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A new study on the state of civility in our country shows — surprise — a lack of civility.

Weber Shandwick’s annual “Civility in America” study shows 93 percent of those surveyed said incivility is a problem.

It seems we’ve lost our ability to disagree without being disagreeable. That’s not to say we’ve always been civil in the past, but it does appear that civility is eroding.

The result isn’t just a decline of “social niceties.” Consequences of incivility lead to bullying/harassment, violent behavior, intolerance, discrimination, even hate crimes.

The top four causes, according to those surveyed: social media/internet, the White House, politicians in general and the news media.

Republicans, Democrats and independents agree the top two topics Americans avoid for fear the conversations will lead to incivility are President Trump and politics.

But regardless of what you think about our president, each of us still has the ability to be civil with one another. Here are the top ways, according to results of the survey:

• Make an effort to be civil when treated uncivilly. Remember the Golden Rule?

• Encourage your family, friends and coworkers to be civil.

• Vote for political leaders who behave in a civil way.

• Commit to one act of civility — say or do something nice — regularly.

• Speak up against, or do something about, incivility when you see it.

We can be civil to one another, while still disagreeing, even criticizing. This page has been a testament to that many times, and we’ll continue to strive for that.

Be passionate about what you believe, and don’t back down from lively debate. Just do so with respect for those who disagree with you.

Let that carry through in all areas of your life, not just this page. By setting examples for our children and grandchildren, we can make the world a better, more civil, place to live.

Central Missouri Newspapers

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