Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Civility Movement: Part One

Good evening, Castaways.

I trust your Holiday season is finding you in receipt of a thousand good things.

Myself, I have been blessed.

In starting the Civility Movement, we must realize that civility must start with us. We ourselves must 
take upon our own shoulders the burden of living at peace with our brothers and sisters.

I was once involved in a discussion with someone who was spewing some vitriol against another person with whom they disagreed. The other person wasn't even there to defend themselves, but that didn't stop this person from accusing them of all kinds of hateful; motives, calling them name after horrible name.

When I reminded them that it seemed odd for the "Party of Tolerance" to be using such inflammatory language against another, they responded with "I have no tolerance for the intolerant."

I was stymied there. This person, otherwise kind, was giving themselves a free ride to be a blatant hypocrite, hiding behind clever prose to throw their hate grenades at someone they didn't even know. Guys, get real here. We're either going to get along or we're not. If you take tolerance seriously, then apply it to everyone, not just those with whom you agree.

To paraphrase The Wise One, "If you only love those who love you, what is that worth? Even Nazis and the KKK love those who love them. Love your enemies, and bless those who wrongfully use you." (Luke 6:27-36). Do you want to really be the better man (or woman?) Do you really want to prove you're on the side of right? Love that person who is behaving like an insufferable twit. Pour peace on them. You may find yourself diffusing the situation and making a new friend.

So Part One of restoring civility is to be one who makes peace. Speak from love. No, you don't have to plant a wet smooch on everyone you meet. No, you don't have to give up your responsibility to defend yourself and your family from evil. But you do have the responsibility to give someone the benefit of the doubt if they simply disagree with you.

This country's leaders have failed miserably in their responsibility to lead by example. Shame on them all. Shame on their hypocrisy. Shame on their rhetoric. Shame on their selfish power grabs, their lies and half-truths. Shame on their bickering and petty quarrels in public forums.

Let's allow ourselves to walk different paths from theirs. The time has come for us to be the leaders we need to be, to bring our country back together, to heal the wounds of the past and forge a new, unified nation. Even if we don't agree on everything, we can at least agree to disagree, and be at peace with each other. It's the least we owe our countrymen.

Let other nations rage. Let them crumble if they must. Let us rise above worthless debates over moot points. Let us debate with thoughtful point-counterpoint the issues that try to divide, and let us overcome strife with peace.

We have to start somewhere. Let's start with recognizing that each and every one of us is a creation of a God who values no one above another. And you and I do not have the right to belittle anyone created of God. That's an insult to Him who made that other person, regardless of whether you think they're a jackwagon.

Can we all get along? I believe so.

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