“Happy Independence Day! YSCA awards Ron and Brad Dunn Memorial Scholarship to Arub A. who is attending UTD and studying Political Science; Read an excerpt of Arub’s thoughts on Civility in a Democracy below:”
In America, the term “democracy” is often defined as a system of government in which the people are represented through elected officials. While this is entirely accurate, it is important to understand that democracy extends beyond a dictionary definition or a form of government; democracy is a powerful word that encompasses each and every one of us. Democracy constitutes friendly political banter, formal debates, and activism on social media. Democratic societies are held in high praise because of their value of free speech and freedom of opinion. In order to have a successful and peaceful democratic community, civility is necessary. However, many often forget that democracy also means that differences are unavoidable and disagreements will be encountered. The reason civility is often forgotten in democracy is because it is mistaken for passiveness. Civility does not mean sacrificing your ability to stand up for what you believe in. Civility is understanding the difference between listening and waiting to talk, and the difference between an argument and a discussion. Civility is having the strength to try to understand other points of view and avoid raising your voice. Civility is being able to put aside differences and come together as one to achieve the goals that unify us. For a democracy to work in the best interest of the people, there needs to be discussion of different ideas with people of different backgrounds in order to allow the greatest ideas to prevail. With the polarization and political climate today, however, this has become very difficult. The goals the people have set are not being achieved because the lack of civility is leading to an injured democracy. Our society is crumbling because people are moving farther away from each other with no intent to come together. But it is time that we stop fighting. It is time that we understand the connection between democracy and civility and begin to value them equally. The American people have become fractured, but it does mean that we cannot heal. We are frayed, not broken. There is still hope for our community, and that hope is invested in each of us. We all have the ability to make an impact and to encourage others to respect differences. Civility will not come easily, but it will make for a brighter future and a more cohesive society. Civility will strengthen the people and our democratic government, civility will foster kindness and respect, and civility will help create the future we all aspire to have. It is time that we come together, as Americans, to stimulate the change we all hope to see.