Kanye West steps on Taylor Swift’s moment at the VMA awards with rude comments.  Serena Williams attacks a line judge at the U.S. Open with an obscenity-laced tantrum. Representative Joe Wilson shouts “You lie!” during President Obama’s address to a joint session of Congress.

Three quick examples of incivility in the public square in just the past few days. Rude, aggressive, and offensive behavior from public figures who should know better. [I do understand that anything on MTV is, by definition, exempt from any rules of civility. That is why I have never watched even 10 seconds of MTV.]

Civility is civilized conduct, shown through courtesy and politeness. It is a good quality to nurture. You may not agree with the President, or may perhaps even belief that he is lying, but an outburst in the House chamber isn’t the time nor the place to express it. We don’t want our Congress to act like the British House of Commons, with their boos and foot stomping.

I mentioned it once before in this blog, but today is a good time to restate it. We need to practice civility in our interactions with others.   The Civility Project has a simple pledge:

  • I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior.
  • I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them.
  • I will stand against incivility when I see it.

It’s core values are

  • Civility in all situations
  • Courage to do what’s right
  • Graciousness in conduct and speech
  • Honesty in all communications
  • Integrity of heart
  • Respect for the right of others to hold and express views different from my own

We don’t need to agree.  However, we do need to treat each other with dignity and respect.

I encourage you to take the Civility Pledge at

” . . . people shouldn’t underestimate the value of civility.” President Barack Obama


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