Everywhere you look in the media the headlines are full of it. Incivility Reigns! Bullying! Cyber bullying! Mean Girls Rule! All there on the front page, all there on the splash, all there waiting for you to click on to see who said what about whom. Never mind if any of its true, never mind for any of it matters to anything more than some imagine scorecard written in some media office pool. But we’re constantly berated, and constantly told that we’ve allowed incivility to overwhelm our Republic. We elected President Trump and created the Republic of Hate, all incivility for everyone all the time.
The only problem is it’s not true.
Every book on etiquette I have ever seen has had some version of the phrase; the social norms today are much looser than they were in our parents’ time. This is way of saying all the social norms are out the window, and the world is going to hell in a hand basket. This is also a common refrain when people talk about civility. I find this kind of incredible, but of course completely credible because so few people understand our history.
We are in a golden age of Civility, even though we are also at an all-time high for the use of George Carlin’s 7 words you can’t say. It was not that long ago that mob violence common occurrence in our country. Levels of incivility in our nation are on the decline people actually get along a lot better. There is a lot more Harmony than people give credit to because “War Imminent” headlines sell more newspapers than “Peace Breaks Out.”
It is up to all of us to do our little bit to spread Civility and to not make incivility profitable. Don’t get me wrong I’m not thinking being civil is easy, and frankly I’ve had my own lapses. But if we remember our history, we will see what happens when we allow those dogs to get off the leash. Incivility is detrimental to our beliefs about who we are and who we want to be. Practicing Civics with Civility is the main way that each of us can do our share to create that more perfect union.
President Worcester Tea Party
Pete has chosen to allow me to post here weekly. I look forward to posting next Wednesday.
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