O, Civility, Where Art Thou?

What has happened to us as a society? Why are we, generally speaking, no longer civil to each other?

Look at the last 10 days or so. Kanye West’s tirade in the midst of Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech, Joe Wilson’s outburst during the president’s speech, Serena Williams’ obvious crude language directed toward the referee, Federer’s display the following day. 

Since all or most have apologized, it seems they knew they were out of line - at least after the fact.

For decades, presidents have talked about the need for civility. So have others – poets, authors, entertainers and more. Look at the following quotes:

As citizens we have to be more thoughtful and more educated and more informed. I turn on the TV and I see these grown people screaming at each other, and I think, well, if we don't get our civility back, we're in trouble. Emmylou Harris

There can be no high civility without a deep morality. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Civility costs nothing, and buys everything. Mary Wortley Montagu
All of civility depends on being able to contain the rage of individuals. Joshua Lederberg

When once the forms of civility are violated, there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency. Samuel Johnson

Just a few years ago, the SC Supreme Court adopted an “oath of civility” that attorneys are required to take to practice law in South Carolina. How in the world did we get to such a point that the court has to require such an oath?

Is it television? Movies? Is it lifestyle? Is it the lyrics in today’s music? Is it the mudslinging in politics? Is it the 24-hour coverage of everything under the sun? Is it a feel-good society or a lack of personal responsibility in society?

Is it money or greed?  Is it the need to win - at sports, politics or whatever?

I don’t have the answers but certainly do welcome your comments, thoughts and ideas.


magiceye said...

a quick fire method of coping with frustration. everything these days has to be 'instant'! nobody has the time to spare for genuine or otherwise civility. sad but true.

Syd said...

I think that there are no consequences any more for being rude. I was taught to be polite and courteous. I still practice that. There are others who undoubtedly were taught but somewhere along the line perhaps it's forgotten that we treat others as we would like to be treated.

I read your op-ed piece in the Post and Courier. I do think that Joe's decorum was terrible. And he went to Washington and Lee in VA (my home state). I wonder since you know him what on earth was he thinking?

Mystery Man said...

that is a good question. It seems as if in this day of everyone being paranoid about hurting someone's feelings or there being too much violence and sex out there, civility has been forgotten. Not really sure why this is, but it is not a welcome trend in my book. Maybe i'm just old-fashioned in my upbringing or something, but I was always taught to treat others the way you want to be treated.

Sandee said...

I wish I had an answer to this question. I don't. It's awful too. :(

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

I agree with Syd... ...seems to be no consequences for rudeness.

It is a matter of common courtesy that we need to remember and hopefully pass on to our children, so that perhaps, being civil will not be totally forgotten.

That is why it is so pleasant to watch old TVland reruns...like Mayberry RFD and Little House on the Praire, etc...

Blessings & aloha!

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