Incivility takes on many forms. It can be found in the gestures of a stranger amidst the morning commute, in a stolen moment at a music awards ceremony or on the lips of a Congressman on Capitol Hill. Is it possible to heal the character of America? The following are 10 thoughts on incivility in America:
1. Where there is no demand there will be a reduced supply.
2. One breaks the cycle of rudeness when one focuses on others rather than one's self.
3. It is possible to make clear one's position without seeking to destroy or defame another.
4. With public notoriety there should come responsibility and accountability.
5. Reclaim the art of listening and you will foster understanding.
6. We should seek to win over our opponent and at the very least gain his respect for the dignity with which we speak our convictions.
7. We should do what is right not because we seek self benefit but because we stand on high moral ground.
8. Respect for others begins with self respect.
9. "I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself." -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
10. In denouncing the rude and vile we join our collective voices to reclaim civility in America.
Civility goes beyond public apologies after the damage is done. It must emanate, not from polls and focus groups but rather from character and honor. Good people will sincerely disagree and the issues that divide us by their very nature impassion us.
The question is: How long will America tolerate hate and rudeness in our public dialogue? Perhaps the scriptures identify the need of the hour in the simplest of terms: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” (Matthew 7:12)
Rev. Bill Shuler is pastor at Capital Life Church in Arlington, Virginia. For more go to capitallifechurch.org.