Jeanette Sekan
Jeanette Sekan
By Jeanette Sekan
The Cody (Wyo.) Enterprise

The recent program on civility held in our community was helpful and refreshing.

It was nice to see the overflow crowd. It gave me a chance to see that others in our community were having similar concerns about the state of civility in the world.

Kudos to former governor Mike Sullivan, Dossie Overfield, Nancy Brown and Al Simpson for taking the time to share their thoughtful opinions and insight on this very important issue.

These four individuals served the public in different, but equally important roles. We’re fortunate for their service to our community.

For several days after the event, I thought more and more about the discussion. It is important to acknowledge that many are now voicing concerns about what has happened to civility, manners, kindness and a general sense of respect for our fellow human. It’s a hopeful sign that many are starting to discuss and question this sea change in our human interaction.

We used to be taught that civility and simple manners were part of how we needed to interact in the world. Most of us were taught the Golden Rule. We were taught the virtues of sharing. We were taught charity. We were taught to withhold judgment until we walked a mile in someone else’s shoes. What happened?

I must admit, in years past I sometimes did a ho-hum when leaders tried to unite and soothe in moments of national or international crises. I now realize I miss those times and should have appreciated them more.

I miss being reminded of our shared existence on this finite orb. I miss hearing or reading the words of those who can shine the positive light on humanity. I miss standing in solidarity as we confront ideas that weaken or attempt to subjugate others. I miss standing in solidarity as we address challenges where we, America, used to be the leader.

Needing to remind myself we have known true statesmen/leaders in trying times, I decided to read some Kennedy, Lincoln, Roosevelt(s), Churchill, Franklin, Douglas and several others. Some of the defining moments in our world are found in the words of these and other individuals.

The ability to elevate and articulate the positive of humanity and to identify the ideas worth fighting for is a gift most of us yearn for today. We see the power of words, especially when they are used to remind us what is important and how we are tied together as we strive for a better world. We see the power of words when they are used to divide and demean. That’s a selfish use of power. We need this to stop for all our sakes.

As we ask ourselves what happened to civility, I hope we keep searching for the answers and a way to put this genie back in the bottle. We need to hope for, believe in and work toward a positive future.

If we can find civility again, we may be able to find solutions to the worlds’ biggest challenges. Maybe we can live in some harmony with each other again. Maybe we can find our best selves again. Note: The forum is online at

Editor’s note: Jeanette Sekan is a columnist for the Cody Enterprise in Cody, Wyo. and a former resident of Ohio. The Cody Enterprise, founded by W.F. Buffalo Bill Cody and Col. John Peake in August 1899, celebrated its centennial in 1999. The award-winning newspaper is owned by Sage Publishing Co. of Cody, Wyo. Jeanette’s columns are published in The Highland County Press, courtesy of the author and the Cody Enterprise (