Richard Weirich

Whatever Happened to Civility

Since the concept of CIVILITY has somehow been lost, here is the definition: formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.

Richard Weirich, Fall 2015
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The synonyms that go along with CIVILITY are also a forgotten commodity:  courtesy · courteousness · politeness · good manners · graciousness · consideration · respect

I can already hear the words of response to this soapbox article. “Shut up old man. Nobody cares about what you have to say anymore.”

Recently, someone attempted to persuade me that words don’t mean the same now as they did in “my day.” Hmmm. “My day.” So, am I to understand that these days in which I live are no longer mine?

Case in point– the F word. It means something entirely different in today’s culture, or so I was told. But if the meaning has changed does that mean that it is now a word of respect, graciousness, and politeness?

Then there was that Republican debate a few nights ago. After seeing the CNBC commentators in action I expect that we can see the replay on an episode of “When Animals Attack.”

There was considerable attention given to the liberal Mainstream Media in that debate. No argument here. But let’s be honest, and I’m about to step into it here.  The Conservative Media is just as rabid in their approach.

Take it from an old radio guy- controversy drives ratings. Nice doesn’t win. Oh, my gosh. Am I about to defend those Muppets at CNBC. They were just doing their job. CIVILITY for them would mean the unemployment line.

Don’t think for a minute that I’m laying all the blame on the news/talk media. How about the entertainment that we’re bombarded with everyday? In-your-face sells. Anger, hostility, darkness, mayhem, vulgarity, and dirt keeps us on the edge of our seats.

And in sports- deflategate. Yeah, that’s the ticket. If you’re old enough to remember Howard Cosell, we hated that guy. But everybody watched. By today’s standards he would now be just one of the gang.

Then there’s social media. Uh, oh. Surely I’m not going there. Just read a story on about a former Teacher of the Year who has resigned her job. OK. Suppose it’s newsworthy. But then there are all those hate riddled comments allowed via social media and the internet. I know. I don’t have to read them.

Sorry. Just don’t think all this hate is good for any of us. Just for the record- all Christians are not bad and neither are police officers. It’s a sad day when you have been so brain-washed that you can’t tell the difference between right and wrong or good and bad.

Aretha Franklin had it right: R-E-S-P-E-C-T!

So did my grandmother: “I’ll wash your mouth out with soap if you say those words.” No, she never did but I did lick a bar of soap to see what I might be getting myself into.

And whoever said: “treat others the way you want to be treated,” was spot on.  In other words, the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

At the end of the day…I still prefer the old way. So, go on with your in-your-face hostility, anger, hate, and disrespect. This old guy thinks you’re on a slippery slope to ruin. But as for me, I’m going to treat you with CIVILITY.  That’s the way we do things IN THE VALLEY OF HOPE.

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