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tv   Cindy Mc Cain Discusses Civility at Restore Respect Conference  CSPAN  October 7, 2020 5:52pm-6:37pm EDT

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the debate getting underway. our preview coverage starting tonight on c-span at 8:00 eastern. our preview program for you, the debate itself starting at 9:00 eastern. we will follow that with your reaction, your calls, comments, and tweets and watch all of that tonight here on c-span. mccain, wife of the senator john mccain, talks about the need for civility across the nation at the restoring respect conference. she also discusses mccain's thoughts on the politics and civility. this is 45 minutes. >> thank you, jeff, and thank you to our audience for being with us. a special thanks to misses cindy mccain for joining us today for a discussion on civility. is. mccain: misses mccain joining us less than a month before our general election.
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the first question i would like to post to her, americans -- good to see you there. americans are more divided than they have ever been in my lifetime. we have got people in the majorities of both parties saying they would be upset if their kid married to someone from the other party, that they think the other party is a threat to our republic. your husband, the late senator was a champion of working and reaching across the aisle, establishing bipartisanship and trying to work collectively toward the common good. why do we find that such a remarkable thing today? what has happened? mrs. mccain: there are so many reasons. first of all, thank you for having me. there are so many reasons that i think nowadays, one of them -- it has really taken us down a little bit. it is too easy to be on social
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media, it is too easy to be critical or harsh or all the things we know happens on their, because it is anonymous. it has made us less caring and less involved, because we can hide behind this device. i think what you are also seen is an example -- seeing is an example, and certainly what is happening in the country, a great frustration. excuses for being civilly disobedient or being uncivil in any way, shape, or form. but unfortunately, we are seeing a combination of things, throwing covid on top of that, and you have a society that is struggling. these things are a result of what is going on right now, in my opinion. carl: i'm worried that it will lead to the roman republic, these things are the greatest threat to us. your institute last year ivility.d the #actsofc
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one are some examples you see of such acts of civility in public life today? mrs. mccain: i think -- one thing for sure is that covid, even though this is a tragic element of what is going on right now, covid has brought out the best in us in many places. and that come to me, has been -- i think people have had to take a step back. because we had to slow everything down. as a result of that, people being kind to people, people going to may be their neighbors house who may be elderly, offering to go shopping for them. the kinds of small acts of civility you see in daily life, in many cases now. i know -- and i will revert to the congress for a minute -- i know our congress has not exhibited this. i'm ashamed of that, in some ways. because i was -- i did observe
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not just my husband, but other members of congress through the earlier years be civil. , they are allowed to disagreement sometimes, but always remained friends. and always went out to dinner or whatever else. after the day was done. that is the kinds of things we need to get back to. that is why this conference is so important. it is so important. that i read and heard congressman can no longer break bread with each other if they are from the other party. that? you get over how do you get them to advance this ability of at least being able to dine together? mrs. mccain: you do it. have decided they that they will not join together for a group meeting or have lunch together, which is what they used to do, or other things, it is ridiculous. manyongress is come in
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ways, some of the biggest culprits. because we look to them for examples. these are the people we elect, to represent us, to be good stewards of civility and other things. and yet we are not seeing any of that. more from ourct leaders. we have the right to expect more from our leaders. and they need to hear from us either through the ballot box, for through an email or whatever else. they need to hear from us saying just that. work.get back to let's work together for the good of the country, and not for the good of the party. carl: as long as nike doesn't mind, i think you have another slogan for that, civility, just do it. mrs. mccain: i mean really. [laughter] carl: my wife is a first grade teacher, she teaches her kids how to act. we seem to have people in their public life no longer thinking they have to act in the same decorum than they do in the classroom when they were kids.
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mrs. mccain: right. not all many people, if people in the audience today, have had the experience of perhaps running into someone who is angry at whatever, is supermarket, or a restaurant or something. i mean, it happens commonly now. people,need to remind is unless we as adults begin to act civilly into be good examples for our younger children, we are going to lose a generation of people to a harsh reality that should not be what they should experience. we should all be working together on this. and it starts at the top. it starts at the very what public figures today are best mirroring the behaviors of your late husband? the idea of putting the common
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good ahead of partisan advantage. mrs. mccain: i think that mitt romney is one. he has been crucified for not joining certain elements of the party. just like you described. he wanted to work together with other senators and was actually criticized for it. it is those kinds of things that we should expect more from our leaders and demand. carl: when you look at though and the whole political process, it seems to publish -- punish people like mitt romney your late husband. -- and your late husband. the americanthat people can go out and maybe not see a t-shirt that drives them through the roof? mrs. mccain: i think that is absolutely true. we have to do it and take that first step.
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some of the things that we are doing out here in arizona that we put together, it was put together to the human trafficking team out here. it exemplifies way more than human trafficking. it is teaching basic respect to an elementary school. teaching little boys to respect little girls and vice versa. i get frustrated when i hear music that is uncivil, especially about women. see peoplee, when i physically disrespecting people in public. we are way over the top on this. we are way over the cliff on this. i think it starts with all of us to rein this back in. if we take one step a day, educating a child, or working with a neighbor. and having may be difficult discussion.
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but understanding that you do not have to agree on everything, and that is ok to be nice to each other as a result. we do not hate anymore. carl: i think one of the questions that we got from our audience was how to teach these values to our kids. my generation has not been pattering good behavior for them. mrs. mccain: mine either. carl: the issue of people not wearing masks and the covid crisis. of, you don'tnse get to tell me what to do. if you live in a community, you have to be willing, so that we can all live together. how do you get over that narrative to get our kids to learn to be nice? just to be nice? mrs. mccain: i think one of the when things like that occur and see the masks are wherever it may be, whatever
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incident it is. remind your own children and onlyy that this is not wrong, it is unseemly as americans. as americans, we are better than this. we are the beacon around the world, still. we seem to forget that by being a beacon, we have to maintain that. we have to be a people that embraces differences and embraces dignity and respect. and embraces empathy. those are things are sorely missing right now in any discussion or behavior that we see across the board, in my opinion. up earlier, brought there is a lot of anger out there. a lot of debate. -- try totry to rep
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rectify this? while still being able to protest? and the like? mrs. mccain: we sit down, and we not only begin to discuss what we talk about, our differences, and we respect our differences, more importantly. those can be very difficult conversations to have. as you know, there are some hard lines out there. none of those hard lines, as those people are not being injured or there is property damage, we still need to respect. people exhibit frustrations on both sides of the aisle. a lot is so political right now. asas americans, and we representatives of our community
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need to understand that being differences, is good. it is who we are as americans. from your own personal experience and that of can you husband's, talk about how you and your husband were able to establish those bonds and have that civility echo -- that civility? mrs. mccain: with my husband, i was astounded and so respectful. that moment made me respect him even more than i had throughout the years. it took place at a town hall. it was in new hampshire. 2008 race.ng the a woman stood up, and john was
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taking questions from the audience. againstwas watching candidate obama. john took the microphone from her and said that, no, we can disagree, but he is a good man. he should not be treated with disrespect in any way. it was that moment, and people would replay that clip 100 times around the country. that not that moment, only was john representing what civility is all about, he was teaching people across the country to maintain and respect the same thing. me, havingy changed seen it in action. we all talk a lot, but to actually see it happen in public was amazing. carl: i remember that moment. that clip gets played, and it was a viral event.
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doingat senator mccain is was echoing what kennedy had said. that both democrats and republicans what to do what is best for americans. mrs. mccain: exactly. carl: how do we get that genie of discontent back into the bottle for civility? talk. to i know that there is no magical formula. there needs to be an effort of being ingrained in it so that people feel ashamed when they act against this. mrs. mccain: it starts at the top. exhibit thehould platform.ior on any speeches, whatever it may be.
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we should demand this across the aisle. voting is very important in all of this. secondly, we should reward good behavior. by that, i mean i am trying to do that with accessibility. civility.ng -- i've had so many people message me with conversations that were occurring. people within the family are trying to come back together and remember to respect each other and the process. my husband and i, at our dinner table, which we used to joke occasion.riotous on we love the discussions that john would have with our children. they will go around the table, and opinions were very sharp. we represent all angles on this
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at our dinner table. the point of that was for us to remind them and teach them to be respectful. you can disagree, but you may not be disrespectful or use any kind of harsh leg which. it was a good lesson for them. -- harsh language with them. we need to take what occurs and our community back. it starts at the top of the community as well. part of that discussion, around the dining room table, is that we have different views. in many ways, we have kind of bubbled ourselves. we can watch just the media that we want to watch. how do we break ourselves out of that and get conversations more regularly with people that we disagree with? they used to be a lot more venues to do this in society. they do not seem to be as
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blessed as they used to be. suggestion isy exactly what i've done for myself. reach out and talk to people who differ the meat. -- people who differ than me. i like the discussions because i always learn. i do not always agree, but i learn. i respect the differences. i think it simply starts with one person at a time. acts ofage through civility, that same kind of thing. we have great discussions at the institute. we have seminars and things that are very diverse. number one rule is that you may come in here and disagree, but there will be no shouting, and there will be no disrespecting anybody in regard to the issues.
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pardon me, my clock is chiming in the background. [laughter] i apologize. zoom, wethe age of have all had our dog and phone moments. thinking about that, in terms of getting out of the bubble, the late reverend george walker smith, who began our conference, for decades, he would meet leaders of all political persuasions. they would come together and eat really good catfish and then have a discussion. that has kind of change. the time for find
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active conversation. timeo beget folks to spend with each other if they are bubbled up? get people to spend time with each other? mrs. mccain: we can do it on elements like zoom. we have to start one at a time. to maybe haveople one conversation, maybe by phone. someone that you are mad at before or that perhaps you disagree with. began a new conversation and a new time. that you have time in your car with kids to teach empathy, respect, dignity. out and say that there are friends for the kid. there are no differences.
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we are friends, and we want to respect you and be with you. issues bothered me the most. you see it exhibited in everything. and some of the behaviors that middle school kids, especially exhibit toward adults. i think it is unacceptable. carl: middle school is problematic on its own. my generation went through it, we did not have social media to worry about. we have a whole culture that propagates social media. my daughter has said that all i need to know about life is to watch "mean girls." that seems like a six stuff, for people to not be mean. -- that seems like basic stuff, for people to not be mean.
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looking out for middle schoolers and high schoolers, providing resources to get away from all of his anger. mrs. mccain: that is exactly what we are working on at the institute. times have made it difficult. i began this through the eye of human trafficking, which is a tremendously disrespectful thing that is done to young people. i felt like we could expand on that. through thech kids elements of the classroom, but also providing materials that could be helpful in all of this. we want to supplement school and help them have the tools to be able to do this. as i said before, and less we can rain this in, and i believe that we have to rein this end.
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this is dangerous. adults could be very difficult within our government. degree of division that we all seem to have there. republicse for our that should be based on mutual respect. everybody at some point wins. mrs. mccain: right. right. forward, how do we as a nation try to recover from a really dark. of instability that we have been going through for years? is a veryn: that difficult question to answer. began at the beginning. easier said than done, some might say.
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we began at the pandemic. begin at the pandemic. yes,nities have to decide, we will no longer tolerate this. we are going to help our communities heal and do better within this. that is annk education opportunity. that schools can help. how can community leaders kind the -- embrace this? at our mccain institute, we can be very helpful. the institute can be very helpful. mentionedools that i in some of the materials that i
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mentioned, being able to walk through the discussion. this, we are trying ,o highlight government leaders private citizens, etc., those who have done a really good job within acts of civility. had a difficult issue but acted the correct way. people.ooking for those , because theyroes decided they will not upset the norm right now. treating people as you would treat others. the code and role-plays here and a very large way.
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place here inrule a very large way. that ithe things observed with my husband, is his ability to work with world leaders, that were on opposite sides. could not be more difficult. but he met with them, and was able for two countries to sit down and at least talk. many times they did not agree on anything. but the discussion was out there, and they had a civil discussion, with civil behavior as a result. the world is a difficult place. but you have got to talk. you have to be inclusive in that. john was really a good leader on that issue. level, thingsbal can get difficult. you get civil wars.
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games untilfun and you lose and i or a democracy. eye or a democracy. mrs. mccain: this is a lot like pendulums from the past. i believe that this will swing back to a civil society that we previously had. until you have experienced, i would never encourage this, but until you had an opportunity to experience a society that is not that is what this degenerates into. i'm not saying that it will happen in the u.s., but it does happen in other countries. we are a world partner. these things all have implications. words matter.
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coming out of our leadership into this country and other leaderships around the world. one of the things, i know your husband understood and respected west fertility of democracy. fragility of democracy. your husband's understanding of how you need to protect norms and values and institutions and not so lightly dispense of for short-term gain. john had a very dicey relationship -- communication with pete -- p utin. we were banned from going to russia. it was those kinds of things.
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one or two wrong moves on the part of the country, we could wind up like a country like that. i am in no means saying that that would happen. but we have to respect the decency of democracy. with that comes civility and the discussion that we talk about in terms of being able to work together as americans. i will use the example of the united states senate. they are not going to have lunch with someone of a different party. that is ridiculous and unacceptable, as far as i am concerned. senate assee that the an institution has changed. your husband spent a political lifetime championing that institution. what was his hopes for this and moving for? for the senate, and
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he observed a lot of this prior to his death. verbiaged a lot of the that was coming out of various levels of our society and our government. a really pained him to watch it. it really pained him to watch it. oureally believed in democracy and what our government stands for and should stand for. it was very painful for him to watch toward the end. the childish behavior and name-calling. people would accept hate other rally or a. would accept hate at a rally or at a speech. in our heads, we are done with this.
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i'm going to make a difference now. i'm not going to take this anymore. carl: that kinds of going into the thinking of short-term versus long-term. a lot are thinking about long-term values for the short term. you may winver that in the short term, but what is the effect? mrs. mccain: vote. that is the biggest tool that you have. to vote. a lot of people say, my vote doesn't count. it is no big deal. i am one person. i don't have time. it does count. your vote does count. the first day that i can tell people is that you have got to vote. for the kids out there listening, who cannot boat yet, -- who cannot vote yet, begin to read about your democracy and
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make your decisions about how you would like to behave as a u.s. citizen and a participant in the society as you grow up. children,e teach our we use the word all the time civility. how do you define civility? it. mccain: i would define as not necessarily your right, but civility should be expected of all of us. tool indefine it as one being a good person. make any senseot that we do not have it. it pains me and bothers me a great deal. i know that is not a very good definition. civility is also about the honor of being an american.
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it is expected. greatwith honor comes responsibility. what is the good message that we can give? don't do what we do, do what we say. how do we rectify that? mrs. mccain: that is a tough one. it comes back to the parents and our teachers. our teachers have such a load right now. but it comes back to the classroom. it starts at home. it starts in kindergarten, as far as i'm concerned. it starts with teaching our children the not only do you need to respect people, have a responsibility to respect people. that makes you a better human being, in my opinion. carl: one of our audience
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members when they sent in their question, they said that they would meet your husband periodically at the local starbucks and mark on how incredible of a man he was in how he treated others. it seems that basic stuff. it seems like basic stuff. how do we are my people that if you are going to be a neighbor, civility and respect is part of living with others? it is not ultimately about you. it is about all of us. mrs. mccain: you practice what you breach. we talk about this at home. preach.tice what you check in on the elderly neighbors. check in on the hospital that may be in trouble. people who are lonely. people who are sick.
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it is all about practicing what , and you have got to start somewhere. anytime i get frustrated, maybe when i'm driving, i think wait a minute, what good is that doing? what i would rather be doing, is may be taking a walk with somebody who may be does not get out very much. maybe someone who is a loan or widowed like me. reaching out to someone and asking if they would like to have dinner or go for a walk. or talk for a little bit. there is such a lack of empathy right now. and i will is ok, use my husband as an example in this. was verbally mishandled and talked about in a way that was -- was unseemly while
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he was alive. and no arena should that happen to anybody, let alone my husband. we should not talk about people like that. we should not be accepting of people who talk about that -- we talk like that. carl: we seem to reward that, as you have seen on the talk shows. if we would all be quiet and have a cup of coffee. we are trying to work against what seems to be a cultural force pushing against. how to address our leaders and the media? to action have meaningful conversations? rather than all of this noise? mrs. mccain: we are doing that right now. this is a good example of discussing it. you put people together. this is such an important issue. it is in its ninth year. yet this is the year that we get
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the attention. acts of civility, and the things we talk about. kindness and empathy. they don't make the news. , they are necessarily not on anybody's radar. but bad behavior makes the radar. that is the role reversal that we have to figure out here. our media companies should be more responsible. facebooks,s, our and others that are out there. they need to be held accountable. we do not need to reward bad behavior. bad behavior gets the attention. carl: and you see the consequences of that.
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civility is that. it is how you bring people together. we have been working on that. you have been working phenomenally with this area. is it a losing battle, or are you optimistic? as we get to covid, maybe things will get back together? couple of signposts of optimism that you have for us? like everyoneven else during covid, frustrated and scared, all of the things that we withdrew and are still acts through, i watch the of civility occurring and were told about them, and that gives me great hope. cannot lose hope, and i will not lose hope on this country. we should not lose hope. we are better than that. we are much better than that.
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after minor selves that we have people inmore to rein and hold people accountable who misbehave in this arena. who are mean and people. it is unacceptable, and especially from our leaders, it is unacceptable. carl: people have all of these divisions out there. thaton churchill once said faith in humanity is usually reinforced by 10 minutes speaking with another person. at the end of the day, more brings us together then keeps us apart. how do we turn off the noise of separation and begin the process of, as he said, conversation or conversation? i see great frustration in this. i would suggest to everybody.
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let's have this discussion, but let's not doing it on twitter or facebook. let's talk face-to-face. when we can, or when we are in the same room, or on zoom. let's not rely. wear your mask. not carry this whole thing out on twitter or any element like that. let's start to meet face-to-face in some way, and really talk. we lost the art of conversation in many ways in this country. speaking at 162 letters is not a discussion. opinion we have lost the art of conversation. we have lost the art of being able to be civil and decent to people.
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any i tell the kids and kids, anybody who will listen, it takes much more energy to hate than it takes to be civil and kind. isn't that the truth? our ninth conference. next year will be our 10th year. when we convene next year, what is your hope for where america will be in 2021? mrs. mccain: i hope that we are coming out of this and a little bit of the degeneration that has occurred within our country with the issues that we have talked about. this time that we put away, and it will have to be a conscious decision from people.
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to not accept in any way, shape, or form, from our neighbors. it does not mean to start a fight. it goes back to who is the better person? are you going to be kind and show empathy? maybe someone who is frustrated or angry. call and help. involved ineing hurtful actions. people forget that words matter. words matter. everything that you do and say, words matter. be kind or cruel. which word matter? which word is more important, the cruel or the kind when? carl: going back to our audience question, about how to teach
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middle schoolers and high schoolers who are watching this. ,hat would you say to them given all the negative things that they hear, why should they feel that it will get better? that their generation will be better? mrs. mccain: one thing that you learned from our generation is that we make mistakes. we are not perfect. please understand how much we love this country, and we want to leave you a better country. to all that we do, listen what we say, not what we do. care verye that we deeply about the next generation. we want them to be much better leaders then we are in this day and age. carl: that is the optimism that has always powered america forward. forn, i want to thank you spending time with us today.
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animating the call for civility. for civic engagement. the civilization. the instability tears us apart. it is uncivilized to be uncivil. we would like to recognize community leaders like yourself who enhanced that basic idea of trying to bring us together. our first presented -- last year we presented our first award to recognize social efforts in campaigning civility. have an image of the award for this year. mrs. mccain: oh, very nice. it is my privilege and pleasure to present you with our
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as victornual civit award. that you are all doing to help make america a more civil country. sincerelyn: i appreciate it, and i am grateful that you are all doing this. more importantly, i'm grateful that you consider me worthy of this award. you encouraged me to continue to do what i do and do more of it. thank you. carl: the award will be sent to you where it will reside for three days. you can take it out of the box after that. thank you for being with us today. tonight we will have the one and only buys presidential debate on the campus of the university oah

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