13 December 2011

Memorandum on Civility in Personal and Public Discourse

To be frank about it, the biggest worry I have isn't the deficit in the U.S. or the debt crisis in Europe.  It isn't about immigration, whether legal or otherwise.  It's not about the continued instability in the middle east, or regarding the oil supply.  Now, don't get me wrong:  These are all extremely serious issues, every one of them.  I can think of still others that are potentially very grievous, such as international terrorism, or whether Iran or North Korea are about to go nuclear.  In all these things and still others, there are many people who are in harm's way on a daily, even continuous basis. 

But you know what often worries me still more, what causes me to sometimes flip the channel when I watch the news?  It is that as a nation, we are less prone to seeking common ground when faced with challenges, and more prone to frank hostility and knee-jerk thinking.  I am even concerned that the very fabric of our nation is beginning to unravel after this manner, to the point where we even take our Constitution and freedoms for granted, or worse, as a thing of naught.  This is not to single out any group or political party for either ridicule or praise.  The truth is, I've even fallen into knee-jerk thinking on occasion.  But I strongly believe the time has come, and is arguably overdue, where we look ourselves in the mirror and resolve to do better in our interactions with others, beginning with our spouse, our children, our extended families and neighbors, and then, if we dare, in the political realm as well, even on the world stage. 

For I believe you can find common ground whenever possible without compromising one's own values.  I believe it is possible to be respectful and that doing so is not a sign of weakness.  I believe it is possible to state a view, even forcefully, and yet not raise one's voice or talk over others.  I believe it is possible to even do this when the other side isn't attempting to abide by these principles. 

I hope and pray that from this point hence, I will go forward with the resolve to just a little bit better, and more after the pattern of our Creator, in all of my own interactions and dealings.  And I will continue that prayer with respect to others until it covers the entire Earth.  And that pretty much concludes what I have to say tonight.  Ultimately, may God bless us all.  --SJR