Choosing Civility

I have been thinking about RBG and came across this quote by E.M. Forster, which I will paraphrase:

“I believe in aristocracy…not of power…but of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky…..they are sensitive for others, as for themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness, but the power to endure, and they can take a joke”

E.M Forster

By this definition, RBG was an aristocrat. 

I have also been thinking about her longstanding friendship and regard for Justice Scalia.  They clearly had opposite views on most things but somehow maintained their mutual friendship.

That led me to life long Republican Cindy McClain’s endorsement of V.P. Joe Biden.  He also had a long-standing friendship with Senator John McClain although they clearly had their political differences through the years.

What might have been the currency for these unusual friendships?  I think civility might have played a big part.  I can imagine all four of these leaders behaving in a civil manner toward each other and ‘choosing civility’ whenever possible.

P.M. Forni published a book in 2002 called, Choosing Civility the Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct.  I have had this book forever and pull it out every now and then. This seemed like a good time to pull it out for a re-read.  You can find the 25 rules on the internet, but I like the context he put around them.  P.M. Forni was the Cofounder of the Johns Hopkins Civility Project.

I have been reading one rule each day and trying to practice it.  My rule for today is Speak Kindly, which is the heart of civil behavior.  With that in mind, I skipped Tuesday’s presidential debate.

See you on Friday,



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