By Theresa Camoriano
Civility is very undervalued. We may disagree with each other vehemently on many subjects, but, if we can treat each other civilly and with mutual respect, we can manage very well.
However, when that mutual respect and civility break down, bad things happen. If people consider themselves to be victims and believe that gives them the right to lash out at others, we are in trouble. As we have seen with the “black lives matter” movement, and with the anti-Trump protesters, people who feel aggrieved can move very quickly from throwing verbal bombs to throwing rocks and setting people’s homes and businesses on fire and even to murdering policemen and other innocent people.
Unfortunately, this disregard for normal, civil behavior is spreading throughout our society. We see it from people who use foul language and photos in social media, to gay rights activists, to the presumptive GOP nominee for president, who accuses his opponents of criminal activity, attacks their physical appearance, and otherwise ridicules and demeans good, decent people.
These days, nearly everyone seems to have a grievance and to be holding a grudge that they believe gives them the right to be vulgar and disrespectful to others. They seem to believe that vulgarity and lack of respect for other people represent strength. They do not.
Instead, they represent the sad and dangerous breakdown of our society. When we lose civility and mutual respect, we may quickly lose everything else we hold dear, including our property and our lives. There is only a thin line separating civilization from brutality and anarchy, and we would do well to steer clear of that line.
We have lived for so many years in a generally peaceful and prosperous nation, that we tend to take it for granted. We do not appreciate how fragile it is and how close we are to losing it.
It is not cute or clever to use foul language or hand gestures or to ridicule or demean other people. It does not represent strength. It is just sad and disgusting, like watching a society commit suicide.
(Theresa Camoriano is a patent attorney in Louisville, Kentucky.)
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