The Hedgehog Review: Vol. 15, No. 3 (Fall 2013)
The Art of Living Together
Reprinted from The Hedgehog Review 15.3 (Fall 2013). This essay may not be resold, reprinted, or redistributed for compensation of any kind without prior written permission. Please contact The Hedgehog Review for further details.
Incivility has reached "crisis proportions"; rude behavior is becoming the "new normal." So concludes the 2013 annual report on "Civility in America," a national survey of Americans conducted by Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate, public relations companies, with KRC Research. The survey finds that a large majority of Americans believe incivility is a problem and that it is growing. More than half think that it will continue to grow.
Unsurprisingly, politics and politicians were singled out for their contribution to the declining civility. Next up for blame are the media, with their seeming celebration of all things crude and antagonistic. Most Americans also regard many common actions by their fellow citizens as uncivil, such as the way they use cell phones in public or conduct themselves in online discussions. But the concern with incivility was really driven home by direct personal experiences of rudeness and disrespect. Such experiences were especially common at work and online, and encountered on a daily basis. Parents also reported cyberbullying of their children, as well as uncivil exchanges between children at school and in the neighborhood....