The enemy is incivility

We are about to inaugurate a President who is the most unpopular President-elect in over forty years per more than one survey. Yet, he is our future President and our fortunes as a country are tied to this man.

I hope he is successful where he can truly help America and the planet. And, when he is headed down a perilous path, it is our right to take issue with his actions or lack of decorum.

But, it is our duty to raise issues with civility and a focus on the issues or the actions. The enemy is not our fellow neighbors who may passionately disagree with our position. We should treat each other with civility and expect the same in return. I welcome feedback that focuses on the issues and not me personally. Name calling and labeling are the tools of a lazy arguer or a child. When I see or hear labels, I am less impressed with the argument.

Earlier this week, we celebrated a true American hero for all races, Martin Luther King. He advocated for civil disobedience, when some of his proponents argued for more forceful action. He was heavily influenced by Gandhi, who practiced the same kind of discourse in both South Africa and India to successfully improve the rights of dark-skinned people in those countries.

It is more than OK to disagree with our leaders and each other. But, we must treat each other with dignity and respect. And, quoting an old boss, we have two ears and one mouth – we should use them in that proportion. Listening will significantly improve civil discourse.

18 thoughts on “The enemy is incivility

  1. All good points. I don’t find myself in disagreement with too many (I live in a blue neighborhood, in a blue city, in a blue state), but – when I do – I find that I am usually better off to just agree to disagree. No minds will be changed, although I do enjoy a polite discussion.

    • Janis, agreeing to disagree is a good way to end an impasse. A friend critiqued one of my emails, agreeing with some of it and disagreeing with some of it. But, she was worried she may have hurt my feelings. I told her to the contrary, I appreciated her comments, especially since they were offered with sincerity, civility and supportive arguments. Keith

    • Jill, sometimes it is harder to be civil than others, but we must try. As a parent, I have found my children listen better to calm, direct conversation. I think the same holds true for adults. Keith

      • Yes, I know you are right … but I would argue that we are not necessarily dealing with adults, but rather juvenile minds in the bodies of adults. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Jill, I hear you, but it also bothers me that a few anti-Trump folks are behaving boorishly as well. Stooping to an antagonistic level of discourse does not help. I do recognize the challenge where someone just won’t listen. Keith

  2. I love that, Keith! We don’t have the same opinion or agree in all and everything with each other but still can treat each other with respect. A leader may have power but he must never have the power to destroy the nation. Not the leader is the nation but the people!

  3. Dear Keith,

    Thanks for thoughtful blog. I am reminded of Mrs. Obama’s words. When some go low, we go high.

    President Obama has asked us to take time to listen to those who do not reflect our own points of view. Both sides love this country and want what’s best for it.

    I will be visiting someone in Washington DC who worked on DT’s campaign. I don’t mind and we frequently talk politics. But he is capable of arguing his point of view in a way that does not diminish the person who thinks differently. He knows his where he does not resort to slogans, talking points etc.

    Ciao, Gronda

    • Gronda, thanks for the added pearls of wisdom, courtesy of our current first family. We need more folks like your friend willing to listen to another’s argument. I hope you have good trip. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: I was tickled this morning. I send select posts weekly as emails to about 700+ folks including state, local and national politicians as well as friends and journalists. I sent a version of this post out and received some positive feedback. One person had a simple response – “nonsense.” I started to send a follow-up, but felt it would not be well received. I guess he did not like my reference to the unpopularity of the new President, which is noted in surveys. Surely, one cannot argue with being civil.

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