Little Word: Big Problem

Google the word civility in the Google News search bar and you will come up with 7,699 hits between the dates of January 13 to January 18.  That’s a lot of news on a little word.  It’s a little word but a big problem.

Over seven thousand choices but I have picked three favorites. An op-ed piece by David Brooks, a letter to the editor of the NY Times, and lastly a Times article looking at hope in the midst of tragedy.

Tree of Failure:  This op-ed piece speaks to the places humility and acknowledgment of failure play in the dialogue process and the political process.  It’s the check and balance system that reminds the writer or speaker they don’t know everything and  perhaps haven’t  looked at the other side of the issue, forgotten a crucial talking point or maybe haven’t  checked all the facts. That “even if you are at your best, your efforts will still be laced with failure. The truth is fragmentary and it’s impossible to capture all of it ” and that  civility comes “from a sense of personal modesty and from the ensuing gratitude for the political process”.

Here’s my take: If able to admit to failure and display a fraction of humility, the voices of both public people and the media could become voices of substance and value.  When unable to show these characteristics they become white noise (annoying when I focus on it so better to ignore and sleep through it) The problem – failure and humility doesn’t sell and is rarely shared as a Facebook status.

Civility Among Centrists:  This letter to the editor argues that it’s the far sides of the spectrum that are unable to be civil.  That those more moderate “engage in moral and political discourse with civility”.  The words and tone of the letter are compelling and an advertisement for a more centrist view.

My last pick and the one that needs no words to explain why is the story from Time Magazine “Tucson’s Rays of Hope: Empathy, Civility and Donated Organs Restore the Sense of Sight for Two Children”.

Take a look and see what you think – if you have articles that have caught your eye and mind on civility be sure to give the link in the ‘Comments’ section.