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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Death of Civility

People tend to remember where they were when big events in their lives happen. Everyone knows where they were when JFK was shot and when the Cuban missile crisis ended. I was in a marina when Elvis died and in the student union of Essex community college when Reagan was shot, although that wasn't too hard to remember, that's the only part of the college I ever saw! I don't recall though where I was when civility died?

Why are we no longer civil to each other? Did Congress pass a law that said from this day forward we shall no longer be nice to each other? What about manners? Was that mandated out of society at some point, possibly while I was mourning the passing of the King? It must have happened that way, because it is as dead as our founding fathers.

It was definitely a generational death. The members of the "Greatest" generation still keep it alive. You hear 85 year old men say thank you in a store while the 20 year old clerk barks "NEXT"! When is the last time you saw an elderly man not hold the door for someone? My generation, the baby boomers, we let civility die because it was easier then trying to save it. Yes, I made the tail end of the boomer generation, where is my AARP card? We don't always say thank you, excuse me, and please. I had training in my job that told me not to open doors for the opposite sex, that was sexual harassment. Generation X is too busy texting about who slept with who on one of the reality shows to do much talking. When they do talk , most of the time it's so wrought with poor grammar and expletives, you could hardly confuse it with civility.

So who is to blame for this murder? Let's blame it on the kids, that's nice and easy. The old people don't like us because we're young, it's their fault! It certainly isn't my fault! I've got news for you Sunshine, we all did it. The elderly still do it, so they didn't let it die, right? Wait a minute, who didn't teach the boomers? The X'ers did it! We tried to teach them, they refused! Remember when you got you first job, probably retail or McDonald's, or something along those lines. You were expected to know how to be polite, how to be appropriate, both in apperance and actions. Do they still expect that? Do we still teach that?

I for one refuse to go quietly into that good night! Did we give up when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Nay I say! I learned from parents, who to this day appreciate good manners and kindness, and both practice same. Although I choose to not partake of much of the world, I do know to conduct myself in a courteous, polite way, and do so always. My children have been taught the same things I was, and they had better do the things we expect of them. So far they have and we are very proud of them. They say charity begins at home, so does the teaching and use of manners. Stop being a rude moron and do what is expected of you and the world will be a better place for us all!



Jackie said...

Here! Here! What perplexes me most is the reaction from other people when you hold the door for them or say "hello" to them as you pass them on the street or help them pick up something that they dropped. I always get such a good feeling when I do the littliest things for people. Maybe if we all started out "little" the world would see some "BIG" changes!

Slammermike said...

Amen to that.

I don't know when civility died but I missed the funeral. I know we have tried to teach our kids to have manners and respect for others also.

I think things took a turn for the worse when people turned into the "Me" generation. People have become self centered and only interested in their own self gratification.
People are losing the sense of community and team work.

Look at the organizations that used to flourish and do so much good for the community. The VFW, American Legion, Knights of Columbus, The Elks, The Moose, The Lions Club, The Optimist, The MLEO. If you look at the membership of these organizations the average age is in their 60's or better.

People don't join like they used to. The only time people tend to join is if there is something in it for their benefit. (Such as a labor group) Then they only join to take and not give to the group to make it stronger. Again it is about the "Me". They believe that membership is enough.

Unfortunately they are missing out on the best part of the organization, the camaraderie and friendships that will last forever.

They will never know the good feeling or satisfaction of giving to the good of the group. To accomplish a project or attain a goal for the good of the group not the individual.

They'll never know the good feeling of being there for friends and knowing that those same people will be there for you no matter what.

The "Me" generation seem only interested in their toys and how much they can get for themselves. People matter not things. Now it seems the "Me" people care more about things and treasure their things more than their friends. It is their loss and society's loss that has helped lead to the Death of Civility.

Fortunately there are a few good people left in this world that still believe if manners and doing the right thing.

karylc said...

That "random acts of kindness" fad was a cool thing. I still try to practice it every day.