From Making Civility Great Again

By Kim Kerrigan and Steven Wells

Excerpt January 21, 2019

It’s clear to us the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States in 2016, when he defeated his opponent, Hillary Clinton, was a major turning point for the American people. In an historic way, we can measure the tenor of our national mood today as “BT” and “AT” (“Before Trump” and “After Trump”). But that is a far too simplistic analysis of the extreme discord that has been festering for years and is now at a fever pitch in America.

Let’s not kid ourselves. The erosion of compromise and civility in our national life has been deepening for decades. It was probably inevitable we would reach this point now considering all the incredible changes we, as citizens of one of the leading and most highly revered countries in the world, have endured. Just look at the proliferation of recent technology (whether involving the Internet, cable television, cell phones, automobiles, and so forth) and the growth in millions of our immigrant population from places all over the world as two examples of change that have clearly altered the American landscape....

Certainly, we Americans, as a nation, have lost one of the vital characteristics that has, for over 200 years, defined us as a reasonable, kind, fair, and respectful people—civility. For generations, we have profoundly displayed civility in our daily interactions and communications with people who are both like us—and unlike us. We have traditionally shown such civility towards our leaders who work for the greatest good of their constituents and towards our laws enshrined in the Unites States Constitution.

Most of all, in the past we have demonstrated great civility in our national spirit because of our belief that all American citizens (whether born here or elsewhere) are entitled to dignity, respect, fairness, and, yes, a helping hand. This reverence for our fellow citizens only high-lights the American notion that all of its men, women, and children should live each day with the security they will not want for food, healthcare, housing, and education—no matter what their income, educational back-ground, sexual orientation or identity, culture, or race!

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