Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer – Civil Discourse

HRW was able to sit down for a chat with the Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer

“One of the biggest problems that we have in our country is a lack of civility and a lack of respectful and effective communication.  We have become smitten with social media to the point where people don’t talk to one another anymore; they have more comfort in texting.  We have certainly lost the human touch.   

I also attribute the lack of civility to social media, since this is where people feel that they can say anything online, regardless of whether or not they hurt someone else’s feelings.  We have become desensitized and ineffective communicators.  

In terms of politics, people don’t trust government anymore and they feel they can say or do whatever they want in the public square.  Part of the job of politicians is to restore that confidence, but right now, we have gridlock.  This is what I like to call “bipartisan bureaucratic malpractice”.  Taking a look back to the day where President Reagan and Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill would sit down over a glass of scotch and agree on about 80% of what they discussed, that is far better than anything that is happening in today’s world. 

The true secret, whether it be in politics or our day-to-day lives is that we have to focus on what we have in common, not what divides us.  There are too many people today that are single issue voters.  When they head to the polls, some will vote for someone because they agree with that candidate on one particular issue, but that doesn’t necessarily translate to having a successful representative.  

One of the problems that I think we have is that when you run for office, you are supposed to be a politician, but once you are elected to that office you are supposed to become a public servant.  However, what continues to happen today is that a lot of folks don’t make that transition and they continue to stay in political mode.  Ultimately, politicians 

need to start doing what is right, not what is political.“