Civility and Civic Virtue in Contemporary America
This week’s reading was based on several aspects of civility and the civil virtues that should be portrayed by American citizens living in these current times of contemporary America. The week’s reading was derived from Michael Walzer’s views on civility and civic virtue. Walzer tries to explain some of the characteristics portrayed by his fellow American’s which are related to civility and civil virtues. He examines these characteristics, criticizes them and gives probable ways in which Americans can practice a better civil culture.
In my view, I do agree with a big part of Walzer’s arguments. For example, Walzer notes that, in recent times, people are not practicing true loyalty, service and civility as expected of them. I do agree Walzer’s arguments that the virtue of true nationalism is not being portrayed by a lot of people in America. It is true, that most people are currently practicing political allegiance that has resulted in the loss of the sacramental meanings of American holidays and celebrations. This is because most people and politicians use such events to propagate their own agenda instead of celebrating the intended meaning of such holidays.
I also agree that some level of tolerance should be practiced in order to facilitate peaceful coexistence among all American people. Finally, I also agree with Walzer’s proposal of increasing the avenues of exercising participatory politics. Increased avenues of participatory politics reduce the coercion of some politicians to agree with some absurd policies and propositions in a bid to maintain their political popularity.
However, I also disagree with a number of Walzer’s propositions. To begin with, I disagree with Waltzer’s proposition that American citizens should exercise complete tolerance of one another even when the ideals or practices of some people are wrong. In my view, people should be allowed to oppose practices that are wrong or absurd. The aim of maintaining peace through tolerance should not be used as an excuse to permit people to continue practicing immoral or wrong activities. I also disagree with the notion that people’s level of virtuousness can be measured by their level of participation in voting. In my view, many people still practice a lot of civic virtues even though they do not take part in voting.
There is a great connection between Waltzer’s propositions in this reading and my personal experiences. For example, I have observed that most politicians abuse their opportunity to lead other people in sacramental celebrations by propagating their own selfish interests. I have also observed that there is an increased level of tolerance in today’s society which has resulted into the acceptance of gay marriages and a reduction in racial discrimination. These are examples of some of subjects that had received a lot of opposition in the past. I also find some of Walter’s propositions to be of great value to my life and rational of thinking. I am now motivated to practice true loyalty and service to my country by engaging in activities that defend its integrity.
The content of this week’s reading greatly connects and adds to the materials that have been discussed in class, in the past. This is because the reading gives us ideas on how we can practice civility and civil virtues in order to achieve the ultimate goal of the course which is to become better citizens. The reading also challenge the points obtained from other readings by requiring us to practice specific virtues in order to become better citizens.
After reading Waltzer’s article, I have realized that his views are similar to those that I have for my investigation project topic. This is because we both support the notion that all Americans need to increase their observance of civility and civic virtues. The reading has also changed my view about life. This is because it has enabled to understand that I have a great responsibility to practice civility and civic virtues to ensure that I contribute to the existence of a better America.