Art of Civility

By Sherrie Chism

The Oxford dictionary defines civility as “formal politeness and courtesy in behavior or speech.”  Originally it is derived from the Latin word “civilitas” and in early use the term represented the state of being a citizen, good citizenship or respectful behavior.

It has been noted at recent city council meetings that certain council members are having a difficult time with the art of civility.  People are passionate about what and how they feel but doesn’t it degrade the message if it’s delivered with put downs, innuendos and just plain bad behavior?   Can we still be polite and respectful even if we strongly disagree about an issue?  The answer to that should be yes.

I believe we have a responsibility to point out situations where elected officials are behaving in a non-professional or degrading fashion but may I offer an additional thought in that we must also lead by example.  It seems that in today’s day and age many people have forgotten how to conduct themselves in a polite and courteous manner and if we must point it out when it occurs, then isn’t that part of being a good citizen?


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