South Carolina House Rep. Micah Caskey spoke in the Russell House Theater on Wednesday night in the second part of USC's Civility Speaker Series. The event was held in hopes of promoting civility on campus and reinforcing the tenants of the Carolinian Creed.
The event, held in the wake of the 2018 midterm election results, was hosted by the Leadership and Service Center and the Office of Academic Integrity, alongside the Carolina Judicial Council.
Caskey, a Columbia native, discussed the role of civility in modern-day American politics. He spent a significant portion of his lecture discussing the idea of perception versus reality in the political landscape.
“We think about, we feel most upset by those threats like school violence, terrorism, war," Caskey said. "I’m here to say that there is a disparity sometimes in the perception and the reality.”
Caskey argued that despite the conflict presented to the American people by news outlets and social media, we are living in a time of peace unparalleled in recent history.
Caskey concluded his lecture by reading and commenting on the Carolinian Creed.
“I think that really speaks to the imperative that I would argue exists,” Caskey said. “That we need civility, and that civility is about understanding and respecting the dignity of other people. It’s about discouraging bigotry. It’s about demonstrating concern for others and their well-being and their feelings. So, it’s up to you.”
Callie McLean, a fourth-year public health student and president of Carolina Judicial Council said Caskey was well-spoken and defused tension.
“I really liked how he incorporated the Creed and I thought it touched on all of the tenants that we talk about in CJC as well as just being students in general," McLean said. "I thought it was very timely, relevant given the events that have been happening."
Caskey’s remarks during the lecture were taken in by students with a wide-range of political beliefs, as was seen during the question and answer session held after the lecture.
Students questioned Caskey on matters such as being unable to voice their conservative beliefs to professors for fear of receiving a bad grade in addition to asking for clarification on points made during his lecture.
One of these students was second-year political science student Donovan Coker, who asked Caskey a question after the event had ended.
“I thought it was good, he connected his entire lecture and everybody’s questions at the end to the Creed and how we’re supposed to use civility in our day-to-day lives as students here at the university,” Coker said.
Another student, in light of Tuesday’s midterm elections, asked Caskey for advice on how to maintain an active role in the political scheme now that a candidate has been elected.
“Stay fired up. Whatever your persuasion is, giving a d--- matters. That is important. Whether we agree or not, is not important,” Caskey said. “How you have those discussions, and how you channel that energy, does matter.”