By Dr. Steve Goldzwig
On May 1, 2010 President Barack Obama delivered a commencement address at the University of Michigan. In the address, Obama delivered a rather elegant treatise on incivility. The president noted:
“Sometimes all you hear in Washington is the clamor of politics. And all that noise can drown out the voices of the people who sent you there. So when I took office, I decided that each night I would read 10 letters out of the tens of thousands that are sent to us by ordinary Americans every day— this is my modest effort to remind myself of why I ran in the first place.
Some of the letters make you think — like the one that I received last month from a kindergarten class in Virginia. Now, the teacher of this class instructed the students to ask me any question they wanted. So one asked, “How do you do your job?” Another asked, “Do you work a lot?” (Laughter.) Somebody wanted to know if I wear a black jacket or if I have a beard —(laughter)—so clearly they were getting me mixed up with the other tall guy from Illinois. (Laughter.) And one of my favorites was from a kid who wanted to know if I lived next to a volcano. (Laughter.) I’m still trying to piece the thought process on this one. (Laughter.) Loved this letter.
But it was the last question from the last student in the letter that gave me pause. The student asked, “Are people being nice?” Are people being nice? Continue reading ‘Questions on Incivility in Contemporary Politics and Culture’