Civility Ruptured

In decades past, we humans living in Western civilization longed for ways to explain who we are, why we are here, and where we fit into the world. We yearned to utilize our established identity for the betterment of those around us. We genuinely cared about each other. And although these desires are romanticized and broach progressiveness, there were unspoken, inherent values that led the way.

The classic ideals concerning reasoned dialogue, equity, and the importance of public discourse — all governed by faith and trust in something greater than ourselves — took center stage. The shared values brought together by a sense of mission and common goals flourished, even within the political arena. Where has it gone? Was it a Utopian guidance system gone astray? Perhaps.

Still, most of us yearn for civility at some level. Aren’t we tired of the sex scandals, the wars with words, and the common disintegration of language skills? The proliferation of public F-bombs have mushroomed into legitimate statements. If not F-bombs, the bombardment of disrespect for the authorities who try to manage our cities and states is just as prevalent. And we wonder why our culture is angry, discouraged, and tired.

The centric version of politics has disappeared. We have the left and the right. Center-left and center-right are obsolete. Our politicians have taught us how to behave badly, through their selfish and manipulative manifestos. Nobody wants to give an inch. No wonder they can’t get anything done.

Furthermore, the statistics on younger Americans who have lost faith in democratic ideals are downright scary. According to The Journal of Democracy, those who strongly believe it is essential to “live in a democratic country has dropped from 91 percent in the 1930s to 57 percent today.”[1]

Many of us assume that Western civilization is reactionary and oppressive. Surely, we see those descriptions in the wings of the stage. What can we do? Continue with our hatefulness, uprisings, and contempt? Let’s rise up against such things and defend the “classic ideals concerning reasoned dialogue, equity, and the importance of public discourse — all governed by faith and trust in something greater than ourselves,” as mentioned above!

What would happen if we turned away from the world’s obsession with self, and tried loving all others as God does? Wouldn’t our Western civilization be the better for it?

Are you willing to try living beautifully in this broken world?

[1] New York Times, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/21/opinion/the-crisis-of-western-civ.html?_r=0

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