Civility is Not Dead, Yet
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More stories from Glenn Rohrbacker
April 25, 2017
April 21, 2017
In a room full of talking Connecticut residents waiting to hear their Senator speak, two men stood out from the rest. Not because they were sitting in the front row of the local New Haven high school, but because of the civil exchange that seems to be more newsworthy than if they had broken out in a fist fight. The man on the left, just sat down, opened with a quip.
“I had to go get my signs,” he said, proudly holding the now infamous campaign posters with “TRUMP” sprawled across them.
The man on his right, quietly using his smart phone, looks up with a chuckle.
It was difficult to hear what he said, but I could tell that those weren’t the signs that he would have brought. He didn’t say “get those out of here” or anything of the like, but merely engaged the man and spoke his mind, expressing his disdain for the newly inaugurated president, while his new acquaintance to his right expressed his continued support for the 45th U.S. leader.
They went on, calmly discussing their views before the main event was to begin. No one raised their voice, no one shrugged the other off, no one made fun.
The event itself wasn’t so civil, with attendees shouting either in support or opposition to things Senator Richard Blumenthal or the people asking questions were saying. But it was obvious to see, that when these two men walked away, they would shake hands and agree to disagree.
Conversations like these are not happening across the country. According to a study by Pew Research Center, 39 percent of adults have had an argument about the election since it happened. Moreover, voters on either side are much more likely to discuss the election with someone they agree with than someone on the opposing side (80 percent for Republicans and 72 percent for Democrats).
Even the University of New Haven has tried to promote civil discourse and discussion between students, especially since they were accused of favoring one ideology over the other. These discussions have been somewhat successful in getting the topic of “campus climate” to the forefront of the community’s radar, but have seen a sharp decline in participation since the inception of this initiative back in October.
It seems harder and harder every day to be civil with someone you disagree with. It also seems like in the age of Trump everything is political, whether you want it to or not.
Civility is not lost. We should all be more like the two men who set their differences aside to realize that they are both just human beings. It may be hard to have a serious discussion with someone you disagree with, especially when you may have a lot of passion for a particular issue. But, it is necessary for us to ever be one country again, which we are not right now.
No one likes to be yelled at, made fun of, stereotyped, or called a name. Whether you’re a conservative crybaby or a liberal snowflake, just calm down and talk.