Haskell: Computer killed the civil Scottsdale political star

Civility is a concept that seems to belong to a bygone era.

There’s a great deal of emphasis placed on civility by those who are civil to your face but work overtime to discredit you behind your back. Civility is certainly something we should strive for especially in today’s society where conversations are carried out via a variety of social media platforms. Often, these are not thoughtful exchanges but heated debates laced with threats, expletives and punctuated with bad grammar.

Lisa Haskell

Many of these uncivil exchanges are directed at folks who have committed no sin other than making the bold decision to exercise their free speech rights and express an opposing viewpoint aka independent thought.

Things are often said that in previous generations would have been confined to the privacy of one’s home (today – luxury condo) or restroom walls.

The phrase, “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say it at all” doesn’t seem to have any relevance in this social media dominated society. It’s an every man/woman for themselves, the gloves are off, throw away the rule book for polite discourse and civil behavior kind of world.

— Lisa Haskell, Scottsdale resident

Mom used to caution me that you could catch more flies with honey than vinegar was it?

As a kid, I never fully appreciated that concept and must admit that as an adult it holds no particular charm for me. Flies? Why would I want to catch flies when I am hunting far bigger game? Folks who pretend to be something they aren’t — resident-friendly.

What does one use for that task? Something more potent than honey perhaps? What does one use to expose those whose motives may not be pure, those who lurk in the shadows and are manipulated by others?

Expressing too many independent thoughts may result in consequences.
Those who dare express an independent thought, those who refuse to be manipulated into corners by particular factions are often disciplined — in a very civil way of course. The phrase payback is a #$%&* comes to mind.

But, when those who dare to express independent thoughts, those who shine a light on things some believe are best left unsaid, those who go against the flow, those who refuse to be manipulated into a convenient corner remain silent.

Then what? The “civil” forces of politics win. There is a distinct difference between uncivil behavior and the expression of independent thoughts — thoughts that some may consider not be independent thoughts but inconvenient facts.

— Lisa Haskell, Scottsdale resident

Being direct and to the point is not uncivil unless of course you introduce expletives, personal attacks and perhaps a profane description of someone’s mother. One should strive for civility but it is important to understand that incivility is often bred in a political playground littered with broken promises and untruths.

People grow weary of business as usual where catch phrases like “transparency” are bandied about to give the impression that all is above board and as it should be when often the exact opposite is true.

Of course, there are times when civility is a necessity and not an option. For example, when dealing with anesthesiologists, members of law enforcement, the IRS or the mob, it is wise to exercise extreme civility. Participating in the public arena in the age of “unsocial” media is not for the faint-hearted. I am familiar with the lengths some will go to silence you, but I’m still standing.

When people are silenced, then what? The bad guys win and then what’s left? Civility is important especially in this day and age so speak softly, but remember to carry a big stick just in case.

Flame throwers are optional — Just for emphasis. It’s a joke. Relax.

Editor’s note: Ms. Haskell is a resident of Scottsdale

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