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September 24th, 2009
11:21 AM ET

Whatever Happened to Civility?

The signs are all around us: rising levels of rudeness across the social spectrum. CNN's Don Lemon examines the causes that may be eroding civility, including the rise of social media that allow anyone to vent, spew hatred and even make threats with apparent impunity and anonymity.


Filed under: Don Lemon
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. joanne osinkowskiont canada

    YES! Americans have lost all civility! The demonstrators during the H.C. Reform debates have left a permanent mark on America & its citizens. As a Canadian looking in I can only come away w/ the assumption that Americans have acted like a bunch of RABIED animals. They have made a terrible impression on the rest of the world. The Media sector is also very much to blame for all of this also by constantly reporting the negative sides and excaserbating the situation even further. It is time America support, appreciate and have faith in their PRESIDENT! Give peace a chance!!!!!!!!!!

    September 24, 2009 at 11:53 am |
  2. Mike Armstrong TX.

    Theres two things fueling the flam the first is the economy the second is the advertisment of racism.

    September 24, 2009 at 12:14 pm |
  3. jwhy4321

    I have been to a few tea parties after NEVER being involved in politics. They were peaceful and there were several African-American folks that spoke and sang. There have been people on the left in past administrations with Nazi and Joker signs, burning George Bush in effigy and people who were actually violent. Ask yourself, "Is this any different really". I did not see any witch doctor signs (probably tied in with DOCTOR, hello this is healthcare we are talking about-remember voodoo economics?). I would really like to see everyone get back on the issues like what congress is trying to do, like rushing through last night's bill without giving anyone the 72 hours to read it (President Obama promised that)! Stop being lemmings so easily distracted while they are ramming things through that will effect our healthcare for generations to come!

    September 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm |
  4. William Courtland

    Civility was murdered by pornography.

    Once involved in Pornography: as it is distributed: even in debauchery it will lead to a character which removes themselves from civility.

    Otherwise Civility is hindered by blights: and blights are: War, Famine, Plague, Pestilence, Oppression, Anguish, Torment, and impoverishment. How civil can it get in Haiti where more than one blight reigns: and where injured civilization and humanity can not respond?

    Once Civility is gone: the wriaths which attack humanity and manipulate it to force the venting of its wraths: as wraiths afflict humanity like that of discord: yet the response in venting is in anger and is caused by ignorance, arrogance, released in strife...

    Civility: sin: law... We want freedoms to murder civility: because we need freedoms to earn capital easily in our own pornography: the selling of ourselves for a release to the fallen bounty of a past civilization. Societies engineer methods to stall civilization and take the spoils covin groups which soritee to conpire against civilization as a whole: the entities which distribute this pronography are the leading cause for the loss of work and the degredation of our honesty and purity.

    Children can see the results of a push-up bra to... Eventually and to some: such weapons will be powerless and we will return to civility in at least one issue of intent.

    September 24, 2009 at 3:12 pm |
  5. CHUCK

    Any student of history will probably remember the minister of propaganda for the nazi party, Joseph Goebbels. He acussed his opponents of socialism and attacked them with "the big lie" theory. This theory was if you told an obvious bold lie and just repeated it often and loudly, the masses would believe it. He used it to convince people that minorities were trying to destroy the country... unfortunately it worked and violence ensued.

    If only the media had been more courageous in exposing the lies.

    September 24, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  6. David B

    Civility is not gone. It is 2009 & the Democrats control the House, the Senate & the Presidency. Those of us who have opposing views are just exercising our constitutional 1st Amendment rights. What has a lot of people very upset is he lies coming out of washington( both Republican & Democrat) Obama has lied to the American people way too often. In his campaign he said no lobbyists in his administration, it was just 3 days into his Presidency that he broke that promise(CNN covered it) He campaigned on letting Americans buy affordable prescription drugs from other countries(FDA approved facilities) & after being elected made a deal with American drug manufacturers breaking that promise. He lambasted the Bush administration for extending troop deployments & then just last week extended Afgan tours. He swore to the American public that we would have 5 days to read major legislation before voting on it(CNN covered this also) & has broken that promise. When anyone lies to another person or people enough times it destroys their credibility, it angers & frustrates. Just tell the truth, take a stand on something & stand by your convictions. Our President has not taken a stand on anything, he has flip flopped on so many issues who knows what he believes. Change we can believe in- nope just another politician!

    September 25, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  7. Sabrina

    Perhaps it is a loss of manners that is making our society less then appealing. Most often what we dislike or find offensive on the road or anywhere else has more to do with manners. Civil people have manners, something many think are not important , but it distinguishes "animals from people" or more of a society that is primitive and under developed. I would say you are on to something, we are moving in the wrong direction for the wrong reasons. There is no excuse for this rudeness.As long as you're asking for my opinion, which should be refrained I' ll give it objectively which is also lacking . I believe it depends on what people are willing to tolerate. We watch shows that promote being rude or hostile and think its fun to be insulting and too many teach young people that it is okay. I find the worst offenders are the right wingers that feel they can be worse then rude by making claims that they are standing up for what they believe in. Now , it is a good question to ask, because people need to look at not just the behaviors of others but themselves and see what we learn, WAY TO GO Lemon!

    September 28, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  8. MR.AL

    Civility where has it gone?

    Civility left when greed became promenent in the United States.It's reared it's ugly face recently in racial signs and slurs and disgrunteled Republicans example Repersenative Wilson SOUTH CAROLINA and the battle over Health Care.It seems when money is the object the Wealthy don't seem to have enough,that includes special intrest Repulicans and Corperate America.Civility has lost out to greed!!

    September 28, 2009 at 3:57 pm |
  9. connie

    Civility left when we were told we can't discipline our children. When my daughter got wise, and I threatened to punish her, I was met with–"remember, if you were to hit me, all I have to do is call social services, and you go to jail–and I get to do what I want anyway".
    I've never 'hit' her. The most she's ever gotten was grounded for a week–and she still snuck out. When we lost control of our kids, we lost it all.

    September 29, 2009 at 8:10 am |
  10. Al

    If you look to histroy for the awnser it was the one of the steps to the fall of most all the socities such as the Romans , Greeks ect. We might be on the downhill side. You tell me ? (the experts don't even know !)

    September 30, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  11. Quorumforum

    About Google,

    I have a Question..... I have noticed that when I do a Google search on my machine at home that the results tend to be fairly relevant to me.
    When doing the same search on my Mother's machine this is not the case, which I am assuming is because her "Cookie" and search history are different than mine.
    The search results seem to be more relevant to her, which I also assume is the goal, Tailored Search results. If this indeed the case, is this type of search algorithm used across the board? I ask this because I noticed a disturbing trend. When I search on political issues most if not all of the results are of the Left leaning type which I admit are relevant to me. Doing the same search on my mothers machine the results are mostly of the far right bent and are relevant to her. These types of results while great for durable goods and services seem detrimental to the public in search of balanced discourse. My mother ( "Who is not at all computer literate" ) thinks that the search results are the totality of what's on the Net and I am sure that there are a great many people just like her. There seems to be some sort of positive reinforcement loop thing going on where " I'll only tell you, what you want to hear. ". When so many people today use Google as their primary way to gather News I just wonder if the " I'll only tell you, what you want to hear. " type of results is "aiding and abetting" the divisions in our country.

    Quorumforum * "Some Assembly Required"

    September 30, 2009 at 11:12 pm |
  12. John

    Great point, Quorumforum! Only supporting peoples' beliefs never gives them the other sides of the story, which restricts their ability to fully develop their opinions. Very dangerous.

    No civility any more. Unfortunately, the news media chooses to focus on and sensationalize the effect, but never really gets to the true cause.

    The incontestable origin is the rapidly increasing, already overflowing population of irresponsible parents. Their numbers are growing exponentially, and they are entirely unready and unwilling to fulfill their obligation to teach their children the difference between right and wrong, and to always choose the right path.

    BTW...maybe you can help me get an answer to this. I've seen CNN has produced Latino in American and Black in America features. Can you tell me you will soon be releasing White in America? I'd certainly be interested to watch along with a large segment of your viewers, and I'm sure CNN would be eager to take a stand against racially charged reporting that is unfair and discriminatory, right?

    October 3, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  13. Bruce

    Our parents taught us everything (I'm 55 years old), holding doors for someone, not stepping out in the street to cross making cars stop because it's illegal to hit us (I say hit 'em, it removes them from the gene pool), etc. Each generation breeds multiples of the same. Thoughtless people don't teach their kids how to be civil, those kids will probably not teach theirs. We are becoming outnumbered by jerks, maybe we need another world war to thin the herd.

    Other subject: Violence in Chicago (and elsewhere). When I was a kid in the 50's and early 60's, misbehaving kids were told they could be sent to a "reform school", described to us as a jail where you live and are schooled. We grew up seeing movies of "The Bowery Boys," etc. We straightened up quickly. It's probably cheaper to institute that and do it right, than to pay more to keep fighting the increasing crime, we're making new criminals daily.

    October 8, 2009 at 12:12 pm |