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An Open Letter A Call For Civility

Editor, New Journal and Guide:

On a late fall evening as we were returning from a community event, my wife Jennifer began scrolling  through social media and reading some entries aloud to me. Quickly, we became frustrated and saddened about how easily so many people seem to spread hateful and hurtful messages. Often, those messages are spread on line, but the dialogue recently seems to be moving onto city streets and into neighborhoods, too. The hate churning in the air right now is frankly, revolting. It is distressing that we “hear” from so many who want to espouse hatred and judgement of others who don’t think or believe as they do. I imagine we are not alone in this sentiment. 

I believe a difference in thought is often the result of one’s perspective and experiences. We should all try to understand there are other voices, different from our own, that can help us understand other ideas in the world and broaden our own perspectives. Learning from those who disagree with us can be empowering, even uniting. And yet, we’re letting our differences continue to divide us. 

The news media often focuses on the negative -for clicks and shares. And it’s working. It is tearing at the fabric of our souls and our country in dangerous ways and the rest of the world is watching hoping we will succumb to our own devices. Rarely these days are our feeds filled with stories about the kindness, care, and compassion that the majority of the world shares with and has for one another. We rarely hear the good news. 

So I want to challenge those who read this to try to break the cycle. I encourage you to always take the highroad. Act with integrity. Act with respect for all. Act with care, compassion, and love. Regardless of what others do What others do with hatred and resentment is just a test for your own ability to rise above the fray and to steer clear of the road to destruction. 

I was raised with Christian beliefs and I share some lessons I learned about how we should behave with one another. Matthew 7:1-3 and 12-14. English Standard Version. Judging Others. 7 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” The Golden Rule. 12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the

Law and the Prophets. 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy[2] that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” 

So my plea to all who may read this letter is to look for the good in others. Remember what and how you communicate is an indication of what is in your heart. Treat everyone with respect always. Do not judge others, which is not your job. Live a life filled with integrity and without prejudice. Share good stories of human kindness and good will. And finally, look for opportunities every day to help someone or make a positive difference in the lives of others! Your reward after all is just possibly life everlasting. 

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Sheriff/ High Constable
Joe Baron
City Of Norfolk, Virginia

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