Civility Lost

I read a quote by EmmyLou Harris that caught my attention:

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

I agree. It is a sad fact that even as I write this I feel like a minority. I know I’m not, but voices like mine are drowned out by screaming, crass people. Public displays of rudeness and anger, like we see on TV, is not far off of our daily reality. With an unshakeable belief that they are important and not bound by any social mores these types of people are proudly pissed off. Civility? What civility?

In my opinion, without civility we tear at the fabric of our collective well-being. When we cease to care about the feelings of others, we risk isolation and can fall prey to narcissistic thinking. Negative energy flows like lava, scorching everything in its path. I truly believe that the more we move away from consideration and respect, at home and in public, the sicker we will become.

iStock_000016411581XSmallThe absence of consideration may be best illustrated in our interactions with the elderly. I’ve noticed things in the last few years that sometimes make me want to cry. I’ve seen the elderly almost get knocked over by people rushing by them; too busy to care. Doors have slammed back on their fragile, extended arms because the person before them did not even think to hold the door open. Frustration is demonstrated by looks, huffing or comments when they can’t use machines fast enough or their talking extends beyond an ‘acceptable’ length.This pains me. I fear that when that generation dies so too will many things that grounded us.

I can already feel my desire to detach myself from certain things and people simply because I can no longer find the will to excuse what I see.  I worry that my world will be laden with more and more demeaning language. That I will be forever looking for eye contact from a person who is transfixed on a screen. I wonder if eventually I will stop hearing “Please,” and “Thank you” or “Excuse me.”

In consideration of the quote by Ms. Harris I wonder, “If we don’t get our civility back what kind of trouble will befall us?”


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