The Hebrew Union College, located on Clifton Avenue, hosted its second lecture aimed at increasing civility in local political discourse Thursday at Mayerson Hall.
The event — the second in a series — featured Cincinnati City Councilmember P.G. Sittenfeld and Cincinnati Tea Party President Mike Wilson. In an effort to gain a mutual respect for each other’s opposing political views, the two Cincinnati natives talked at length about their upbringings and the events that shaped their viewpoints.
Wilson cited his younger sister’s perpetual illness and consequential hospital bills, as a defining time in is youth. Sittenfeld said his mother’s job as a teacher produced his political leanings.
Both men discussed their views on negative campaign ads, and whether or not it is ever acceptable to use them.
When Wilson ran for state representative in 2010, he said it was very tempting to run a negative ad on Connie Pillich — who won by five votes — in response to an ad against him.
Wilson ultimately decided not to run it because the ad would have been “below the belt,” he said.
“It wasn’t pointing out her record, it wasn’t pointing out the things that she had voted on … it was something that was related to her personal life,” Wilson said.
While the event promoted political civility, Sittenfeld said friction in politics can often lead to better outcomes.
“It is sort of a balancing act. I want to have a great conversation with Mike Wilson and say, ‘what’s all of the common ground we can stake out and work together to do something productive’,” Sittenfeld said. “But make no mistake, if I got too cozy, if we agreed too much, I think people would start to say ... what’s going on here.”
The liberal Sittenfeld stated he regularly seeks the advice of Republicans when working for city council, and mentioned “neither side has a monopoly on good ideas,” he said.
But both speakers agreed neither Republicans nor Democrats possess more compassion than the other, Wilson said.
They simply disagree on the best way to solve the issues.