Incivility

To the editor:

Incivility. I would prefer to be writing about civility but, unfortunately, I am not.

I sometimes find the lack of civility in our society appalling and there are so many examples: road rage, parents yelling at officials during their children’s games, fights and shootings, bullying (and cyber-bullying), and intolerance of race and religion and gender have all become too common. In addition, there are neo-Nazis and KKK members marching and creating incendiary conditions that too often suggest violence. We must include the inability to listen to another person’s point of view, constantly interrupting others, swearing and name calling, attacking someone’s political views, and you can probably think of even more examples.

According to a front page article in Sunday’s StarTribune, incivility has spread to our state fair over political issues. Verbal assaults have occurred at both the DFL and IR booths. State fair attendees who wore buttons and t-shirts with political statements also suffered numerous critical comments from other folks. Perhaps these are rare instances but what has happened to Minnesota Nice?

Some people have suggested that our politicians have set poor examples for the rest of us today. It does seem that very few politicians are moderates who try to cooperate across that proverbial aisle. Are politicians simply more interested in promoting their own party or more worried about job security than solving our state and national problems? Perhaps, as a result, governments don’t seem to be accomplishing much of late. Most of us heard those words from John McCain saying in the Senate, “We’re getting nothing done, my friends. We’re getting nothing done.” Perhaps the examples set by politicians have crept into our culture. Or is it vice versa?

What can those of us who agree with my premise do about it? Statistics can easily be found that many Americans are worried about the loss of civility. We can all work on being more civil. So, if you disagree with someone, don’t start an argument. Be a good listener and don’t interrupt. Watch our own children and family members to constrain their worst behavior. Don’t raise your voice, swear, or call others nasty names, especially in a public place. Show some respect for others. Think twice before sending that distasteful email. Reflect on what causes you to get angry and how you anger other people who don’t agree with you. Smile more, shake hands, and say please and thank you. Let’s not forget the Golden Rule.

Lowell Liedman

New Ulm

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