Monday, March 7, 2011

Civility in America


Last time we talked about being sweet to others, trying to make their day better. Continuing along those same thoughts, a poll appeared on www.aarp.org/bulletin, March 2011, which asked “Do you think Americans are civil to each other?”

Merriam Webster online Dictionary defines civil as adequate in courtesy and politeness: mannerly. If asked “Do you think Americas are civil to each other?” think about how you would respond.

Here are some results of this poll, which was a survey of 1,006 adults age 18 and older conducted by SSRS January 19-25, 2011. Of those ages 18-49, 69% answered yes and 31% answered no. Those ages 50-plus answered 73% yes and 25% no. So where did your answer fall among these numbers? Combining the no answer percentages of both age groups, 56% think Americans aren't civil to each other. I don’t claim to be a scientific poll analyzer, but how sad is that?

This same poll asked which of these have a positive influence on civility: popular music, politicians, cable TV, schools, cellphones, talk radio, and social media. The most positive nod went to schools and the lowest went to politicians. Politicians—our leaders—garnered the lowest endorsement for having a positive influence on civility. Apparently these people polled think our leaders aren’t giving us the best examples to follow in being courteous and polite to each other.

Many people, even those who don’t go to church that much, know the Bible story of Job and what an awful time he had. Talk about civility—Job’s so-called friends came to him but only to criticize. Job held fast in his hope that God would make it all better eventually, which he did.
  • “He will yet fill your mouth with laughing, and your lips with rejoicing.”(Job 8:21)
We can only hope people’s opinion of civility among us all will improve. That won’t be possible until people begin to treat one another more mannerly—from our houses to the state houses.
  • What do you think--on this list or not--has a positive influence on American civility?
Till next time … keep on smiling.

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