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Is civility dead?

Updated on March 11, 2013

Today as I sat along the side of the road waiting for a tow watching the cars go by (many honking their horns) I wondered is civility dead? While waiting two police cars stopped. One asked if I had insurance and told me I had an hour to get my car off the side of the road. The other searched it asked for my insurance, ran my plates, license, then told me I had an hour to get off the side of the road.


This illustrates a common theme I have witnessed over the last 20 or so years. We went from a time when people would have stopped to ask if I needed help to honking the horn and yelling obscenities. This leads to the other aspect of civility, the obscenity quota. I know at least three people who will use profanity in almost everything they say. It gets to the point where it fades into the background. I was taught that profanity should only be used to punctuate a feeling (usually anger). This was not a directly taught to me, but it was inferred by watching the adults within my sphere of understanding (the people in my life). Now I hear people who while having a good point can’t express that point because they have no profanity sensor. After a few f-bombs (bleeped) they are cut off.


I was researching a paper on waiting rooms. To further this I asked a few people who work as receptionists about their experiences when working with the public. The stories I heard ranged from belligerent to down and out threats. One woman I spoke to had just called the police the other day because a man (angry that he had to wait to be seen without an appointment) showed her a gun then said (this is a second hand quote) “you sure I ant next.” This was for a pre-employment drug test.


The most dangerous job in Akron, Ohio is pizza delivery driver. Every call could lead to an ambush. It is so bad that some pizza restaurants will drive around looking for abandon homes in their delivery area so if a call comes in for that address they will ignore the call. People who do the jobs most of us do not want to do are increasingly being victimized or marginalized. There is a school system near here where the teachers are on strike. In addition to the teachers holding signs there are others with signs suggesting the teachers are lucky to have jobs and other things that I will not put in this article. It’s great to have an opinion. But why express your illiteracy by shouting obesities at the people educating your children? Then there is the cell phone (but that deserves its own hub).


Internet, phone, and door-to-door scams are on the rise. It’s like the gene that expresses humanity was shut off on some. We are seeing an increase in the victimization of the elderly. One overwhelming theme I am hearing is that we get what we deserve. The elderly went from a wealth of knowledge to a wealth people want to tap from and then toss them to the curb. Stealing is on an all time high. Not just the basics. I remember reading somewhere that the motivation for most people who steal is the belief they could get away with it. Computer fraud removes the human aspect of fraud. It’s not a person it’s a collection of numbers and accounts. But even then you have the people who do not care.

Long dead

The Press

In some places civility is long dead and buried. In particular the media. There is a story about Geraldo Rivera chasing a man (on foot) through the streets of Akron back around 1980. How many times have you seen a reporter with his/her microphone in someone’s surprised face at their home, or place of work chasing a story? Then you have the paparazzi (but that is a whole other thing). At some point the rights of the press became more important than the individuals rights.

The internet

This is also another discussion (but I will highlight it here). People will say or do things on the internet that they would never do in person. This is more than the typical troll behavior. On other sites a person will ask a simple question only to receive answers such as “u an Idiot” to things that I will not type here. I understand the internet provides a faceless instant forum for everyone which can lead to people to people typing without thinking. But on the other side there are people who look for that shock value. A sort of cyber-bullying of the world.

Like any other trend this can change. We need to start by teaching our children how to treat others. (Not to get all Churchy) but the golden rule works, treat people like how you want to be treated. When you speak to someone (despite what you think of them) don’t talk down to them. Tip your delivery people. Try and not to steal from the elderly (even if you could get away with it).

Please say what you think? Am I wrong? Are we better off?

Do you think civility is dead?

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