Stephen Carter is interviewed in the Fall 2012 edition of Reflections from Yale Divinity School. He defines civility as the sum of the many sacrifices that we make for the sake of living our common life.
He goes on: “thus civility isn’t only good manners(although it is that) and it isn’t only how we think about and talk about others (although it is that, too). Civility resides, for example, in acts of charity, particularly when they are truly costly to us.
Good words to heed and to put into practice.
We all got quite tired of the lack of civility in the recent election cycle. Our national political leaders, and my civic leaders in my town, are too often poor examples of what Carter is talking about.
In contrast to current politics, there is the example of Abraham Lincoln seen in the current film. With grace and charm, and malice towards none. He guided the nation forward, through a civil war, through the adoption of the 13th Amendment
Lincoln’s style is worth emulating. It demonstrates the costly charity of which Carter speaks.