To Be Civil or Not to Be Civil?
Civility in essence is the golden rule or ethic of reciprocity which essentially states one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. Civility is about more than just politeness, although politeness is a necessary first step. It is about disagreeing without disrespect, seeking common ground as a starting point for dialogue about differences, listening past one’s preconceptions, and teaching others to do the same.
Civility is the hard work of staying calm even with those with whom we have deep-rooted and fierce disagreements. But it is political, too, in the sense that it is about negotiating power such that everyone’s voice is heard, and nobody’s is ignored and civility begins with us. In the article American Jerk: Be Civil or I’ll Beat You to a Pulp Mr. Schwartz state “we have arrived at simultaneously the most and least civil moments in U.S. history.”(Schwartz 50) Schwartz statement is correct we live in a grey area in a nation that is extremely diverse, but just because someone has a different view point that doesn’t mean you should rip there head off and spit down their throat.
Social media has become an obsession of Americans. According to the fourth annual study on Civility in America: A Nationwide Survey, conducted by global public relations firm Weber Shandwick “for the first time since the survey began in 2010 the Internet/social media has risen into the top ranks of perceived causes of incivility. Of those who expect civility to worsen in the next few years, 34 percent blame Twitter – a significant rise from 2012.”(Shandwick 1) Cyber bullying has become a large issue in the U.S. In Amanda Todd’s video my story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self-harm, on YouTube is a horrible example of cyber bullying. When she was in the 7th grade, Amanda met a man in an online chat room who talked her into flashing him her breasts. A year later, the man contacted her on Facebook and asked her to ‘put on a show’ for him. He threatened to release a picture of her to everyone she knew if she did not. Amanda’s pictures were released and went viral. Other kids at her school saw the pictures and started to
bully and tease her. She became severely depressed, developed anxiety and began to use drugs and alcohol. A year later, after she changed schools and found a new group of friends, the man came back and created a Facebook page, using her topless photo as his profile picture. Her new friends started ignoring her, talking about her, and bullying her. She reveals her feelings in her video on YouTube, describing how she cried every night and lost all her friends. Amanda began cutting herself. Again, Amanda changed schools, where a boy flirted with her. As a result, girls from the first school came to her new school and beat her up, while people watched and filmed it. She reveals, “I was left all alone and left on the ground.”(Todd) She managed to find her way to the road, where she lay down in a ditch.
Her father found her there. When Amanda returned home, she tried to commit suicide by drinking bleach. Once again, she moved to a new city, but the bullying continued. Therapy, combined with anti-depressants, did little to help her depression and anxiety, and she continued to cut herself and attempted suicide again. In September 2012 Amanda wrote her story on flashcards and recorded it on YouTube. Amanda’s body was found at her home in British Columbia, Canada on the 10th of October, 2012. Civility begins with us.
I was a United States Marine for six years, I spent two years in Japan, and I also went to Korea, Germany, Philippines, Thailand, and Afghanistan. Everywhere I went there where places that Americans weren’t allowed. I went drinking with my roommate David Davis one night when I was in Japan. While we were walking to get a taxi I stopped because I needed to make a head call. I went into the first place I saw as soon as I walked in a man behind the bar made an X shape with his forearms and said “No Gaishin” which means no outsiders. Everywhere I have been people think of Americans as obnoxious drunks that are nosy and pick fights.
Most of what people from other countries think of Americans is based off of celebrities and service members. Then again it isn’t all bad when I was stationed in Korea I volunteered for a humanitarian mission at an orphanage. I played dodge ball with the kids and they showed me how to hand roll sushi. Civility begins with us.
Celebrities are an ongoing epidemic in America they do tasteless things just for publicity. For example in the ABC News broadcast Is Public Civility Gone? Kanye West, Serena Williams and even an U.S. Senator Joel Wilson are caught on national television being uncivil. This is a result of the people giving these celebrities the attention they want instead of making it clear that we
won’t tolerate them setting a bad example for the younger generations because civility starts with us. We need to seek wise leaders who will seek common ground among Americans instead of dividing us further for selfish gain. As citizens, we must embrace those who embrace ideas, thoughtfulness, civility and kindness to others no matter what their individual beliefs.
Schwartz statement is correct we have arrived at simultaneously the most and least civil moments in U.S. history. Every generation of Americans pushes the envelope to identify itself from previous generations. Which in turn have caused each generation to go to farther and farther extremes. Civility starts with each and every one of us, every American needs to stop worrying whether civility is an issue in the U.S. and ask themselves the question to be civil or not to be civil?
“Civility in America 2013” webershandwick.com Jack Leslie2013 Web.
http://www.webershandwick.com/uploads/news/files/Civility_in_America_2013_Exec_Summar y.pdf Is Public Civility Gone? Narr. Dan Harris. ABC News, 2009 YouTube.com My Story: Struggling, bullying, suicide, self-harm Amanda Todd 2012 YouTube.com 2012 Schwartz, Todd: “American Jerk: Be Civil or I’ll Beat You to a Pulp” utne.com Oregon Humanities 2009
Web. July-Aug 2009