Monday, June 27, 2011

Civility, Politics, and the American Public

This post is in response to some recent comments from some readers.  "Basement Boy" - whomever he is -  is worried about how to handle discussions about politics - especially when he does not "agree" with the other party.  That reminded me of a recent survey I read about.  According to Politico, a recent survey of 1000 Americans concludes that 80% of those surveyed have, in the last year, been victims of incivility and one in 10 admit that they have been rude themselves.  (Survey: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/57304.html )

I thought it was very interesting that 90 percent of the people surveyed say that it really matters to them how the candidates who will be running in th next elections behave and treat people in debates with whom they disagree - that the candidate's tone of civility is very important. But only 55 percent of the people say they care about the party to which the candidate belongs.

So, when you're having those political debates with people (I rarely become involved in these because it just gets too messy), watch that YOU are being civil and are giving the other person in the conversation or debate room to speak his/her opinions  - or you might be thought of as just as uncivil as some of these candidates!

Another interesting fact:  people surveyed said that out of 25 American "Institutions" Political Campaigns are the least civil and Dinner Conversation is the most civil.  So Basement Boy, why don't you just stick to Dinner Conversation - especially dinner conversation without politics.  It sounds like you may not be cut out for political banter with friends!

And if you're rolling your eyes about this whole manners thing, take a good look at this quote from Edmund Burke a friend just sent me today. She said she was a teacher in NYC and used to keep this up on the chalkboard:

Manners are of more importance than laws... Manners are what vex or soothe, corrupt or purify, exalt or debase, barbarize or refine us, by a constant, steady, uniform, insensible operation, like that of the air we breathe in.


Have a great week!  And remember to order some placemats as your summer hostess gifts!!!!  :)

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