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Seven Civil Values

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So let us begin anew – remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness and sincerity is always subject to proof. JFK

The call for civility should not be construed as a call for timidity. The wrongs that need righting require courageous opposition and forthright denunciation. The problems that need solving need bold thinking and determined action. This does not mean, however, that people who differ from us and who proclaim their disagreement candidly merit insulting or threatening or defamatory responses or characterizations. Civility actually refers to a style and kind of behavior that is distinctly important in a Republic. It denotes the behavior characteristic of citizens who understand and fulfill this most precious and productive role. It makes the body politic a healthy and vigorous social reality rather than a malignancy riddled and lethargic denizen of a societal intensive care unit. In order to engage in the civil pursuit of a bountiful civic life we must be resolute in the identification and refutation of inaccuracy, illogic, defamation and deception. But even more than this, we must be determined practitioniers of seven values that convincingly signal the things we care about and the causes for which we struggle. These values are:

Unity - Fostering and sustaining concord among the citizens of our communities, states, and nation, in pursuit of liberty, equity, and prosperity for all

Self-Determination - Standing up and speaking out for the defining ideals of the American polity and setting congruent goals, launching effective initiatives, and keeping core promises implicit or explicit therein

Synergistic Efforts - Building and enhancing our communities, states, and nation together while solving problems and meeting challenges through concerted actions

Cooperative Endeavors - Developing and continuing our own styles, standards, and other processes and practices with maximum regard for mutual benefit

Purpose - Committing to building and developing the capacities of our communities, states and nation to restore our society to a condition of vibrant cohesion and shared abundance

Creativity – Doing resolutely as much as we can, in every way we can, to leave our communities, states, and nation more beautiful and beneficent than we found them

Commitment – Believing with firm conviction in ourselves, our forebears, our compatriots, our leaders, and the rectitude and success of our quest for a more perfect union

These values must not be mere words, but the code we live by. They must define the causes we champion and invigorate the people we fight for.

In the resolute exposure and repudiation of mistakes, fallacies, and chicanery, moreover, we must not engage in fallacious reasoning and devious propagandizing ourselves. The choice to be civil and behave, as citizenship in a Republic requires is one we make because we are committed to keeping the Republic bequeathed to us by the Founders and the Framers. It is something we have a duty to do and is not contingent upon the good faith of those who would make themselves our opponents. To paraphrase JFK, “Let us never fear to contend and campaign, but let us never contend nor campaign to instill or sustain fear.” There is no place in the political discourse of a healthy and vibrant Republic for triviality, threats, trickery, and the tactics of personal destruction. May the vigor of the values inspire each of us to be better than we have been and empower all of us to be the best our pooled abilities, efforts and other resources can possibly achieve. The society we save and the future we build will then truly be our own. The Republic is a continuing endeavor, not a monument, nor a shrine, nor a mausoleum. By embracing and enacting these seven civil values, we can ensure that our endeavor is one that builds and sustains a bountiful social reality for our compatriots, our children, and ourselves.

"When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

"Will you give all you can give
So that our banner may advance
Some will fall and some will live
Will you stand up and take your chance?"

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Caballero_69 is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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8 comments on Seven Civil Values

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By Caballero_69 on June 24, 2011 at 07:17 pm


Thank you so much. I treasure your postive perspective, because if we, the creative [as you called us elsewhere], do not come together and bring about improvement, who will? If we do not do so now, when will it ever be done?

Thank you again!


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By Barkha Dhar on June 25, 2011 at 06:52 pm


This is such an important piece with all the social change that is required. Out of all the values, my favorite would be self-determination that reinforces on keeping the promises. I think this value is the essence of being civil and being respectful to others despite their vulnerabilities.

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By LincolnDidn'tLie on June 26, 2011 at 01:03 am

Please, head to Michigan.

Great work!

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By Tiffany Sanders on June 26, 2011 at 12:03 pm

Too often we claim "civility" as an excuse for doing nothing and failing to speak the truth, while at the same time feeling free to launch personal attacks that serve no purpose. What you describe is, indeed, the environment in which we must operate if democracy is to have any hope of success, and the one that existed and was taken for granted (by most, anyway--Tocqueville seems to have warned that we might end up just as we have) by those who created the system.

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By Caballero_69 on June 26, 2011 at 01:56 pm


Whatever we call it doing nothing and failing to speak the truth" is a deriliction of the civil duty I am advocating here. I agree the term civility is misused as you mention.

In this article, both civil and civility were being used in a specific sense that has only a nodding relationship with courtesy or formally polite words and actions.

By civil [Seven Civil Values] I was trying to emphasize this sense of the term of or pertaining to a citizen or citizens; befitting of a citizen or citizens; of a community of citizens, their government, or their interrelations with one another; of citizens in their general and normal capacity or in matters of ordinary community life that are not military or religious; of or pertaining to the commonwealth or state. A close synonym would be civic. I did not want to use civic because I did not want to call to mind volunteer organizations that work for various good causes. I mean values that would enoble and enrich our lives as a community, a state, a nation.

My use of civility is perhaps archaic, but I tried to give a context clue. My intention was to convey this meaning that seems to have fallen into disuse: late 14c., "status of a citizen," from civil + -ity. Later especially "good citizenship" (1530s). Also "state of being civilized" (1540s); "behavior proper to civilized persons" (1560s).

Word Origin & History - civility>.

I see that you got that I was seeking to describe something more than courtesy real or feigned. Because my use of the terms was a little off from their commonly understood meaning, however, I took the opportunity to specify what I was intending.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

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By Caballero_69 on June 27, 2011 at 02:33 pm


Thank you for your kindness. I agree it is vital to keep one's promises whether an individual or a society.

Thanks again,


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By Caballero_69 on June 27, 2011 at 02:34 pm


I hope my book, A Republic If We Can Keep It, will bring these values to Michigan and the rest of U S.

Thanks for the encouraging comment!


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By Caballero_69 on June 29, 2011 at 03:04 pm


Thank you for your kind words and the expressing the hopes I hold for the book in progress.


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