This post may contain sponsored or affiliate links

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Civility in Choppy Political Waters

I've written about learning to get along politically before (see Right Wing, Left Wing: Learning to Get Along) and while that post rings true, I felt the need to expand on it further and offer some specific examples of ways we can make purposeful decisions to get along with out friends across the political aisle.  I was inspired by an article in O Magazine in April called The Lost Art of Civility and the call for readers to "put your best foot forward this summer."

The article reminds us al what our parents and teachers taught us when we were little.  The one rule that was written on posters in our classrooms and the one rule we all associated with one regal color.  Yes, I'm talking about the Golden Rule.  The rule of etiquette that was to govern our lives and our interactions.  The rule that taught us

Treat Others The Way You Want To Be Treated 

This rule taught us that above all we were to be kind and courteous to those we interacted with.  It taught a generation to consider the feelings of others as part of our own.  It taught us that our actions didn't just impact others but that it would come impact us also.  It taught us to see ourselves in others.

The large implications for this rule is that it raised a generation that has largely been able to see through differences and find commonalities a between us.  It raised a generation that connected those commonalities and called for equality.  It raised the small Generation of Inbetweens (that were born after Generation X and before Millennials) that have been able to step back and say 

This Isn't How We Want To Be Treated, 
So Why Are THEY Being Treated This Way? 

It raised a generation that isn't afraid to 

But something has happened to this generation.  We have lost sight of our civility.  We have lost our ability to treat others the way we want to be treated.  Our parents have forgotten the rule they taught us.  We have forgotten to teach our Millennial siblings, coworkers, and children the rule that we were taught.  In our fight for equality we have forgotten to treat others the way we want to be treated.  

I believe we not only need to get back to this civility, but we HAVE to get back to treating each other with respect.  We have to get back to treating others the way we want to be treated.  How can we get back to this civility?  How can we work towards treating each other with dignity and respect, regardless of our differences in opinion and belief?  How can we set the Golden Rule example that we were taught so many years ago?  Here is a list of things each of us can do:

Ways We Can Be Civil...

1. Follow Conversation Etiquette.  
       - Listen politely                                     
       - Never interrupt
       - Maintain consistent tone and volume appropriate to the situation
       - Don't repeat points you've already made
       - No name calling 
2. Be Aware of your Body.
       - Maintain muted gestures (there is no need for arm flailing, fist air punching, pointing, etc)
       - Maintain Eye Contact
       - Keep you hands to yourself

3. Wait before you respond.   If we each just took a moment and thought about our responses before spurting them out we would have much more intelligent conversations.  We also need to wait to consider the implications for what we are saying and how they might be perceived. 

4. Put yourself in the other person's shoes.  If we all did this we wouldn't have the political turmoil we currently have because everyone would recognize each persons individual circumstance and understand why they feel the way they do.

5. Consider the Ripple Effect.  All actions (whether spoken or physical) cause a ripple.  If you treat someone poorly they will in turn treat someone else poorly.  Do you want your ripple to be positive or negative?  

6. Look for Goodness.  The "other side" isn't ALL BAD. Each side has moments of greatness that can benefit us all.  We just need to find that goodness and connect with it. 

7.  Act as though a child is watching.  If we all try to maintain behavior that we would want our children to imitate then we would surely be more civil to each other.

8. Continually Evolve.  It's ok to be open to new thoughts and ideas.  When you are talking to a person of differing political opinion keep yourself open to what they are saying.  This works for both sides.

9.  Know when to Speak Out.  A huge part of civility is knowing what's appropriate to the situation.  If your attending a Rally, March, or political action meeting these might be the times to speak passionately and with emotion.  Everyday conversations should be treated differently.  

10.  Maintain focus on Facts.  It's easy to skew opinion.  Its easy to get wrapped up in emotion.  Maintain your focus on the facts when discussing politics.  

This is not a suggestion to return to emotion-free delicateness where people are devoid of opinions.  This is a plea to treat each other with grace and dignity.  This is a plea to be Politically Correct in the way you speak and act around those that you disagree with.  Do you have any other suggestions for how we can go back to treating each other as we want to be treated?  Please share your RESPECTFUL thoughts and opinions below.


  1. Love this post. We need to treat others the way we want to be treated, this is very important. Unfortunately too many people forget that from time to time.

    1. I agree. And we really need to stress this to our children and peers too.

  2. This is so true, I think people forget about being courteous, they should read this as a reminder from time to time :D x

    Sophia x http://sophiawhitham.co.uk

    1. Thanks Sophia! We all need a little reminder sometimes :)

  3. These are all great tips and totally agree! I just wish everyone could follow these. Thanks for sharing!


    1. Thanks Lisa!! Sometimes all it takes is a little reminder to be NICE to each other.

  4. This is a great list. Especially for teaching children (and some adults) about civility. We sometimes aren't great with face to face contact these days as we spend so much time behind a screen.

    1. I agree. Especially with all the "screen" interaction that our children get now-a-days we really need to make a conscious effort to make every face-to-face contact meaningful.