Opinion: The need for civility


By Luci Snyder

Winston Churchill once said, “Some people’s idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.”

Let’s take a look at four elements driving our society:

Politeness versus civility – Politeness is an exhibit of good manners and can be harsh, cruel and cutting as well as kind. Civility means treating others as our moral equals with a right to voice an opinion, but it does not exclude pointing out errors or omissions in those conclusions.

Equality versus equity – Equality means that everyone would be equal and have the same abilities (physical, intellectual and educational, among others.). However, our abilities vary and the only thing that is unequivocally the same for all is that we are human and are due the respect of other humans. Equity means that all people, regardless of abilities, background, education and status, are treated fairly using the same rules for all (nonpartisan). At the bare minimum, we expect the law and the courts to be completely nonpartisan.

So, what has happened to our society? Wherever I go, I hear a comment or discussion about some outrageous act or statement. It might be a person that pushed onto subway tracks; no words were exchanged and the people didn’t even know one another. It might be people yelling or punching while on an airplane for whatever reason. Further, it could be athletes fighting, or players punching the referees, or fans punching the players and, in children’s sports, even parents fighting.

A recently quoted United States senator said that a critic of his could “Go f*#=k himself”.  Good grief! Again, I ask: What has happened to our society? Whatever it is, we must fix it and the fix should begin with us, in our homes and in this lovely community.

To that end, there is a meeting at the Carmel Clay Public Library at 6 p.m. on Jan. 10 to begin to address this issue.

For more information, contact Jeff Worrell, Carmel city councilor at-large, who is the moderator. He may be reached at  [email protected] or 317.471.9836.

Luci Snyder, an occasional contributor to Current, is a Carmel resident and a former member of the Carmel City Council.