The age of civility is over. It has been replaced by a new way of being that includes nasty online insults, unfriending longtime friends on Facebook and vicious yelling between people. Do not get me started on family get-togethers like Thanksgiving.
I am afraid the new way will come to fierce whirlwind as we approach the presidential election, and people will get hurt or killed. Have you been nasty to someone because of their political beliefs or because they did or did not wear a mask? Have you seen others become violent? Are you hesitant or afraid to place a political sign in your yard or bumper sticker on your car? I am.
How did this happen? We cannot place all the blame on a president or a group of people. Ultimately, we should blame ourselves. We have stopped listening to each other and started reacting.
We walk around and instantly push our beliefs onto others wherever we go, like we know everything. Take a moment. Instead of disagreeing, just listen to another person’s opinion and see the humanity in them. Hear their story and understand it through their eyes without judgement. Thank them for sharing their story and for allowing you to listen.
This is civility and it is how we grow as people and as a community – with love, understanding and compassion. We have more in common than not. And we gain nothing by trying to prove each other wrong. Stop discussing a topic in order to prove someone wrong.
It is not entirely our fault, though. Everything around us is pushing us to be uncivil. Most of the national news is heavily opinionated. The muck has even seeped into our social media platforms. We cannot escape it.
It was not always like this. In 1949, the FCC implemented the fairness doctrine that required news broadcasters to report issues in a way that was honest, equitable and balanced. This policy was eliminated in 1987 and well, here we are. The choice is up to you. Is the age of civility over?
To submit a letter
Send by email to email@example.com and include name and hometown. Letters never publish anonymously. Letters are limited to 500 words on topics of public interest and may be edited for content and length. Writers are limited to one letter per month. Letters may be rejected from readers with no ties to Northeast Georgia or that address personal, business or legal disputes. Letters not the work of the author listed or with material not properly attributed will be rejected. Letter writers may hyperlink portions of their letters to sources of their information. Letters and other commentary express the opinions of the authors and not of The Times.