Quick! Make a New Year's resolution!
Happy New Year! While you're assessing how 2011 went and considering goals for 2012, why not think of civility?
We found an excellent article, published in Salida, Colorado's Mountain Mail, on this very subject.
"...Maybe, as we jot down our New Year's resolutions, we could add this one: ‘Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those present,’” writes Lee H. Hamilton in the article. “And then let's hope our political leaders add it to their lists, too.”
Hamilton — Director of The Center on Congress at Indiana University, and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for 34 years — knows what he's talking about when it comes to politicians and civility. That resolution he suggests comes from George Washington’s “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior” (something we’ve written about before).
“Too often in recent decades our politics have been strident, polarized, coarse — even mean,” Hamilton continues in the article. “We do not show respect to those present. We don't show respect to those who aren't present but, by virtue of television, newspapers and the Web, are just as tuned in as those who are there...And because we do not, we are all the poorer.”
We completely agree! We also agree with his reasons why it’s so important for politicians and civilians alike to practice manners.
“Incivility directly affects the quality and the quantity of the work of governance…it makes it virtually impossible to reconcile opposing views and, therefore, to meet our civic challenges,” he writes. “...Everyone in this country has a responsibility to foster a civic dialogue respecting the people with whom we disagree and advances the interests of the nation.”
And the more “ordinary citizens” can state their cases clearly without attacking those with whom they disagree, “the better our political system will work and the stronger our nation will be.”
We heartily suggest that you go here to read all of the article.
And have a wonderful 2012!