Column: Who put you in charge? 


Commentary by Jeff Worrell

Since launching the We Can Do Better civility project in Carmel, the enthusiasm and support from every corner of our community has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s clear that fostering a culture of respect and understanding is something that resonates deeply with many of us.

However, an unexpected question has been popping up from various public officials and community members: “Who appointed you as the leader of this civility movement?” Initially, this took me aback. I wondered if this was a challenge to the project’s legitimacy or simply curiosity. After all, promoting civility seemed like an unequivocally positive endeavor.

Reflecting on my motivations, I remembered the discomfort I felt during my last political campaign, witnessing the stark incivility among candidates, political action committees and commentators. Around the same time, I was struck by the subtitle of the book, “The Soul of Civility,” which promised “Timeless Principles to Heal Society and Ourselves” by Alexandra Hudson.

The notion of healing society and how to do it motivated me to treat this just like if I was solving a street parking problem or planning CarmelFest: bring people together who believe in a common goal. The desire to nurture an attitude of civility in Carmel and improve the way we treat each other is catching on.

Now, after three public meetings — two in Carmel and one in Fishers — I’m more convinced than ever that this initiative can foster significant positive change. The project’s growth and the increasing number of participants make me optimistic about its future.

In truth, no one specifically asked me to lead this charge. It was more a matter of seeing a need and feeling compelled to act. “Send me in, coach,” I thought to myself, eager to make a difference and get off the sidelines.

It’s not about one person. All are welcome, needed and appreciated.