What “Manners” Most: Civility, Courtesy, Common Sense

By Cindy O’Connell & Dr. Susan Fell

“To work best democracy needs a diversity of thoughts, ideas and expression. This is only possible with freedom and civility.”

Kevin Stirtz

The author of the quote is the author of a book, Marketing for Smart People. Why would a marketing guru be interested in civility? There are parallels between customer relations and governance. Mr. Stirtz wrote, “Everything we do is the result a choice we make…we can choose to focus on creating solutions rather than enforcing policies.”
Remember civics classes in school? We learned about the importance of exercising our civic duties by voting, participating, and engaging in public discourse. Civility derives from the Latin word, “civilis,” and as the root name suggests, it means “citizen.” Hence, civility involves many citizens performing necessary actions to achieve solutions.


The presidential election is just a few weeks away. There is so much passion, indeed incivililty, surrounding the debates, the discourse, the media, that feeds into the governance of our cities, states, and nation. Let us be mindful that civility works best when people can come together, find their commonalities rather than focus on their differences, to achieve solutions, which is a better life for us all.


When is the last time you have had “civil discourse” with someone of the opposite political party? Whether the topic is immigration, trade policies, gun control, etc., chances are that both of you will find some common ground on which to agree. Yesterday, a politician running for local office was canvassing my neighborhood. While we are not of the same political affiliation, yet, I found this person’s demeanor, honesty, and approach to be vote-worthy as we talked about specific policies and felt I could trust this person to work toward the common good if elected.


As citizens, let us practice civility in our everyday lives. It is our civic duty!

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