My good friend Sheryl has a post up from an article out of USA Today. It’s a top 25 list of things that have seemingly “disappeared” over the past twenty-five years. I chuckled at things like typwriters, Betamax, vinyl records, New Coke, etc., but when I got to #15 my amusement was abatted:
It can be rough out there — whether on TV, radio, the Web or at sporting arenas. Today’s discourse has plenty of “dis,” and it can be pretty “coarse,” too. And whatever happened to thank-you notes? We could go on. (emphasis mine)
It’s a pretty sad thing that an otherwise tongue-in-cheek list also points out a very hard truth. And with the dust-up at Nashville is Talking last week and the continuing fallout from it all, it seems to me that USA Today is not far off the mark with announcing that civility has indeed vanished.
Edited to add: In the comments, Jeanne M. & Slartibartfast have responded regarding being polite. I think there’s a difference between being polite and being civil. Being polite is easy, it’s teachable, and in many situations it’s expected. But to be civil is to respond to others with grace and dignity, to live out “the golden rule” and treat others as you would want to be treated, to have respect for humanity and the opinions and beliefs of others and not be reduced to name-calling and mud-slinging. We can all “be polite” but it’s civility that I see less and less of these days…especially here on the Internet.