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Civility Is easy to Achieve

Written by Fay De Meyer-Aunspaugh  on Feb. 22nd, 2022

In a speech addressed the Harvard graduating class in 1968, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, wrote just 4 years after the death of her husband, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and later the death of Robert F. Kennedy, these words: “As young people, as students, your lives have been greatly affected by the loss of these champions of freedom, of justice, of human dignity and peace. In a power-drunk society where means become ends, and violence becomes a favorite past-time, We swiftly move toward self-annihilation. Your generation must speak out with righteous indignation, against the forces which are seeking to destroy us”. This speech assumed that the first amendment right of freedom of speech would prevail. 

However, it appears recently that only the kind of speech that fits a certain narrative will be allowed; on mainstream news, social media, magazines, digital, and paper news sources. Even when peer-reviewed factual news is reported, the ability to cut out and cannibalize just the tidbits that support a single side are used. This frustration at the lie is increasing the frustration among our citizenry and lowering the standard of civility in the United States of America. You might say, “what evidence do you have that supports your claims?” : lawlessness like no other time in my 67 years, division among races like pre-civil rights law signed by Lyndon B. Johnson, July 2, 1964. Further, by the demand of people to not buy from, or sell to, or acknowledge the speech of certain individuals. All while letting rabid, slanderous speech toward others be allowed, praised, and encouraged. This lack of civility is demonstrated in our classrooms, in our marketplace, in our capital by various nefarious characters shooting up, storming the cities of our nation, looting stores of hard-working independent owners, ambushing police, and out and out lying and spinning the lie as if it was not a lie. We saw a representative shot at a softball game, we have seen high-level people on both sides of the aisle do egregious illegal acts with children and no one is indicting them on it. We have seen a recent rollout by a Republican president of an experimental vaccine, while one side of the political spectrum says it is criminal to bring an untested vaccine to people without proper vetting. One side praising said, President. Once the presidency changes, the story flips. This kind of convenient truth type of politics leaves the working class frustrated and feeling helpless. We are not, read on.

We have over these past 54 years seen a shift in which party is pro-life, pro-choice, pro-unions, anti-unions, pro-big pharma, anti-big-pharma, pro-corporations, anti-corporations. It is difficult to tell who the “good guys” are anymore. And because of this lack of transparency, this lack of civility, and the inability of individuals to get out of their comfort zone we are experiencing a resurgence in civil unrest. 

This writer proposes that we reinstitute civility into our discourse beginning with: Senate, House, Presidency, Governors, and government from the top to the state worker, the line worker at the mill, the fast-food worker. That when someone opposes your viewpoint, you pause and ask: “Will hearing this information kill me?” “If I hear it, do I have to agree with it?” “Does hearing it make me better, or worse?” This kind of critical thinking is what is required. It takes more time upfront, but what if the populous were to demonstrate to the Government that we are doing our own thinking. And when they propose something, we don’t just say, ‘Hmm that sounds good?” Thus, accepting it like a mind vacant robot, but we ask some questions of them: for example, let’s say a new policy were posed to drop responsibility for all college tuition (which sounds great right) even make the pot sweeter, all college is free. What questions do we need to ask? 1) Nothing is free, who will pay for the college professors, the campuses, the administration of faculty, facilities maintenance, where will that money come from? Who would benefit from such a policy? Who would not benefit? What are the long-term implications of free college on the overall value of education in the United States? Who would engage in Jobs, that do not require college? For example, plumbing, electrical, digging ditches, fast food, etc. What evidence do we have that free college is beneficial? Are there countries that offer free college where when a person comes to the USA, they get to practice without having to do another degree? If so, where, and why are they successful. 

So, you see inherent in this one topic a wonderful civil debate non-violent, not enraged can occur and both parties can learn something if they are willing to engage. I have learned so much from my peers, my friends, and even my younger students without compromising my values, disrespecting them, or letting anyone disrespect me. We have taken an “Offense” because someone disagrees with us it is like, we’ve built, “A fence” where the other cannot connect, or reconcile because the “Offence” has made such a huge “Fence” that we cannot hear one another. I would love your feedback on this article. The goal of this article is to remind all of us to: be reconciled, be reunited, and to re-civilize ourselves. I’m willing, are you? 



Fay De Meyer-Aunspaugh 

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