A backlash of civility?


The days of wine and roses
seem a lifetime far away
While posturing and poses
are the order of the day

Good graces and decorum
don’t define the way we act
Every evil has its forum
accusation equals fact

Restraint and apt humility
are valued here no more
Attacks and rank hostility
is that what we’ve in store?

Perhaps it’s just an apogee
the end point of a swing
Its opposite we’re soon to see
if physics does its thing

Civility by pendulum?
we must do more than hope
The change is what you must become
to move the swinging rope

“A divided electorate,” “no dialogue between sides,” calls for violence and talk of civil war—is this what society has become?

We’ve often read about all sorts of “backlash” when it comes to public sentiment or behavior on political and social issues. Typically, whenever a progressive change takes place for instance, (e.g. in the form of a downward change in status or wealth, real or perceived), those affected by this change will often “push back” in the opposite direction as a way of reestablishing the status quo.

Entropy theory aside for a moment, what if the situation we are experiencing now is not evidence of irreversible societal decay doomed to unchecked expansion? What if the behavior we are witnessing and experiencing is simply the apogee of a pendulum swing? What if the next phase is not expansion—with things getting worse—but, instead a swing in the opposite direction?

What if “old time” behaviors (like civil discourse, respect, empathy) are due for a resurgence? Wouldn’t it be thrilling to experience a backlash of civility? What’s needed, however, is not simply optimism, but action as Gandhi reportedly said: “Become the change you wish to see.” Don’t wait for the backlash, become the backlash in civility!

Walt F.J. Goodridge (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Saipan resident Walt F.J. Goodridge is author of over 400 “life rhymes” and over two dozen books including Turn Your Passion into Profit and The Tao of Wow. Learn more at www.liferhymes.com and www.waltgoodridge.com

Walt F.J. Goodridge (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
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