Civility is rapidly becoming extinct.
Once upon a time, Americans knew how to respect each other. That mutual respect has been replaced with vitriol and an inability to agree to disagree.
Americans have always held a myriad of beliefs, be they political, religious or otherwise. That hasn’t changed.
What has changed is the self-discipline most people used to possess when it comes to allowing others to have beliefs different from their own.
Today, anyone who wants to publicly express their views is likely to be attacked by those who do not share them.
What’s remarkable about this is that almost always the attacks come under the claim of intolerance.
If you don’t agree with me, I’m intolerant. If I don’t agree with you, you’re intolerant.
The First Amendment provides everyone the same right: say and believe what you want.
Yet, many in this country now want to stop anyone who doesn’t think the way they do from saying anything at all.
It’s virtually impossible now to turn on the news without hearing people argue. People also argue in public. People argue on social media.
It is not unusual for someone to be attacked on their own Facebook page for posting a comment about their ideas, thoughts, or beliefs. For some odd reason, those who disagree with them seem to feel perfectly comfortable in berating them for saying what they think on their own property.
To me, that’s no different than walking onto someone’s lawn or opening up their front door and telling them that they should act and think like you do.
What has happened is that many Americans have lost their ability to mind their own business.
Years ago, I remember my grandfather was eating at a restaurant and an overzealous waitress hovered too much. She repeatedly asked if he needed anything. He finally responded that what he needed was “A good lettin’ alone.”
Politically, this country is very divided. But this isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last.
We’ve survived a Civil War and we can and will survive the tumultuous time in which we now find ourselves.
We will never all agree, but we can certainly agree that opinions are many, varied, and just that. Opinions.
But the key to moving forward as a nation is to understand that tolerance is a two-lane highway. And you cannot drive down both sides of the road.
The best thing we can all remember the next time we’re tempted to tell someone they’re wrong, is that it might be best to just let folks have a good lettin’ alone.
©2015 John Moore
photo credit: somecards.com
To read more of John’s musings, visit johnmoore.net/blog