... The evolution of talk radio and television news from information to confrontation, as well as the loss of any ethical foundation of print media (newspapers and magazines) and the unleashing of anonymous venom on the internet and blogs, have served not only to destroy reputations with undocumented vicious gossip, but have lowered the level of discourse and civility to an unbelievably dangerous level.
Decent folks who wish to serve their country in the military, politics, social work and other public arenas, become fodder for indecent attacks based upon ideology, with the sole purpose of eliminating their voices and ability to function.
Gone is the civility of negotiations, arbitrations, discussions, and debates.
Soon, only the indecent will reign. Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Hezbollah, etc., have only to wait; we are destroying our own society. MORE...
Dr. Laura is right on - all we have to do is wait, and our enemies will take over. We need to reclaim civility in this country. It needs to start with each of us - giving and expecting respect.
An idea of mine is that all schools should require: uniforms, civility. That means, at the least on the high school level, addressing each other as Miss or Mister, shaking hands when greeting each other (no hugging and kissing) and taking turns in arguments / debates. Every school should require at least one course in rhetoric - in which the rules of formal debate are observed and practiced. Public speaking. Both practical applied arithmetic (accounting) and higher math (algebra, geometry, trig, beginning calculus). Phys ed involving heavy, sweat-producing exercise should be required of all students (unless physically unable for acceptable medical reasons). English - both grammar and literature, essay-writing with tough grading standards; History, simple Agronomy, Climatology and Geography - integrated with a beginning understanding of how weather affects agriculture and thus invasion and wars.
Yes, standards must be toughened up and discipline enforced.
The "hows" can come after commitment to the concepts is achieved. At that time, the hows and wherefores can be determined. I do have some ideas about that, too, however, and will discuss them later.