How About Some Civility? One Women’s View
December 13, 2012

by Laura L. Padgett, M.A.

TV election coverage now over… finally!

Okay, the invasive political ads are gone from our TV screens.  Our mail is lighter because there are less unwanted handbills.  Personally I have stopped frantically searching caller ID in order to avoid those scripted computer messages.

For many, the election results were disappointing to say the least.  In America we are allowed our passions around election events.  We are also allowed the expression of those passions.  That is not a bad thing.

Social Media Rage & Abuse

It seems that viewpoints have begun to smack of rage and abuse towards one another, especially on social media.  As I observed the methods, on all sides, of expressing disappointment, I was reminded of one glaring truth.  What we say in rage laced with profanity, no matter how we find ourselves justified, can only serve to divide and destroy.  If we continue in this vein we may find that the damage done is irreparable, rendering us incapable of restoring our nation’s greatest asset – strength in unity despite differences.

There are many questions left unanswered and issues left unresolved after the 2012 elections.  I believe we must now turn from bitterness and anger as we, the people, are left to pick up the pieces and put our broken, divided and limping country back together.

The end of this political season finds us in a volatile time with emotions running high.  And there is no hope for resolution if we cannot first return to a posture of civility with our leaders and with each other.  This is especially true on what is proving to be our most widely used tool for communication  – social media.

So how do we, as the grassroots of this nation, go about finding healthy outlets for our disappointments and try to be part of the solutions we are all seeking? Here are just a few suggestions to be examined if you are so inclined:

Participate in local government meetings.

1-  Find out who your representatives are in your local governments and who represents your state in US Congress.  Get on their e-mail list that periodically sends reports of their work in office.

2- Study public voting records of your representatives. Begin to look at issues from all sides.

3- If your political representatives hold town hall meetings, find out where/when they are held and attend.  If your representatives do not have these sorts of forums set up, try suggesting that they start.

Yes, I hear you when you say this takes great energy and is time consuming.  But does it take more time or energy than sitting on the Internet and waiting for a chance to pounce with your caps lock on and fingers on symbol keys

There is a lot of work to do in order to return to civility and try to turn our country around.  It is our work, all of us, and not just the “government’s.”  If we personally take the responsibility to posture ourselves with respect and encourage others to do the same, we will expedite our arrival at solutions to our problems.  If we do not take that responsibility, we may find ourselves in a divided country of warring factions.  We may render our country impotent due to anger that wounds and immobile due to damage we have done by failing to deal with that anger and move forward in positive directions.

For in the end, America will not be judged by which side of the aisle managed to avoid the fiscal cliff, who knew what, when and shoulders responsibility for Bengasi, or which branch of the liberal or conservative media was proven to be right all along. No, in the end, America will be remembered for how her people withstood painful and uncertain waves, amidst diverse opinions and then united, even in their differences, to weather the storms that enveloped change — Or not.



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