Friday, September 18, 2009

Civility and Incivility

The news has been filled with incidents of incivility this week. To a certain extent, I think this is media hype. Someone is rude and gets more notice than he/she would get for ordinary, courteous behavior. Media hype, in other words.

Still there is a general lack of courtesy alive in the land and an over-sized measure of entitlement that seems to go with it. I think we all need to calm down and back up a bit.

Aristotle posited the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," hundreds of years ago. How different would our social discourse be if we were to follow it, even at this late date?

Instead of name calling, which has become our political way, if we were to take time and listen, then make our points of disagreement politely, would we make more progress on finding middle ground in our law-making? The problems that face us are huge and won't be solved by inflamed emotions and inflamed rhetoric.

I think this applies just as much to liberals not name-calling conservatives as it does the other way around. We should not hate our elected officials; it is unbecoming a democracy for its citizens to behave this way. On a practical level it leads to gridlock and the work that needs to be done, cannot be done.

I am grateful to live in a democracy.

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