Last week saw the Institute’s definition of civility featured in Columbus, Georgia’s Ledger-Enquirer. As part of his November 22 column, The Word for Today, and for the Holidays, executive editor Dimon Kendrick-Holmes quotes it in full:
Claiming and caring for one’s identity, needs and beliefs without degrading someone else’s in the process.
And he comments astutely that it is as applicable around the Thanksgiving table — among relatives with whom one may have significant personal and political differences — as it is in Congress’ hallowed halls.
The proof, he writes, is in his own personal history. Kendrick-Holmes recounts a visit from some eight years past in which he — a veteran — opened his home to a set of relatives who had come to protest at the army base at Fort Benning, just outside of Columbus.
There were some awkward moments, he writes, like when his house guests thought it wonderful that he had spent four years living abroad, only to find out — to their chagrin — that it was as part of a military assignment.
But civility saved the day.
Civility, he writes, allows us to focus on the things you have in common, and try to listen and learn about a few things you don’t. And it insists that — from literature, to shape note singing, to the state of education in America — there are always more topics of conversation that bring us together than split us apart.
We asked Dimon Kendrick-Holmes why he chose the Institute’s particular definition of the word. And here is what he said: the usual web dictionaries weren’t giving me much more than “politeness” and “courtesy”. And when I typed “define civility” in Google, the Institute’s definition really stood out.
Dimon Kendrick-Holmes isn’t the only person who thinks so. And his column in the Ledger-Enquirer is just the latest example of how the Institute’s definition of civility — and its insistence on a more civil discourse at every level of society — continues to spread. But it cannot spread alone.
If you want to add your voice to the chorus calling for civility, click through and join the Institute for Civility in Government today. If you support the institute’s core values, and its mission to facilitate dialogue and teach respect, click here to make a donation.
And certainly, as Dimon Kendrick-Holmes tells us in his column: let’s all focus a little bit on civility this holiday season.