Striving for Civilty

August 8, 2011

PERHAPS 18TH-CENTURY ARISTOCRAT MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU summed it up best. “Civility,” she wrote, “costs nothing and buys everything.”

To some, a robust dose of that civility might be just the ticket for these rancorous times. It could, no doubt, go a long way toward restoring our national self-image as a kinder, gentler — and yes, quieter — place to live, work, and practice politics. Certainly, that was the widespread hope after Jan. 8, when violence unfolded on Tucson’s north side. As the smoke cleared, six people lay dead and another 13 were gravely injured, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.