Poetry | A Backlash of Civility?

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A Backlash of Civility?


The days of wine and roses

seem a lifetime far away

While posturing and poses

are the order of the day


Good graces and decorum

don't define the way we act

Every evil has its forum

accusation equals fact


Restraint and apt humility

are valued here no more

Attacks and rank hostility

is that what we've in store?


Perhaps it's just an apogee

the end point of a swing

Its opposite we're soon to see

if physics does its thing


Civility by pendulum?

we must do more than hope

The change is what you must become

to move the swinging rope




"A divided electorate," "no dialogue between sides," calls for violence and talk of civil war — is this what society has become? 

We've often read about all sorts of "backlash" when it comes to public sentiment or behavior on political and social issues. Typically, whenever a progressive change takes place for instance, (e.g. in the form of a downward change in status or wealth, real or perceived),  those affected by this change will often "push back" in the opposite direction as a way of re-establishing the status quo. 

Entropy theory aside for a moment, what if the situation we are experiencing now is not evidence of irreversible societal decay doomed to unchecked expansion? What if the behavior we are witnessing and experiencing is simply the apogee of a pendulum swing? What if the next phase is not expansion — with things getting worse — but, instead a swing in the opposite direction? 

What if the "old time" behaviors (like civil discourse, respect, empathy) are due for a resurgence? Wouldn't it be thrilling to experience a backlash of civility? What's needed, however, is not simply optimism, but action as Gandhi reportedly said: "Become the change you wish to see." Don't wait for the backlash, become the backlash in civility! 

Saipan resident, Walt F.J. Goodridge, is author of over 400 "life rhymes" and over two dozen books including “Turn Your Passion into Profit” and “The Tao of Wow.” Learn more at and

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