Civil War versus civility

Published 8:00 pm Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Slavery was abolished in the United States on Dec. 2, 1865, after 750,000 Americans died from battles in the Civil War. I never dreamed the term “Civil War” would be mentioned again as a possibility 154 years later. A reasonable person would believe that we have learned from our history what hate can do. 

In the last few years, American citizen’s personal political views have produced heated arguments among friends, among families, and risen to the point of tearing good relationships apart. The escalating hatred lurking among us is creating pounding fists and frozen hearts. 

Washington has become a ringleader for civil unrest, but it is the people they serve who, by their words and actions, are often guilty of spreading nastiness. We can pass the blame to the media, to Congress, and the Executive Office, but are we, the people, encouraging Washington to continue their uncivil behavior? 

Our mouths, our pointing fingers, our inability to listen to facts, our apathy, our overzealous mean-spirited attitudes, and diatribes on social media are our ammunition for fueling the war. Is this civil conflict what is best for our country and our children’s future?

We all know Washington is a mess, and many of those who represent us use political pandering for re-election, and we respond in kind, allowing them to do so. Why not, they believe, it works! Why not allow it to work any longer? Instead of widening the divide they created, let’s start a new path to unite and repair our nation.

We have the right as American citizens to demand civility in Washington. We can vote the dividers and political hacks out of office. We can return decency to our government by caring enough for our nation to turn apathy into action. 

I read in the morning paper today that “kindness” was making a comeback. When did it leave? Instead, I believe kindness has been covered up with dirt far too long. Folks no longer know with certainty who is lying or who is right because there is so much mud slung in our eyes, we can’t see the truth. Truth, respect, civility, honor, valor, unity and Godliness need to return home from the mire and welcomed. Most of us have missed them.

We are much more than Republicans or Democrats. If that is how we judge each other, we have allowed the mayhem in Washington to boggle our brains. Is that how God will judge us? I doubt he will ask us how we voted when we are standing beneath the light of his glory. Instead, he will ask us, “How did you love your neighbor?”

As individuals, Americans need to remember who we indeed are. We are the ones who applaud our military when they return from serving our nation without caring about their political beliefs or the color of their skin. We are the ones who pull neighbors from floods and disasters without caring who they voted for or their ancestry. We are the ones who give money to those in need without asking if they are liberal or conservative or caring about their ethnicity. Within the heart of each one of us lies kindness and truth, grit and courage, honor, and civility that, with nurturing, can rise and shine above the swamp.

My brother and granddaddy could argue about politics and religion like no other. They enjoyed their debates and often would agree or agree to disagree. They adored one another, respected the other’s opinion and never would let their personal beliefs destroy their priceless union. 

In our country, it is good that we have different opinions and ideas. I would never want a nation filled with only conservatives, nor would I desire America to become entirely liberal. We require both because compromise must reside ‘somewhere’ between the two sides to develop solutions to the complex problems of our world. We, the people, must demand that our leaders find the somewhere. Civility or Civil War? It is our choice to make. However, if we continue toward war, our priceless union will join the 750,000 buried soldiers that lie beneath its soil.