Thursday, September 10, 2009

Civility - What The Heck Happened To It...And How Do We Get It Back?

As you know I had an incredible time on the Celebrity Equinox. Celebrity did virtually everything it could do to provide me with an excellent premium cruise experience. The only problem: The lack of civility of some adults and the lack of supervision/discipline of some of the children.

As you also know I have been a staunch critic of some posters on CruiseCritic.com and the site's luxury board host's obvious permission for some favored posters to attack the opinions that disagree with the "everything is wonderful" stance of some or "I prefer Line X over Line Y". The problem: The lack of civility.

Last night I watched President Obama's speech to a joint session of Congress about his healthcare proposals. At one point in the speech Representative Wilson, from South Carolina, shouted to the President of the United States, "You lie!". I was mortified. Was it because I agree with President Obama on healthcare? Whether I do nor not is actually irrelevant. It is because there was a total lack of respect for the Office of the President and for the Congress. The problem: The lack of civility.

During breakfast at the local bagel shop this morning I was talking with some of my "breakfast buddies" about the incident and mentioned the foregoing. One person responded, "Obama is a not entitled to respect." I responded, "Regardless of whether you love or hate the guy, isn't the Office of the President entitled to that respect? I mean aren't judges entitled to it? Or teachers? Parents?" The response was, "You only give someone respect because you want something from them!" I was, once again, mortified. The problem is again, a lack of civility.

I am a member of the local Board of Education for grades K - 8 (5 to 14 year olds) and had a meeting this morning. I had the opportunity so I asked the superintendent this morning about the incident during the Obama speech and, without getting into too many details, I wondered if Civics - how our government works and why - was taught to the children. His response was that it is a great idea, but the State doesn't include it in the mandated curriculum. So I thought (but did not say) it must be the same sort of people as Congressman Wilson that established the mandated curriculum.

Now, clearly respecting positions irrespective of the person (be it the President or a teacher) is important, but so is being civil to the person irrespective of the position. And, as conduct has clearly devolved to the point that too many are not civil to either the position or the person, the infamous Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" comes to mind. [When was the last time you heard that? Thought so!]

I have been reading a longtime violator of these simple civilities travelogue of her time presently onboard the Regent Seven Seas Voyager. She has complained that service in La Veranda is so poor that she avoids the dining venue except for breakfast with service ranging from "good", to "spotty" to "non-existent"; Prime 7 received a "mixed" review; any special requests were either not performed or were done...but with special note of how hard a task it was, the "new" ice cream was nothing special and the "new" pizza was "dried out"; there is vibration felt throughout Prime 7 and the most aft suites, etc.

What is remarkable about the thread (found here is that since the comments are from her, rather than someone else, the comments from others are "civil". (How many threads on the Regent board have been removed, abandoned, edited, etc. because of the incivility of her relentless attacks, clutter and cheerleading demanding that the very same things are untrue or excusable?) To be fair she is not the only one who engages in such conduct, but she is to many infamous.

There are quite a few people that post on The Gold Standard Forum simply because an intelligent (civil) discussion with differing views can be had.

Civility is a good thing. Not "chair hogging". Making sure your children don't overrun whirlpools and adult areas, being sure they know how to "share" the space and respect others' needs. Weighing how important the result is before picking a fight in the dining room. Eventually, people might just let you off the elevator before getting in or hold a door open.

And then, whether you posting on a message board or are the President of the United States, you just might be able to express your opinion without someone, with a lack of civility or respect, interrupting you and calling you (actually or in effect) a liar.