Make no mistake about it – we are at war.
A war not centered in any foreign land nor exclusive to any one nation. Its battles are seen in every city and every form of media. The count of its soldiers is unfathomable – its casualties are literally in the billions.
The weapon of choice in this war – words. The devastation caused by this weapon of mass destruction – incalculable.
Plainly put, we have become an uncivilized society engulfed in an Uncivil War.
Gone is any semblance of courtesy – absent is the slightest modicum of respect.
What caused this shift to uncivilized and non-negotiable? It used to be that the rules of engagement had some semblance of decency – the battles more akin to sparring than a gang fight. The wounds were often quickly mended by those on both sides of the battle.
Maybe it became a full-out surge with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine. Within a year of that repeal, we had the beginnings of a massive assault by hate radio. All of a sudden, there was no responsibility nor consequences for what was said – nor for the truth within what was said – a deadly combination, as we raise awareness with the power of truth.
Maybe the escalation is just the result of the cowardly veil of protection and anonymity given by the internet and social media.
No matter the origin of this heightened lack of civility, we have now become so immune to the cacophony of this war that we blindly accept its deafening presence in our daily lives…torpidly allowing this daily onslaught to volley towards its numerous targets of choice.
Some say, “words are words” and hide under the thinly veiled garment of free speech, but in a civilized society, problems are solved by creative and intelligent discussion. Yes, sometimes heated…yes, often contentious… but the operative words here are “civilized” and “solved”.
Presently, there is no resolution, just the endless game of “us against them” – a path of battle doomed to creating nothing more than scorched earth between its participants.
The result: round after round of verbal assault serving as a substitute for any action, with no true solution achieved, and more vile and hateful vitriol exponentially created.
That vile and hateful vitriol all too often culminated in physical violence and death.
As humans, we are bestowed with free will – that right mirrored in the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech. However, that guarantee does not grant immunity from the consequences of how that speech is used…and therein, lies the basis for ending the Uncivil War.
Just because we can say something – doesn’t mean we should. Even if we don’t have respect, we should show respect.
Moreover, if anything said causes harm, there should be consequences. Immediate consequences! We all have the power to end this Uncivil War, for the greatest use of free speech is to be civil in its use.
Civility must become the native language of the land.
As the only species given the gift of speech, it is the least we can do with that gift.
Seth Adamson is an Author, Teacher and Counselor specializing in Relating and Personal Transformation. His first three books “The Art of Relating” – “hu·man·u·ni·ty” and “raise-istance” are available on amazon.com. Seth is also the founder and Executive Director of the One Humanity Foundation and the Worldwide Coalition for Peace. Seth’s podcast “The Art of Relating” debuts in early 2023.