Civility definition: “Polite, intelligent, and respectful behavior.” Other definitions; Caring for one’s beliefs without degrading someone else in the process. In other words, “not my way or the highway,” or “giving you your rights at my expense.”
So, unfortunately, there is an increase in civility leaving the room. Social media is a prime example. Suppose you disagree with the subject matter; instead of an intellectual conversation and agreeing to disagree, there seems to be more rude, demeaning, insulting, aggressive language, and behavior.
More often than not, it seems that when uncivil behavior occurs and is not corrected or has consequences, others will most likely repeat it, and it turns ugly. When what used to be our role models in life, our teachers, celebrities, politicians, and sports stars, who behave uncivil (and get away with it) is often modeled and repeated by others and become “cool.”
A very close friend of mine and I sometimes disagree on a subject. Neither of us is possibly wrong, just different. In the end, we agree to disagree. We could yell, get angry, hold grudges as happens today, even in families, but we don’t. Different views should be able to be debated openly, honestly, and without maliciousness.
America has achieved the highest technology, education, human rights, and a high standard of living, but we are also becoming desensitized to bad behavior.
Many studies have compared students in the 1960s and ’70s and found that today’s students do not care about society’s approval of their behavior as they did a few generations ago, and in America today, our isolationism exists because of our technology, communications, and way of life; they cut out the interaction of personalization, so people become detached and self-interested.
That my friends is not good news for our society, and today, most people cannot hear an opposing view without resorting to blame hateful rhetoric, such as hate speech toward police officers, and even violence.
Unfortunately, this is not the America I knew. “If we cannot be civil, our quality of life deteriorates, society itself begins to fray, and democracy weakened. We get to the point where incivility escalates and crosses into violence.” (AARP Bulletin)…as we are witnessing.
Always remember, one person, one voice, one action, can make a difference. The neighborhood concept, the thank you note, the ethics, the manners, and the respect need to return to become the generous people, good neighbors, and, most importantly, the “America,” I knew before it is too late.