpet at the ballot box.

However, that doesn’t let Streyle off the hook for his rhetoric. Hopefully, this is the end of such behavior and the beginning of the legislator’s fulltime commitment to elevating – and not denigrating – public discourse.