Posts Tagged ‘civility’

angry peopleWhy are we so angry?

In the past week we’ve watched as our politicians, sports stars and entertainers have behaved in disrespectful and angry ways.

And these are just the public displays of rudeness.  Have you noticed that people don’t respond to invitations anymore?  Don’t call back or respond to emails?  Feel it’s perfectly acceptable to “say what’s on their mind,” regardless of what it is? Be ignored in stores and even in doctor’s offices?

Several weeks ago I had to have a nerve test done in my arm.  I arrived several minutes early for my appointment and approached the desk.  The receptionist was busy chatting with two of the nurses.  Even when she finally noticed my presence, she didn’t acknowledge me in any way…not even a nod.  I timed it, it took seven minutes for her to finally recognize my presence.

To make matters worse, as he was conducting my nerve test, the doctor both took and made cell phone calls?

It seems that anger and rudeness has become an acceptable form of human expression. Civility, respect, courtesy, compassion, empathy, all seem gone from the U.S. society.  We see it in politics (whatever happened to responsible disagreement?) and political campaigns, in road rage, at  school board meetings, in doctor’s offices.  Sadly, everywhere.

And in most of these cases, there’s little or no apology or regret.  If there’s any at all, it’s merely lip service, and often with back-tracking (“I’m sorry people were upset, but I stand behind my position.”)  What’s going on?

Is this merely the next incarnation of the decline of civility?

It used to be that people went to great extremes to be civil…they actually wrote thank you notes. Returned phone calls.  Responded to invitations.  Chatted politely, at least in public.  Then we went through a recent phase were it was almost politically correct to create a scandal, apologize publicly, have to resign, then write a book about it.  [There’s even a new television show based on this premise…The Good Wife.] Now they go straight from scandal and pat apology to writing the book…no need to resign.

When did socially acceptable public behavior become a dinosaur?  Was it the gossip magazines that made celebrities out of the scandalous…an extreme example of no publicity being bad publicity?  Is it a backlash to the decades of Political Correctness?

I’m not sure of the reasons we have descended to such bad behavior, I only know that it’s reached a crescendo pitch.  But maybe that’s a good thing…maybe we needed to hit bottom before we can begin to return to being respectful and civil again.


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