Thursday, October 18, 2012

Be Afraid. Or, At Least Feel Suppressed

I don't have a Choose Civility bumper sticker on my car.  I used to, but I took it off. 

Why?  If you must know, I took it off because I kept reading and hearing snarky comments about how it's the Choose Civility cars that cut you off, won't let you in, take your parking place and so on.  And I know that I am not a perfect driver.  I'm not a selfish driver, but every so often I might be stupid. So I took the bumper sticker off because I didn't want to make the Choose Civility movement look bad.

There you have it--Self Suppression. Negative, cynical comments found a way to change my enthusiasm into fearfulness.  Brilliant marketing plan.  "You want people to be kind and respectful? Well, let me make you feel bad about yourself first!"

People like me are the ones who were crushed when the teacher lectured the whole class about bad behavior.  We take it to heart. It didn't matter how many times I was consoled with--"She wasn't really talking to you." It takes a certain kind of person to care that much about other people's feelings and actions. Perhaps just the sort of person that, as an adult, makes the case for civility.

Am I worried that rude, loud, negative citizens feel suppressed by requests for civility? I guess I need to know more about what they perceive as an unfavorable consequence of being civil. The truth is, I worry much more that the gentler, thoughtful, listening members of our community are the ones who are suppressed by uncivil behavior.

There is room to disagree. But, if you feel that you have the evidence to prove that someone is a horse's ass, you don't need to make a horse's ass of yourself in order to prove your point. And that is precisely what you do when you demonize those who disagree with you.

I have great admiration for those in the HoCoBlogs community who understand those boundaries, and respect them.


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