Where has civility gone?

We’ve reached a level of incivility where we consider ourselves civil and virtuous if we only refrain from effing a person off.

As I move away from a recent social media conversation, I reflect on the interchange and find it sadder and sadder. Please understand that I am a person who nearly always feels horrible about my part in a disagreeing conversation. I feel exposed and ashamed.

Not so with this conversation. I am more and more disappointed as I think about the treatment I received. There were no curses and no outright personal attacks. Yet I seem to feel a knife in my back.

Clearly the person I was speaking to thought she was above the nasty fray, and quite quite absolutely correct. Her opinions were the literary and thoughtful thinking person’s thoughts. Undeniable by all reasonable people.

I made my case politely, even pressed a bit, because it’s an important point.

The reply: We will have to agree to disagree.

Meaning: Because nuh-uh. I recognize your reasons and I dismiss them.

I don’t expect to be persuasive. I don’t expect agreement with my argument. But I do expect discussion. Listening. Considering. Respecting. Countering. Back and forth.

What I received: condescension, dismissal, veiled put downs.

At the end, I was thanked for keeping it civil. And I want to ask: is there a reason why you expected me to be uncivil? Aren’t you congratulating me for refraining from acting like one of those _________?

Do you see how the tribes are conceived? She was in the US and I was revealed to be one of THEM.

Once I had been identified, I must be dismissed, but not before I could be put in my place. Notice, I was not expected to recognize that I was being insulted. That recognition was for her and her tribesmen. It is important to maintain the social hierarchy.

Sad indeed.

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