GUEST COLUMN: Our uncivil war

Sara Wiseman SUSO Contest winner, guest columnist

Here you are, six years old, playing with a fantastic toy, when your arch-rival, Billy Thomas, comes over to try to take it from you.

Before you know it, you and Billy Thomas are in a no holds-barred death match. This is swiftly followed by a time out session where neither of you receive the privileged toy despite your many temper tantrums.

This is an all too common occurrence for adolescents in primary school; however, even as time passes and children grow into adults, it seems the experience hasn’t changed a bit. Americans have access to hundreds of media outlets where countless grown men and women can be seen throwing full-blown tantrums, screaming their opinions, all the while demonizing “the bad guys."

It becomes completely obvious that some kindergarten lessons like sharing and compromise never stuck as we see many in politics cross their arms and pout about America’s current list of problems, simply refusing to budge on any standpoint.

There can only be one possible outcome for this behavior; both parties sitting in time out, bitter toward each other, and neither enjoying any reward of progress. How long will it be before Americans realize that civility alone can help us improve our situation?

Programs at Central Michigan University like “Speak Up, Speak Out” can help people realize the effectiveness of civility and reasonability. “Speak Up, Speak Out” provides a safe place for a panel and audience to meaningfully discuss and deliberate on a wide array of topics.

It becomes apparent to anyone in attendance that this format allows participants to accomplish a lot more than any debate filled with name-calling and accusatory remarks. While incivility may anger a person, shutting down their listening skills, civility promotes respect.

If more aspects of American life were like “Speak Up, Speak Out” perhaps we would not be trapped in a dead-locked Congress. This uncivil war happening in America’s political arena

Civility has seemingly put a halt to a functioning democracy. Compromise and negotiation are currently unheard of in Congress and consequently, so is progress.

With representatives screaming, “You Lie!” at the President of the United States and the House promising vetoed legislation until their demands are met, incivility is continually hindering the well-being of the American people.

Civility and mediation alone can harbor true progress in America. In a diverse nation founded on liberty and freedom, it is imperative that every voice is not only heard, but actually considered. We need to call an end to this uncivil war and work together as citizens to better the collective whole.

Relearn from your kindergarten teacher, communicate problems and find common ground; or everyone will be left bitter without shining gold stars, cookies or a functioning democracy.