What “Manners” Most Civility, Courtesy, Common Sense: “A Return to Civility”

By: Cindy O’Connell & Susan Fell

“A Return to Civility”
The Arizona Republic
Headline, Top of the fold, November 11, 2016

Indeed, this is an interesting headline from a news outlet whose state was very late in reporting the final vote count for our country’s 45th president. Out of the thousands of headlines printed across the country following the presidential election last week, The Arizona Republic got it right. This statement shows all Americans the great opportunity now at hand; the opportunity for civil discourse, even in the midst of a few insisting on civil disobedience. Along with the headline was a picture of President Obama and President-Elect Trump being cordial, respectful, and “civil” to one another.

Earlier that week, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton had phoned Trump to concede in what was also a time honored tradition of being civil, even in defeat. Trump said she was gracious and acknowledged that she had fought hard.

In earlier columns, we talk about the issue of civility as something aspirational.

But today, from the ashes of caustic media commentary, we can reflect on the positive transformation that courtesy can help achieve and how the changes in our lives can be a conduit for a happier and more joyful existence on planet earth. So, if change is real certainly unplanned change is a fact in our lives.

Preparing for something unexpected is difficult. But, if the emotional or societal consequences imagined or real of the “change” are dealt with quietly and with grace, the attachment to the “change” can diminish – signaling growth and healing and without a headline, burned building or destroyed life.

So how does the change presented in this election provide a platform for more courteous behavior and civil discourse among man? Just follow our first President, George Washington’s Rules of Civility – ‘Let all actions performed in public show some sign of respectful sentiment to the entire company.”

And in so doing, show more respectfulness for ourselves and to our fellow man. In the aftermath of what was, arguably, a very nasty, bitter and uncivil campaign, let us mimic the recent behaviors of , Obama, Trump, and Clinton, and be mindful of President Washington’s mantra.

Let’s be civil. It is never too late to begin. Let us speak cordially to one another, with respect, acknowledging our differences, but at the same time, remembering that we are all pulling for the same team USA.

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