Thursday, March 25, 2010

Civility, I Miss You

Forgive me a mini rant. Lately I feel like an alien in America. The yelling and screaming, the ranting and raving, the threats and actions of a very vocal ill-mannered few have me very unsettled. What has happened to civility?

I've always been proud to be a citizen of a democratic nation where free speech is allowed even encouraged. Usually the debate is lively but respectful. Lately respect and civility have been missing. It's been a long, steady deterioration of manners and a slow rise of distortion of facts delivered in a hysterical tone. The reasons for acceptance, even glorification, of such behavior are many. Personally I count among them the 24 hour news cycle - in the constant search for something to report news writers make bad behavior newsworthy. The rise of the reality show has celebrated the ignorant and glamorized the obscene. The rational that the end justifies the means has encouraged the selfish behavior of everything from the large financial corporations to politicians to celebrities and sifted down to be accepted by too many Americans. One of my least favorite phrases is "it's not personal, it's business." Sorry if it affects me, it is personal.

People we are better than this. I know there are many others out there who feel as I do; who decry the tone of the debate, particularly from the so called leaders. I watched on the Today Show this morning where John McCain was given ample opportunity to call for a stop of the outrageous threats and violence against some Democrats who voted for the health care bill. He wouldn't make a simple statement denouncing such behavior. Instead he used the opportunity to trot out the some of the same old tired political say-nothing blather. Come on, we should all be saying NO to hysteria and acting out.

Please, let's keep it simple and respectful - bring back civility. Insist on civility from our leaders, educators and friends. End the hate talk.

PS. Let me state quietly and unequivocally to the Republican leaders who claim that they represent the majority of Americans, the majority elected the Democratic administration and Congress. If these elected officials don't measure up, they will not be re-elected. That is the way the majority talks.
I'm proud to have voted for the men and women who finally voted for a health care bill. It may not be perfect but it is a step forward, finally.

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