The way of the land, a euphemism for proper manners, has fallen out of practice in many circles. Today's Times reports that the recent Civility Project is a bust. The project was started last year by Mark DeMoss and Lanny Davis, a Republican and Democrat. Last year they asked all governors, senators and representatives to sign the following pledge:
I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.Only three signed the pledge: Senator Joseph Lieberman, independent of Connecticut; Representative Frank Wolfe, Republican of Virginia; and Representative Sue Myrick, Republican of North Carolina. DeMoss remarked: "Whether or not there’s violence, whether or not incivility today is worse than it’s been in history, it’s all immaterial. It’s worse than it ought to be." That is exactly the point. Our uncivil discourse is not the cause of the near assassination of Representative Gabrielle Giffords (may she soon be granted refuah shleymah) and the murder of six others (may their memories serve as a blessing). The cause of this heinous act is Jared Lee Loughner and his ideology of hate and violence. There are far too many in this world who believe that murder and terrorism are the answers. If we can't keep such people from finding inspiration on the internet we certainly should keep them from too easily finding the tools of violence, in particular automatic weapons and explosives. (I am thinking here of Timothy McVeigh y"s as well.)
I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them.
I will stand against incivility when I see it.
On the other hand our inability to debate and disagree with each other leads only to our current inability to accomplish anything meaningful. Republicans and Democrats are more interested in seeing each other fail than seeing America succeed. Once we stop relishing in the failure of others and working instead towards our community's success will we achieve greatness. Until then we will continue screaming at each other and every two years or four grabbing power from each other. This nation's success is in the hands of all.