October 3, 2012 Redux in 2016
Oct. 3 ~ Civility requires more of us than just winning… it requires connection with the other. #civility
And I don’t mean that quite as mystical as it might sound. I mean really, we are required to connect with the other person. It may be more fun to ridicule them or label them in ways that create distance between you, but that is not civil, not what brings ideas together, and certainly not what facilitates sharing and creation of new options and innovations.
Incivility says, “He’s Un-American!” or “She’s a Socialist!” Incivility believes that winning an argument at the cost of someone’s dignity is acceptable. Incivility divides so that we alone are good and right, and the other is evil and wrong.
Every four years in America we face “the most crucial election of our time.” Why do people speak like that? It’s simple. They want you afraid and prepared to win at all costs. When you are afraid that our society and civilization teeters every four years on the brink of destruction, then civil discourse sounds a bit passe and requires too much time to pursue. Instead, just rip and tear, and do what it takes to win.
That kind of thinking denies that you have anything in common with “the other,” the other person, the other party, the other idea, the other side. It takes a bit of effort, but we can step right over that kind of thinking. We can step right past it and realize vital connections that bring us together in ways that create friendship, collaboration and better options for our society. We are far more alike and connected than incivility can tolerate.