Republican Versus Democrat represented by two boxing gloves with the elephant and donkey symbol stitched fighting/Deposit Photo

The Uncivil War We Wage

By Jeff Borders 

It may sound a bit dramatic, but there is a civil war raging around us today.

Wait, let me rephrase that to be more accurate. It’s more like an un-civil war, because from where I stand, civility has long been discarded, and vehemence and anger have quickly replaced it.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not a fan of civil war, unless it involves Captain America and the rest of the Avengers on a big screen, a bucket of popcorn, and a large Dr. Pepper.

On a more serious note though, it only takes a quick perusing of news sites or TV shows to realize the level of absurd incivility we have risen to as society. Whether it’s someone physically accosting another person wearing a MAGA hat, a sitting U.S. Congresswoman calling for open hostility toward members of the current administration, to an alt-right provocateur calling for violence against reporters, or a president with Twitter happy fingers, the problem exists all around us.

And let’s not pretend it’s only one side of the ideological spectrum’s problem. Both are guilty. I hear the excuse that the other side started it, or the other side is saying worse things, but honestly that sounds like a 6-year-old child trying to justify their behavior to their parents so they don’t get in trouble. This isn’t something new we are facing. Incivility has been a problem for a long time, and it’s not just in the political realm, but a pervasive disease that can creeps into every facet of our lives.

As I’ve written about in the past, we’ve lost the ability to disagree and to master our own words, but beyond that, we’ve started equating someone we disagree with ideologically, with someone who is our mortal enemy. And when we start looking at each other as enemies, civility, understanding and love become the last things on our mind.

What we see in an almost constant barrage of incivility toward anyone who might differ in opinion, and in displaying said hostility, we drive a wedge further and further between families, communities and our nation.  The breeding of a contentious atmosphere seems to be right out of the playbook of the Father of All Lies, himself. He doesn’t need to drive us further from God, he just needs to drive a wedge in between humanity, and then our pride, vain ambition, and the natural man within us, do the rest of the work for him. Before we know it, we’ve pulled ourselves away from the presence of God and slipped down a darkened path that we don’t want to be on.

To be clear on what incivility is and what it is not. Incivility cannot be counted as standing up for your beliefs, calling out error as you see it in a respectful manor. It is not critique or hearty debate. Those things are critical for a free and healthy society to exist. Parody may or may not be uncivil, depending on the spirit in which it is done. Though lately what passes for comedy is often filled with angry vitriol or vulgarity towards other people. Incivility is calls for violence in any form, bullying, verbal and physical harassment, slander, or shouting down.

It’s because of this incivility that I worry for the future of my country and the world my children are growing up in. They see the example of adults acting like children and what else are they to do, but mimic the behavior they see. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle, and the tenor and vitriol just increases in intensity. But we can beat it by spitting ourselves out of the cycle. By centering our hearts on God and looking at each other as brothers and sisters, we can start breaking down some of the barriers that we helped to erect in the first place.

If we want to change the world it has to start with ourselves and the softening of our own hearts. We have to make a commitment to listen more and talk less. We need to serve more. We need to agree that we are not all going to agree, and that’s okay. We need to make deliberate and purposeful steps toward the Divine. By turning ourselves out of the shadowed streets that we seem to be running down at break neck speeds and facing ourselves toward the Light, we might just avoid a true civil war.

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