There’s a new virus attacking the country. In my opinion, the lack of civility has become a full-blown pandemic. I see this new virus everywhere—in the news, on the road, in grocery stores, in the workplace, and even in campgrounds. Can this pervasive illness kill our society? Our country? Should we be concerned about it?
The “lack of civility disease” has distinct symptoms:
- Knee-jerk, hostile reactions before thoughtful consideration is given
- Name-calling, demeaning or belittling of others
- Frequent use of disrespectful and/or threatening words or attitudes
- Inability to sympathize or empathize with others
- Rude words and behaviors explained away with excuses or self-justification
When the COVID pandemic first began, it seemed isolated to a small, remote area—way over there, far away. Remember watching the numbers? Each day, news reports included the number of new COVID cases and deaths due to this disease. As long as the numbers in our immediate community stayed low, few people became concerned. But as the sickness spread, it soon became evident that COVID could not be contained. The numbers skyrocketed and people everywhere began to panic.
Just like COVID, lack of civility is very contagious. At first, loud, obnoxious behavior seemed relatively isolated, even contained. But just as with the pandemic, one rude word caused another. Then another. One brutal act seemed to lead to another and yet another. Vitriol spiraled out of control. The lack of civility spread. Now it’s everywhere.
Stop the spread
No doubt today’s media platforms help to further our current social pandemic: lack of civility. From politicians to movie stars to a single driver with road rage, we see symptoms of uncivil words and actions on a click-by-click basis. How can we stop the spread? What can we do when we’re constantly hammered with examples of this pervasive societal sickness?
It’s not easy. Doing the right thing never is. We all can stop the spread if we make an effort to do the right thing: Be civil. Or as the dictionary defines it: courteous and polite.
Be civil. Even if the other person is rude and loud and belligerent. It’s not easy, but in my opinion, it’s what must happen to restore healthy civility to our country.
A soft word turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1
[Feel free to leave a thoughtful, civil comment, i.e., please don’t prove Gail’s point.]