CATHEDRAL CITY — A simple act last week at Planning Commission was proof that civility is not dead. Kathy DeRosa was there to represent an applicant for a project on the agenda. Moments before the session started, she stepped up to the dais and shook hands with the commissioners.
When she got to me, I waved her over and stepped down to shake hands and give her a hug. We spoke as good friends, even though we are sometimes at odds with each other in the causes we each support.
I’ve known Kathy as mayor and friend since 2007 when I first joined the Architectural Review Committee. She officiated for my sister-in-law’s wedding in front of City Hall at the Fountain of Life. While we have at times been at odds regarding the people and causes we each support, I’ve always known she was someone I could reach out to for the issues on which we share common ground, just as she’s reached out to me in times past.
This is life, this is civility — this is what we need now more than ever at City Hall.
People can be friends and not agree on everything. Last year when I ran for City Council, she supported that “other guy” and not me just as I now stand proudly with Shelley Kaplan whom I support in District 1 —not the candidate she’s supporting. Civility and respect for all is how we move forward, how we get things done. All this “heated noise” in the background serves no purpose other than to express anger, fear, and discrimination.
You can speak your mind, you can disagree, and you can even yell out in protest. But attacking anyone solely for who you think they are or what you think they stand for using hateful attacks only clouds the real issues that need to be explored and debated in respectful dialogue.
I’m not exactly a Biblical scholar, but I don’t seem to recall any part of the Bible in which Christ told the Romans to f**k off. Christ expressed civility and compassion even for those who persecuted him in the cruelest way. Given that high mark, the very least we can do is practice a little restraint, use common sense and support civility.
Kathy De Rosa and I will continue to disagree in the future, but we will also remain friends. And, from time to time we will find common ground. Reach out to those you might disagree with, and stand tall and proud with those whom you support. But always be respectful.
- Handshake: Image by John Hain from Pixabay