Civility: It’s Not Just for the Supremes Anymore


The Roberts Court, April 23, 2021 Photograph by Fred Schilling

What’s the fifth “M&M” in my yellow Civics bag? Civility. It just might be our most important responsibility as American citizens.

Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote that before each and every session, all nine Supreme Court justices shake hands with each other. They may disagree wildly, but they treat each other with civility. I thought that was pretty cool.

What about the rest of us? Hmmm, these days, not so much. Thanks to social media, many Americans (and their legislators) seem to have thrown civility out the window.

Civility is a lost virtue, one that we need to reacquire. Justice Neil Gorsuch says this: “For a government ‘of and by the people’ to work, the people themselves need to talk to one another respectfully; debate and compromise; and strive to live together tolerantly.”

Next week I’ll look at one single step we can all take toward being more civil. Just a heads up—it will require practice. Luckily, I’m no stranger to needing practice. Just look at my swimming skills. When on my back, kicking, I stare at the pool ceiling and can see that I am not moving. Not one inch. Seriously. It’s so irritating. I have somehow mastered the art of kicking in place.  

I’m going to need more practice to improve my flutter kick … and my civility.





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The Big Pivot

About Me

After twenty-five years on the farm, I’m adjusting to the adventures of city life. Part of that adjustment is figuring out what I want to write about now, since sheep are no longer part of my daily life. I’m challenging myself creatively by painting with pastels and playing the ukelele as I seek my new writing path.

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Minnesota State Arts Board grant

Catherine Friend is a fiscal year 2021 recipient of a Creative Support for Individuals grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. This activity is made possible by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.