The sting in the tail is in the last minute of the vid. Civility comes from the top down, just as Abu Ghraib style behaviour also comes from the top down.
In dealing with an uncivil govt who are doing really nasty things, who are running an NHS not giving a damn about patients or about the elderly in care homes, carrying out illegitimate surveillance on you, when yobs are everywhere out there, the temptation to match their aggression and rudeness is great.
At a time when stress is high and tempers are fraying, the temptation lose it is strong.
I have to deal with the govt four or five times a week. Long ago, not from any innate niceness but from a strategic point of view, I thought I’d see how far civility, whilst staying on the ball and not letting them do things illegally, was the way to go. Friend of mine took the opposite tack – gave them a hard time and made sure they knew they couldn’t walk over him.
It’s true that they tend to try it on with cooperative citizens – they see them as compliant – which they wouldn’t dare with uncooperative but there is a way to be firm and yet friendly, I believe. A silence, followed by a quietly delivered, “I beg your pardon?” whilst looking straight into her eyes has been effective for me. Maybe you have your own technique.
And one needs to choose one’s battles to fight to the death. Some time back, I decided to no longer fight battles on this blog and so cut some adrift. I don’t regret it for a moment. Trouble is, it makes enemies who will get their revenge one day.
It’s almost impossible to remain friends with everyone, unless one is bland, insipid and a yes man. And yet I had to deal with a utility company today and got a good result, I do believe from being friendly to the lady and patient, as she kept me waiting ten minutes with piped music. she was pretty surprised anyway.
You can’t keep it up forever though and there comes a time one must let off steam. My time is on this blog – it’s the outlet. Better than kicking the wall or going out with an axe, looking for someone to tenderize.
So Bill’s right about that and by the way, I wouldn’t mind trying this Chick-fil-A.
Moving on, we had two people come into the shop last week and let’s say they were of a certain ubiquitous ethnicity. That was not the issue. The issue was the brusqueness, the total lack of grace or graciousness, the hard voice and manner, the way the kid ran wildly around breaking things and the woman glared about as if daring anyone to challenge this – she knew her rights to the last full stop.
After they left, the other customers breathed a sigh of relief, some looked towards the ceiling – these were the English customers. Everyone felt the same thing but if a leftist happened to be in that shop and had seen that, she [or he] would have castigated everyone for racism and made a scene over it.
My partner made certain remarks and she is not given to any sort of isms as a rule. On the other hand, we have a Japanese girl helping out and no one can say enough in praise of her. So where’s the racism?
This is about two things in my book – dignity and civility.