Friday, September 18, 2009

Civility: The Next Big Thing?

"Civility and conformity are not the same thing. Civility is what makes genuine diversity possible."

With all the talk about Kanye West and Joe Wilson this week, and the emergence of civility as a public aspiration, I thought I would exhume an article I wrote for Charlotte Magazine this past spring...

"Red State Refugee"

Some of it already reads as dated (did they even have the Internet six months ago?) but some of it is still kind of relevant. Even if civility was not the apparent buzzword of the week, the concept has a lot to do with why I got started writing this book, way back when.

One of the reasons I find the South so intriguing is that it actually contains, within a few hundred square miles, more extreme viewpoints than the rest of the country put together. Maybe that's why good manners are so prized. Of course there are exceptions (Wilson's "outburst" among them) but by and large, people try to get along.

Also, you never know who might be carrying a concealed weapon...