Lack of civility becoming more ‘common’ now

Published 6:00 pm Sunday, October 31, 2010

Where has civility gone? We are hearing daily about violentoccurrences nationwide, from a female protester being stomped by amale staffer at a recent political debate to road rage to childrenkilling children.

My husband’s grandmother, Nana, was a very gentle-natured andsoft-spoken lady. She had a label, which resonates with me to thisday, for behavior that she deemed inappropriate.

When she heard or saw something offensive, she would quietlybristle and straighten her spine and say calmly, “How common.”

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That declaration was so quietly said and with such authority.Seeing Nana regard anything or anyone’s behavior as “common” mademe profoundly aware of appropriate behavior and reactions tosituations.

I remind my daughters daily that no matter how ugly or rudesomeone is acting that we should always strive to rise above andrespond in a manner that would make Nana proud.

Unfortunately, “common” behavior has become all too “common” inAmerican society today.

We were at a buffet restaurant recently, and I saw a womannearly run over several people who were in line ahead of her, justto get to the buffet. She never said “excuse me” or evenacknowledged that she had broken in line.

There were muttered responses to her behavior that were no moreappropriate in their content than how she had just acted.

Several times at the grocery store I have been shocked at thelanguage that adults are using in general conversation – in thepresence of children. I’ve cringed every time it’s happened,especially if my youngest child was with me, in fear that she wastaking notes and will use her newly learned language at the mostinopportune time.

The recent news of the male staffer who stomped on the head andshoulders of a female protestor at a recent debate was revolting tome, and made me question where our country is heading. Surely thecountry that was borne on the shoulders of the men and women whowere willing to rebel can tolerate a healthy disagreement on theissues that affect all of us.

The Associated Press reported, “The volunteer … who stepped onthe head of a liberal activist and pinned her face to the concretesaid Tuesday the scuffle was not as bad as it looked on video andblamed police for not intervening.”

Since when has it been acceptable for anyone to step onsomeone’s head? Where is personal accountability? What happened tocivilized, open debate or the ability to judge right from wrong? Oreven the ability to apologize for doing something wrong?

“Common” behavior is being taught, even lauded, to our childrenby the televised media. Parents are portrayed as bumbling ignorantfools who need to be outsmarted and steered by their incrediblyworldly, intelligent children. Rudeness and sarcasm are shown aspositive traits, and ones to be emulated.

I don’t know what the solution is to the things that used to beunacceptable becoming tolerable and some of our society becomingless easily shocked by things that they see and hear.

Perhaps the utilization of everyday “common sense” is thesolution to preventing one from becoming “common.”

Lifestyles Editor Rachel Brumfield can be reached at The DAILYLEADER at 601-833-6961 ext 134, by e-mail or you can write to her at P.O. Box 551,Brookhaven MS 39602.