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June 21st, 2011
06:00 PM ET

Why is America becoming nastier?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When former Utah governor and U.S. ambassador to China Jon Huntsman announced he is running for president earlier today, he promised a campaign of civility. Huntsman told the crowd, "I don't think you need to run down anyone's reputation to run for president."

We'll see how long that lasts.

According to a new survey on civility and behavior in America released exclusively to Politico,com, 85% of Americans think politics in this country has become increasingly uncivil. And nearly three-quarters think things will get nastier as we get deeper into the 2012 presidential race. That's probably a pretty good bet.

But it's not just politics where America's gotten nastier. Eight-six percent of Americans say they have been treated uncivilly recently - most commonly while driving or shopping. Sixty percent say they themselves have been rude to someone else.

Also in the survey, Americans were asked to rank 25 U.S. institutions from least civil to most civil. Political campaigns were the least civil, followed by pop culture, then the media, government and at No. 5, the music industry. But the sixth least civil institution? The American public. Seventy percent of those surveyed said the public wasn't civil.

And that says a lot about our society. If we can't treat each other nicely, how can we ever expect to get this country back on its feet?

Here’s my question to you: Why is America becoming nastier?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Brian in Illinois:
A lot of it has to do with the fact that so many of us once had promising futures ahead of us that were snatched away by the greed of large corporations under the guise of globalization. Add to that the breakup of family and other social units, the accelerated pace of life, expectations gone mad, and you have the perfect cocktail for a spark to become a massive flame. The biggest surprise is that this hasn't happened by now.

Barbara in Henderson, Nevada:
Well, Jack, I think it's because we the people who ARE America are fed up with what these career politicians have done with OUR country. We're just sick and tired of it. Along with all of their blaming it on each other rather than actually trying to FIX IT.

Joseph in Oceanside, California:
This is just too easy!! The entire middle class is being destroyed by the super rich and the corporations. Everyone is starting to feel hopeless because they know every candidate for office is controlled by this moneyed group. It's called slavery. We need the Arab Spring in this country.

Bill in New Mexico:
For me, it is telemarketers. I once treated telephone calls with respect. After a couple of decades of telemarketers I am most rude with them. I have even caught myself being rude with telephone calls that were not telemarketers. I say America is nastier because of bad times and telemarketers.

Nate in North Carolina:
Because technology is killing our morals. Cyber bullying, Craig's List killers, online gossip about political scandals. What can you expect? With a vicious unrestricted cyber world, a lack of compassion towards one another, deception, and selfishness seem to be the trend of today.

Cy:
What are you? Stupid? Rent, gas, food and everything goes up. If I still have a job next week it will be the one where my salary has been frozen for three years. The rich are allowed to lie, cheat and bribe and be repeatedly and amply rewarded. People who tell the truth are ignored or punished. Decent people are getting screwed while dishonest people prosper. What a stupid question. You suck. Bite me.


Filed under: United States
soundoff (343 Responses)
  1. Rich McKinney, Texas

    I think for the most part Jack it is learned behavior. There is a certain amount of anonymity with the internet and social media which is how we communicate now days. People can hide behind a screen name and make an ass out of themselves and no one knows who they really are. If someone does get a bad reputation they simply change their screen name and IP address and they come back as another unknown. When you had to deal with people like the olden days, face to face, where your hand shake was your word and your word was a bond and your reputation revolved around it people were more responsible, honest and civil.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  2. Greg in Arkansas

    OUR country is bitterly divided by petty party politics, trivial issues and angry rhetoric where one side can't seem to recognize victory unless the other side is totally destroyed.

    Bipartisanship became a dirty word and is the major roadblock preventing solutions to "OUR" Nation's problems.

    In these desperate economic times, it is much easier to take shots at each other and lay the blame on the "other guy" than accept any changes that might alter our daily vocabulary from I, ME or MINE to US, WE or OUR.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  3. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    I'll blame the internet, Jack! It is easy to be nasty while anonymous and that trend has spread to the rest of American life.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
  4. John from Alabama

    Jack: We are a nation where manners are not taught to our children, because their parents are to busy making a buck or just do not care. It is sad, but true. We are a nation who butts into everyone's business weather we are asked to or not. Our children think Bart Simpson is a modern day hero, and who is Audie Murphy. Our youth do not know their past; therefore, we or they will be doomed to relive their past, again. I believe those who have manners, and who do not want to relive this nations mistakes are in the minority.

    June 21, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  5. leon

    becuz we have been cheated . we cant make ends meet when the non working shareholders are shaking down the housing market, the jobs , that are filled with non working shareholders , all while we have to take pay cuts so the ruling class can decide our countries fate...
    we cant even get nutritional food, safe water and healthy local communities cuz were forced to go back into the industrial revolution of 150 years ago , so more industrialists can get rich destroying our sustainable resources, youknow, nutritional non genetically modified foods, water that is not threatened by ignorant :"fracking", and forcing us to accept roads in every nieghborhood still saturated with cars that cant get 50 m.p.g. combustionable, like the 1970 honda civic, ...Oh,yeah, and the heroin and malt liqour that unkle sam allows, due inlarge part , from liberals sympathizing with drug dealers and pimps doing anything for money... we cant survive this onslaught of 3rd world ends meeting...

    June 21, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
  6. Norm

    America is the greatest country on Earth since the beginning of human civilization.

    Unfortunately, over the last three decades we have been in decline. Much of this is due to the negative side of computing, incompetent or corrupt leaders, globalism, illegal immigration, the erosion of the US Constitution and the collapse of the two political parties.

    Our nation really needs to get its act together by ejecting all the buffoons so that we can be a great force in the world once again.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  7. Mark in Oklahoma City

    Jack, it's very simple. Go spend ONE DAY in any public school in America and you will witness the making of selfish, rude, distrespctful children who will grow up to be the exact same kind of adult. We threw out corporal punishment thanks to all the psycho-bablle about 'harming" our little darlings self image and what society got in return was a kick in the teeth by that generation and all generations of young people since. Just ask any teacher.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  8. Ray in Knoxville

    Jack, if you look back in history, you will see that there has always been a certain nastiness to Americans. Look at the presidential elections of 1800, 1824 and 1828. Look at the years and actions leading up to the Civil War. What's new these days is the techonology that allows the world to see the nastiness as it happens.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  9. Cy Gardner

    People are bred in minivans and Xboxes for life in a cubicle. Reality doesn't extend any further than a screen eight inches in front of their nose. To many yuppie spawn, other people outside that ME-zone are just background noise in a movie that is all about them. They are often raised to think that EVERYTHING is all about them. Sometimes this selfishness clashes with some other daydreamer's inner biopic and screaming and whining ensues. People just aren't raised to deal with other people anymore. Cy from Arlington, VA

    June 21, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
  10. Dave, Orlando, FL

    I’d really hate to know what the other 15%’s idea of rude is if they think politics is civil now. And I’d really, really hate to meet one of them on the street!

    June 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  11. Annie, Atlanta

    There's been a concerted effort to divide and conquer us, though I'm not sure where the threat comes from, but it's working. Is it the politicians, is it corporate owned media, big business, or a combination of all of the above? Great quote that helps me keep things in perspective: "To say my fate is not tied to your fate is like saying, your end of the boat is sinking."–Hugh Downs

    June 21, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  12. bonnie from NJ

    Hey, guess what, we are pissed off out here!! If you can't find a job or can't pay your bills or afford to put gas in your car etc. etc. you may have a tendency to be less patient than usual. I am not saying it is right but it certainly could be part of the reason. As far as politics go, that's all they have to campaign on, what's wrong with the other guy. None of them have any substance to their campaign, no plans (or even an outline) to fix what ails this country, no reason why we should elect them only why we shouldn't elect the other guy.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  13. Bill in New Mexico

    When times get bad, people tend to take their frustrations out on others.

    I am appalled by what pets and former pets are suffering.

    For me it is telemarketers. I once treated telephone calls with respect. After a couple of decades of telemarketers I am most rude with them. I have even caught myself being rude with telephone calls that were not telemarketers.

    I say America is nastier because of bad times and telemarketers.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    Humans everywhere are becoming nastier.

    It is an innate part of the species, which we are no longer making any effort to suppress or control. It is more obvious in the US, because our government tolerates more bad behavior than most other governments.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
  15. Sandstone.

    "I'm glad you said America, Jack. As that also includes Canada! We're like Bee's around the nest's, very insecure of what is the next threat blowing our way. The internet has played a major part in this with all the crazy video's from the media; that's been appearing everyday. I nevedr use Banking-Machines, but I imagine often how insecure/paranoid they get used. 'Am I really going to get my money if I use this card?' 'Is my job still there? Or will I arrive, and be told to go home?" What if??"

    June 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  16. Nate NC

    Because technology is killing our morals. Cyber bullying, Craig's List killers, online gossip about political scandals.... What can you expect? With a vicious unrestricted cyber world, a lack of compassion towards one another, deception, and selfishness seem to be the trend of today, thus making America nastier.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  17. Ken from Pinon Hills. California

    We have been nasty to each other all along, but it looks like nastier is a case of follow our leaders. We fume over our neighbors' race, religion, language, gender and, culture, and seemingly are incapable of tolerance for each other.
    A recent survey showed the countries where the citizens are the most happy shows Denmark the leader, with surprisingly, Venezuela in tenth place. Those countries refer to themselves as the motherland,and have a common race, religion, language, and, culture among their masses. One wonders, given our mixed bag of humanity, would they be as happy?

    June 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  18. dave in nashville

    As the gap between wealth and sustenance widens, it is only natural people become nasty, and then mean.
    And even now, with extreme economic hardship everywhere, the media still flouts the rich and famous...I would be in hiding if I were one of them even as I helped in any way I could.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  19. Joe CE

    The average peron is losing economic ground, the media emphasizes nasty things, and there is a lot of anger generated. This is not a dupilcate but worth repeating.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  20. Cindy

    Look no further than the GOP candidates and their base.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  21. Donald in CA

    Because ugly is winning in America. Look at all the nasty people on the right running for president. Tabloids are doing big business and major newspapers are going out of business. Say something nasty about the president and the media covers you. As Marvin Gaye said in his popular song, whats going on?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  22. Chris - Denver

    Because of those yechy smelly republicans who hate america and want to destroy children.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
  23. Kate

    We're fighting for our lives here! Our politicians are taxing us to death, the entitled and irresponsible are bankrupting us while refusing to teach their kids any values and our Corporations are sending all our jobs overseas. How can we be expected to be civil? We're too angry, disenfranchised and taken advantage of!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  24. Lori - PA

    Jack,

    I'd like to say it has to do with the lack of jobs, and the frustration people feel, but people were nasty well before that. Maybe it has to do with people using e-mail, twitter, facebook, or texting to talk to each other. Because these modes of communicating don't require people to interact in a social setting, I guess we've forgotten how to be polite. After all, have you seen what some people post on their facebook wall?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  25. Susan

    Stress

    June 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  26. Joe

    Jack,

    America is nastier, because we have realized there is no proof of obtaining the absolute through faith based belief; therefore, our sense of doing good for the community has also failed, and all that is left is Narcissism demonstrating selfishness and manipulation of others. What remains? Very little Jack, probably mankind will self-destruct, and then what will we have?
    Joe, Binghamton, NY

    June 21, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  27. Dave - Buffalo

    People think and act as though they don't have time to be nice to other people and will look at you like you are crazy if you are!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  28. KCLaw

    "Negative waves, Moriarty, negative waves."
    -Donald Sutherland in "Kelly's Heros."

    KCLaw in Kansas City

    June 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  29. Elizabeth E. Panarelli

    I believe that the US political and popular culture have been driving a culture of incivility in the US. Politicians seek to divide the electorate to keep us from noticing our pockets are being robbed. Popular culture tries to titilate rather than educate. The use of electronic devices puts this all in our faces all day long and keeps people from interacting with others.

    I'm not suggesting that we retreat to a world of British period drama decorum, but we can do better.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  30. Jenny

    We have turned our backs on God and answer to no one. That is why America is becoming nastier.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  31. SarahTonin

    Jack, it's all rooted in respect. People have gotten the idea that respect must be earned, in all cases, and if you happen to dislike someone it's OK to say or do anything you like because that person hasn't earned respect from you. The anonymity that the internet and social media has provided makes it easier to disrespect anyone and hide. It's sick! It's warped! It's evil! and there's no way to fix it.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
  32. Kyle (Barnwell, SC)

    I feel like it's all a product of inferior parenting and a serious lack of responsibility over the past half century. Seems like today's motto is "Screw it up as bad as you can and dump it off on someone else." I don't know for sure. I was raised to be civil. Backstabbing and dirt-throwing weren't in my vocabulary save for when others did so to me. People just don't take responsibility for what they do and, for the one's young enough to still need parental guidance, their parents refuse to MAKE them take responsibility.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  33. Layne Alleman

    Jack, I think a lot of it has to do with Americans warped sense of "Individualism". People are taught at a very early age to "trust no one" if you expect to "win", or "get ahead". I suppose a lot has to do with all the fear that's been drilled into us for so many decades. So many Politicians, Industry leaders, and even religious leaders, tell us that we live in a "Christian" country. I guess that the vast majority of the "flock" haven't had a chance to read "the book". Once again, "US vs. THEM", "ME vs. YOU". Ain't that the American way, Jack???? Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  34. Jim in Dallas

    Because loud mouths like you and Rush are media stars Jack

    June 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
  35. Steve Caton

    I'm not a Luddite, in fact, I think technology has brought a lot of wonderful advances, but I also believe that it has placed a great divide between us, where communications are more electronic, than in person, and instant responses are more important than thoughtful ones

    June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  36. Marcus Trumble

    The problem is that for the majority of people now, behavior is dictated not by right or wrong, but what they can get away with.

    If you don't get in trouble, it's OK to do it.

    Also, it seems that people view others as not fellow citizens, but things that get in their way or waste their time.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  37. Joe Schmo

    Because 'the American Dream' is dying, or dead, and healthcare, and other needs are too expensive to afford.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  38. bryan

    it's getting nastier because news stations are reporting so they can get ratings instead of reporting the facts

    June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  39. Sean

    There was this social revolution that happened a few decades back, and the mantras were always "if it feels good, do it", and that social norms and concepts of morality were ambiguous and open to interpretation. These mantras continue to be a part of our social consciousness and are still mentioned today, and what we see now is the result. What did they think would happen?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  40. Alex

    You bet we're nastier. We are overworked and underpaid. Who wouldn't be?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
  41. paul rankin

    Jack,
    America is getting nastier because we as a society have, to paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan, allowed ourselves to define down deviance. Media, including the internet, glorify coarse interactions and TV-based political punditry – if that's what it can be called – has devolved into little more than verbal boxing matches amongst partisans. Nastier? No. Juvenile, yes.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  42. SCOTO

    The nastiness is led in part by the right wing media employing types like Linbaugh, Hannity , Coulter, O'Reilly etc. None of them very bright or capable of polite debate. Watch them confronted by a skilled debater (like Christopher Hitchens) They are terrified and usually resort to insults.
    Monkey see, monkey do.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  43. david, CA

    Because republicans can only run on smear campaigns and attacks. They have no solutions or ideas. They can only state whats wrong, give soundbites and attack attack attack. It's like watching a pack of dogs fighting over a leg of lamb.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  44. K. Richardson

    I'm rude in a very calculated way, but then, I always have been. Sometimes it's the only viable response, for example if someone such as a salesperson is rude to you, first. More importantly, and why I'm writing, it that it's a carry-over from my days in demonstrations. There are some people whose thinking cannot be modified, except by some shock that potentially causes them to reassess. In a world where we are running out of time to make decisions about issues that affect the future of the human race, there's simply no time to follow a gentle course that's respectful of everyone's feelings.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  45. Mary

    I think its materialism and lack of religios faith.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
  46. suesark

    We are becoming nastier because we can. That is, we have blogs and twitter and Facebook and all sorts of websites that allow us to remain anonymous. As such, we can say just about any nasty old thing we want about anyone and think we aren't hurting anyone! Pretty cool, eh?

    Sue, Olive Branch Mississippi

    June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  47. Jimmy

    It is due to the array of information that is accessible to people. Candidates also know the value of slinging mug. With the media as bias as they are, their candidate will get a free pass from the tough questions(i.e The View). How could polling numbers in 08 reflect that the majority of public opinion believed that Obama would be better for the economy? Because he was never faced with real questions. He aced the beauty pageant questions! (If you could get one wish, what would it be?) I will give him that!!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  48. Tom Beehler

    Why, People are no longer optimistic – in general, as a population, we focus on the negative 10% of our issues and fail to appreciate that we get 90% of it right most of the time.

    Everyone is out to get "what's theirs", and will misrepresent or mistreat anyone who gets in their way – how sad we have become.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  49. Larry Green

    We are out of touch with each other. It is easy to hide behind the internet. If you look at any forums on a website that carries the news, you can see just how nasty people can be. This ends up spilling over once you have a mind set that you can do this.

    I also have to say that with how busy we keep ourselves, we don't pass respect down to our younger people. We will pay for this one day.

    Larry
    Peoria, Illinois

    June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  50. Believer

    The reasons why America becoming nastier:

    1. We have forgotten God – the Creator God – Jesus Christ
    2. We worship Mother Nature and other gods, not the true and living God – Jesus Christ.
    3. We promote same sex marriage and abortions.
    4. We promote theistic evolutiion and many pastors are embracing this method and abolishing the creation account mentioned in Genesis.
    5. Some churches accept gay pastors
    6. We love "money" more than God and God gave us what we want and He shakes our wallets and the cause and effect is the economy is in turmoil.
    7. We love other "stuff" rather than loving God who can take away our breath at anytime He wishes.

    If we turn to God and REPENT as a nation, I believe that God would heal AMERICA and she will become a great nation again because people turn to God.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  51. marybeth

    Jack,

    Yes, I think that America is becoming nastier. Politics has always been a nasty business and mud-slinging and telling outright lies about your opponent is nothing new. I remember how nasty the 1988 presidential election was, and I'm sure that if you researched earlier elections you would also find nastiness.

    That said, I believe the level of nastiness has increased because MEDIA has changed. In the 1970's and for much of the 1980's, most people got their news from 3 network stations and print media (newspapers and weekly journals). Today, we have 24/7 cable "news", the wild, wild west aka the internet, blogs, twitter, electronic social networking sites, and more. The internet has added a level of anonymity so some people feel safe telling even more outrageous lies and spewing hate and misinformation. I also think that the general public reads and thinks less, tends to watch their "news" on the cable channel that best represents their way of thinking, and jumps to conclusions before getting all of the facts despite how ridiculous the conclusions sound. Remember the Birthers? Our "news" has become commentary (both on the left and the right), then there's Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann happily re-writing history to suit themselves.

    The nastiness also gives ordinary Americans their 15 minutes of fame in an age when anyone with a cell phone camera can post a video on You Tube or put anything out on the internet.

    I don't expect politics to ever be civil (there's no ratings in televising a civil, intelligent debate), but I despair of the lack of civility among ordinary people in everyday life. Maybe we all could use etiquette lessons and to remember what our mothers told us when we were children–if you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything at all.

    Marybeth, Massachusetts

    June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  52. solex

    For reasons of passing understanding – elections are won by people assigning blame and then setting themselves up as the solution to whatever the blame is being addressed for.

    People want to believe that voting for someone will solve their problems. In order for that to happen, the "problems" need a manifestation, and what better one than whomever your opponent is?

    Also, politicians figured out a long time ago that we would rather be entertained than informed...

    June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  53. Celia Denison

    In a nutshell, how are we supposed to be civil when we're neither teaching civility to younger generations nor are we practicing these tenets ourselves.

    We've become a society of all for me and nothing for you, we relish in seeing misery in others and become jealous when there is good that befalls our fellow citizens... why should there be? We should be engorged with more and more of whatever stuff adveritising has worked hard to sell us and we've swallowed every morsel of this nastiness.

    Greed, lack of civil citizenship, no parental role models... after all every woman would rather work to buy more useless consuemrism that got us into this mess than to actually parent and teach. Children and not so young ones look up to the 24/7 media hyped versions of what they believe they should follow and those are the ones they emulate. Behaviours that are classless and crass, the likes of stardom a la Wisteria lane in reality... seriously do we really need to know what these people do behind closed doors? Reality tv is another wonderdrug for the masses that promotes the lowest common behaviours and social ilks that have cropped up.

    Gone are the Grace Kellys or Hepburns, we've replaced these with the bunny du jour such as Ms. Harris (aka...the last possible Hefner wife).

    Maybe it's time we brought back a stay-at-home someone to ensure proper etiquette, civil upbringing and maybe a dose of parenting that is sorely lacking. I for one am for it and will endeavour to do my part.

    Mrs. Celia Denison

    June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  54. Anita

    Read 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and you'll find your answer. Particularly verse 3.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  55. Jay Kay

    Because people are unhappy. Isn't the Misery Index at it's highest level in close to 30 years?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  56. Nonsense913

    Money = the root of all evil and our society bases everything around money. So it's only natural for people to act like the thing they desire the most.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  57. dan in capitola

    Jack,
    The entire social fabric is in tatters. The shattered economy with no one held accountable, 10 years of illegal and costly wars, the relentless attack by the right on the middle class and unions, the ridiculously high cost of living and cost of healthcare-by-cartel have sent one blunt message to the American people: YOU'RE ON YOUR OWN!
    And so a real "me-first and screw you" attitude is evident and it's literally worth your life to ask someone to , for example, stop talking on their cell phone at the movies because you might get stabbed for your trouble.
    Driving is the worst. It's a privilege and not a right. It's not "me" time to catch up on your calls, text incessantly, or put on make-up while driving all over the road at 12 miles an hour.
    The sense of "we're all in this together" is pretty much gone. Can you imagine if the earthquake and tsunami had hit Los Angeles instead of Japan? The looting and crime? Martial law?
    The coarsening effect of popular culture with misogynistic, narcissistic lyrics and mean-spirited videos, the use of profanity on TV during what used to be considered the family hour, hyper-violent movies, hyper-violent rhetoric from Beck and Limbaugh: all these things TEACH people how to act and they are not a 'reflection of the culture' as the purveyors always say when called to account.
    I fear from my country, I really do.
    Dan in Capitola

    June 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  58. Patty D.

    Dear Jack, I believe it is because we are becoming more isolated with our new technology. Sure, internet and twitter and texting are fabulous, but we are losing a personal touch. When people do not communicate face to face or assemble in a setting with neighbors and others we do not socialize as we used to. Add the fact Americans are working harder for less. And when many people have work two jobs, you are bound to have a society running on emtpy.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  59. ps

    Republicans are nasty and mean by nature. Get rid of them and we all become more civil.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  60. james pfeiffer

    America has become nastier because we realize that our capitalist-consumer society does not bring happiness. The fantasy of "the American dream" has crumbled in front of our very eyes. As a result people find different ways to circle the wagons to deal with their fear, i.e., fundamental religious intolerance, risky behavior, anger and perversion. We no longer trust our leaders or our system of government. We have become socially bankrupt and cynical. We have a media that is out of control, promoting divisiveness while pitting sides against one another. We are no longer the hopeful, starry eyed people of the American dream.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  61. geoff hancock

    Jesus, Jack, Why do have to ask so many damn questions. For Gods' sake, yes we're nastier. Get over it.

    Now, where's that friggin' remote? Crap. Snookies on now...

    June 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  62. Walter

    I think because the reality is that is there no middle ground in politics anymore. You're either a democrat who favors higher taxes for the rich and more social programs for the poor; or your a republican who thinks the solution to everything is less taxes. No one is willing to listen to the other side because the other side represents the complete antithesis of what they believe. Unfortunately, it will take something of the magnitude of 9/11 to bring the country back together again.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  63. mike

    America gets nastier as the illegal alien population rises. This is not a coincidence.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  64. riley oday

    It is a hard cruel world. If we did not stay in the A/C and watch TV it would be a terriable place to live.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  65. Lois, California

    I believe the media drives the conversations of the day. It's a non-stop barrage of news about what people are doing, saying, reacting to, and lying about. People's curiosity takes them to their T.V's, internet, IPnes, Facebooks, and other social media outlets. It's almost suffocating. This exposure stokes peoples fears, anger, and even sadness to what is going on in the world. There is no positive news anywhere. With all this happening, it seems no one is happy.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  66. Christina

    It's the economy. Everyone feels like the people they're surrounded by are getting assistance and they're not. The truth is we are all struggling and until we work together, it won't get better. During the Great Depression and both World Wars, our country banded together and worked through these times. This era has turned it's back on the person voted into presidency and has turned their backs on their fellow American. It infuriates me to watch everyone getting mad at each other when the anger should be directed at the appropriate conditions at fault. Also, we each need to take a little more responsibility for our own actions. There are solutions within our own reach. Utilize them. Stop getting angry at your countryman while waiting for them to save you.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  67. Bob Straight

    Why? Because we can. There have always been rude and uncivil persons in society, despite what some want us to believe. But over the past several decades rudeness and lack of civility have become the norm rather than the exception. Expressing how "I" feel, what "I" like and dislike, and what "I" think about a situation and doing so in the manner that fits my mood and temperment is now accepted as the norm. Being civil, courteous, gracious, and accomodating to others is quickly becoming the exception.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  68. Marc

    Pretty simple–these are bad times in the US. Everyone is nasty because the state of the world is nasty. And with social media everyone has the ability to broadcast their nastiness.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  69. Steve

    I think the anonymity that the internet offers and the instant punditry that comes with it has increased the level of nastiness. The political nastiness of our political class also seems to have seeped into our daily lives.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  70. Daniel Hopkins

    We have been bombarded for many years by numerous types of media: books, advertisements, film, television and internet that compel us to succeed as an individual, no matter what. This has created a society who looks out for individual interests and invests little in community.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  71. Joe Sena

    I think it's due to the internet. Before the internet, people had to abide by the norms of their communities, even if their personal beliefs or proclivities ran counter to them. The internet provided people a place to vent their frustrations or broadcast their thoughts - no matter how loud or crazy - and they can do it behind a screen name. Worse, instead of being shouted down by the community, they find like-minded nasty and/or crazy people supporting them. Without these community-enforced safeguards, people are emboldened to bring these thoughts and behaviors into the physical world.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  72. xdougx

    Less jobs, lower pay (proportionally), cost of living increase, corporate squashing of small business, rich getting richer while everyone else gets poorer or holds, Americans getting fatter, college debts getting larger... do I need to go on?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  73. Mitch

    The internet medium fosters crude discourse in people who might otherwise act like rational, polite human beings in person. Whether it's anonymity, or the inherent inability to read body language over the internet (really–next time someone says something rude to you in the office, stay silent, lean back, fold your arms, and raise an eyebrow-I've found doing that makes people apologize for rude remarks far quicker and easier than telling them they've been rude), comment boards are hives of boorish behavior.

    Couple that with SpectacleNews channels (the kind which pit stereotypical liberals against stereotypical conservatives in shouting deathmatches as if they were ideological pit bulls), the celebration of our society's loudest and most outrageous rather than the most thoughtful (it's telling that people read and listen to Olbermann and Beck and Palin more than Krugman), and it's not too difficult to see why politicians are so rude.

    It's only what we consumers signal we want.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  74. JeepGuy

    The culture of greed and corporate mercenary behavior has spawned an every-person-for-themselves mentality. While there are many who still endeavor to help others through charities, etc., the striving for money and status coupled with now increasing economic desperation has poured gas on a fire of not being civil to each other. We have lost the veneer of decency as people have lost the anchor of faith. We are becoming as heathens. Our carcinogenic Hollywood culture exported around the world is the product of superficiality coupled with a dearth of morals. We are no longer the small-towns of neighbors, but the big anonymous city-dwellers fleeing a real understanding of each other in a culture increasing polarized in multiiple opposite directions.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  75. Frankie in DC

    Jack, America is becoming uncivil because Western culture - led by America - increasingly rewards bad behavior. If you are rude, crude, immoral, loud, obnoxious, illiterate, selfish, narcissistic, or abusive, you'll wind up with a book deal, a reality TV show, a clothing line, a concert tour, or maybe all of the above. Young people's role models? Tattooed rappers, porn stars, and some sort of newly-discovered life form from the planet Kardashian. Is it any wonder we're all becoming "uncivil"?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  76. Ken in NC

    America is becoming nastier because parents no longer spend 18 to 20 years raising children. They give their kids to the school system at the age of 6 while they go to their part time job.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  77. Fred in Houston

    The Internet. People are completely different when they can remain anonymous.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  78. Waddell Berry

    We're angry. We're spitting mad! We've been sold out to Wall St. and Corporate America and selling continues. Paid for by American workers. We are class A patsies and we're madder than heck. Everything else just adds salt to our wounds... waiting in line, sitting in traffic, hanging on the phone waiting for customer service, rude and insensitive neighbors, 2 out of 4 people displaying "disability tags" when they are just fine, thank you. Every where I turn, I KNOW I'm being HAD by state, local and federal government. Tough to remain civil with so much crap flying around.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  79. Ken

    2 factors at once Jack....
    1) Boomers and older are frustrated with a country they see steadily declining with no end in sight.
    2) kids becoming adults these days grew up spoiled and have no respect or empathy for their fellow man (or woman).

    June 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  80. Chris

    Our strength is our weakness...we've taken "competition" (root of capitalist society) to the level of "aggression." It has reached a point where in permeates every aspect of our daily lives, including even family, friends and a casual interactions in public places like those mentioned. This over-reenforcement of competition/aggression is pushed by all the culturally influencing aspects of our society (top ranked institutions) for primarily economic reasons, without regard to the cultural impact.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  81. michael

    Why are we nastier?It's called the internet. It allows people to behave in a cowardly and sometimes anonymous way, and it allows the entire coutnry to hear it with immediacy. That in turn carries over into everyday life. Everyone in their own mind is very very very important because with social media you can construct yourself to be the super star that you are NOT. Whether Twitter, Facebook, Instant Messaging, Texting, our technology has extracted the most essential part of communication from our interactions: Our interpersonal humanity. Wow, do I miss the days of eye contact...and to think there is a generation of Americans coming down the pipeline who will know nothing but this social media world. Remember when you had to go to a wall and dial 7 numbers and wait for the phone to ring and the person to pick up? It required effort....

    June 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  82. Gabe

    I think that in the last 15-20 years or so, it's become more & more "Every person for themself" in this country. People are more concerned about their own rights than anything or anyone else. The help your brother, neighbor, friend mentality has all but vanished in most of the country. There are any number of factors that contribute to this. But the main one is that being self centered is easier. And these days most people are all about the easy way out. It needs to change. Politics is as good a place as any to start that change.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
  83. Joe from Brigantine, NJ

    There is much frustration, particularly for those people who really care about this country and our varied population. The insidious destruction of the middle class, the massive transfer of wealth, which continues, to the already wealthy, the political lack of spine to deal with the problems that, if not faced now, will seriously jeopardize this wonderful country all contribute to a frustration that brings out nasty reactions from many of those who fought for, paid taxes to and over the years have been the backbone of this Nation. Now the attempt by a few, but powerful people, who claim to be religiously motivated to further push down those who cannot fight back because their financial support has been stolen from them by the lords of Wall Street and other financial institutions add to this frustration and nastiness.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  84. Louis in GA

    Its due to our capitalistic "I'm number one", "eat or be eaten" culture. Everyone has a chip on their shoulder and no one can overlook even minor unintentional offenses. Let's try to remember the "Golden Rule" and look out for the other guy once and a while. Human nature sucks.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  85. Dongey KonK

    Poverty, media, too much crowding of both space and life, new media, new technology, lack of doing things for ourselves, , social pressure to be more like them and less like us lack of variety (everything's getting to be like Walmart)...

    June 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  86. Robert Munley

    It would be interesting to compare the timeline of increased nastiness with the timeline showing the rise of Sarah Palin and the TeaParty.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  87. sharon

    Concerning the nastiness in politics today, I think a lot of it starts with President OBama–he goes out and tells the world "we need to be more cival to each other " and in the very next speech, he trashes any and all Republicans. Like telling McCain " the elections ove John, I won, you lost" How rude ! And seating Paul Ryan right in front of him and trash talking to him publically.
    I still find that if you are kind and polite in your actions you get the same in return

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  88. Bob in Pa

    So many liberal organizations took to protests and name calling over the past 60 years in the name of their causes. Now conservative groups have just added the same stratagy to their playbook and caos has ensued. Each side escalates a little more each day.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  89. Terry in Chandler, AZ

    I think it has become a part of our culture. We see it on TV shows, we see it at little league games, we see it while waiting in line for a movie (or to enter a courtroom), we see televangelists being less than cordial, we see it among late night comedians, even network and cable news anchors can be vituperative, we see it all day everyday. Sadly Jack we do see an end to this very uncivil practice.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  90. rafael

    just because you guys know that Mr Obama will be President Again in 2012,just because some American can,t understand that the Best President in the last 15 years is a Black Man,just Because some American can,t understand that USA under a Black President is safer than before and is hated less ans less around the World.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  91. Dahly

    American can turn "nasty" when their way of life is threatened. Not having a job, or having a job now that pays half of what they earned before. Having people who pay no federal tax demand that they pay more to support them. Seeing fully capable people , not working, and living of those who do. Seeing special interest groups taken care of at your expense. Gas and food prices rising due primarily to either government action or inactions. the list is endless. However, most people are happy within their own social circle. This is where they get support when needed, give willingly of themselves and their possessions and warm feeling that they belong.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  92. Gabe in Texas

    think that in the last 15-20 years or so, it's become more & more "Every person for themself" in this country. People are more concerned about their own rights than anything or anyone else. The help your brother, neighbor, friend mentality has all but vanished in most of the country. There are any number of factors that contribute to this. But the main one is that being self centered is easier. And these days most people are all about the easy way out. It needs to change. Politics is as good a place as any to start that change.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  93. Patrick Lewis

    A general lack of education combined with the fracturing of a public and objective "Truth" has bred a nation of opinion fanatics and ditto heads. People who cling to positions through faith rather than a reasoned decision making become passionate because any crack in that wall of delusion they surround themselves with quickly spreads, sending the whole thing down. Besides, in the absence of truth, reason can't touch them. We've now got these built up pockets of opinion that consider anyone not with them to be the other and less than human. Why be considerate to a subhuman? Why respect their rights?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  94. Tom Hanson

    Because the rest of the world is catching up or passing us on many fronts, and we think we should be number one in everything, including policing the rest of the world. Time to take care of things back home and note the true meaning of the word "defense". Simple solution to budget woes, close all the military bases around the world and bring those folks home to rebuild our infrastructure (i.e roadways, mass transit, energy grid, etc. plus protect our borders)

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  95. DON IN WESTPORT, MASS.

    We are getting nastier on all fronts.
    I guess it could be alot worse though. Just look at the third world countries and whats done to thier own people. We are saints compared to them.
    I guess everthing is relative.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  96. Robert McGuire

    Two words Jack: Fox News.

    Rob M, Westchester County, NY

    June 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  97. Michelle

    I thought I was the only one noticing this "attitude" problem. Times are changing along with morals going out the door. With this new bid for presidency, there will be alot of put downs on the current president. I want to hear solutions not whinning. Michelle, Bronx Ny

    June 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  98. Donno

    Uncivility on the rise, I dont think so, but it depends on the subject, situation, or circumstance.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  99. Cy Gardner

    The rich don't have to obey any laws or pay any taxes. Consumers and workers have no rights because the courts are packed with corporate lobbyists. The only solution to any problem facing America that the GOP and their corporate overlords will tolerate or consider is to give MORE to the people who already have nearly everything. Our citizenry is not just nasty, but also stupid and armed to the teeth. I'd be very careful about who you call "nasty", Jack. Cy from Arlington, VA

    June 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  100. keeth in cali

    Because people can hide behind the anonymity of the internet. Because children no longer fear their parents (thanks PC schools and courts). Because everyone is a winner and no one is a loser, but when someone loses, they don't know how to handle it. Because people equate personal disagreement with personal offense. Because Americans think the world was created for them, and now that we see it really isn't, people don't like the harsh truth and don't know what to do...except strike out at the nearest innocent bystander.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  101. Ted (Chicago, IL)

    America is becoming nastier because the things that unite us are becoming increasingly abstract. Where we used to have contrasting alternatives to the mighty ideals we expound upon (freedom, liberty, justice), in the form of fascism or monarchy, the voices in our society loud enough to be heard have never truly experienced the moral destitution of slavery, bondage and injustice. As a Hegelian dialectic, when the US triumphs over these opposing forces we are destined to synthesize some elements into our own existence. I doubt this will be read on the air, because now 'news' organizations can limit outsider input to 160 characters from celebrities.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  102. Vish Hiremath

    Two Reasons:
    1) Cause around the world, the job of the President of the United States is considered the end all and be all of all gigs and it's bound to get nasty
    2) I blame the leftwing and rightwing radio/TV commentators for instigating extreme views abt the candidates amongst the public which the nominees then cite to appear in sync with the voters

    June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  103. Jason

    I'd say because we simply don't have time to be civil. The more free time (whether in chunks or between activities) the more people tend to care for others. When we can barely take care of ourselves / meet our own needs, civility is among the first to be tossed aside.
    As boring as Maslow's hierarchy of needs as in school, its central to understanding why we behave as we do.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  104. Diann

    Jack it's related to a deterioration of and lack of common courtesy, and basic principles of good will. When more emphasis is placed on objects, acquisitions, power, prestige and things than valuing mankind, and treating people as equals, we will always have a "nasty" problem. This problem spills over in not only how we treat our fellow man, but what we leave behind as examples of acceptable behavior.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  105. Jim from New Jersey

    It would help if you smiled more, Jack. 🙂

    June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  106. Mike G. Murphy

    Why you ask? Because people have trusted politicians to do the peoples business. Over and over again, WE the people,only see that individually and as a group, our elected officials are either greed driven, ignorant, liars, cheats, or morally corrupt. Something strange happens after he or she takes their hand off the Bible when they take the oath of office. It becomes, what's best for ME not WE! remember, E Pluribus Unum!
    Mike G. Murphy Phoenix, Arizona USA

    June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  107. Brian Randall

    America is becoming nastier because no one thinks they accountable for their own actions anymore. It was the pills, or society, ADD, childhood trauma, politics, the economy, blah blah blah.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  108. Greg

    I once thought we are becoming more like animals because of overpopulation. The reason is that we are becoming more self-centered. There are no more rules and "I've got rights." The US seems to be moving away from One True God, and like the original sin, focusing only on what WE want individually. As recently as only one generation ago, there were a lot more selfless people. Compassionate, caring people. They don't exist anymore. Since the 1960's, we've continued to spiral downward. I don't see any hope for this country. Think about it: most people suck.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  109. fay

    That's an easy answer. America has become nastier because we are getting pounced on by our own government. We pay taxes, and more taxes to fund government that doesn't take care of us anymore. We are sick of seeing all the corruption in DC, as well as in our own state level governments and we are finally starting to see that we, the American people are the butt of the joke. We are working to make our senators, congressmen, and every other crook in politics rich-lifetime pensions and healthcare while we are stuck with ObamaCare which only god knows what a nightmare that really will be.
    Another reason we are so nasty-The teen pregnancy boom that occurred back in the 90s. Kids raising kids always spells disaster. The kids between 12 and 17 these days are the ones being raised from teen single moms back from the 90s. Keep poppin them though because the government will give you a free ride if you are an unproductive member of society. If you work your 40 hours a week, you will be screwed. Quit school, become a drop out, do drugs, drink, have unprotected sex and get pregnant and you're golden in this country.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  110. Mary

    I think the lack of civility has many root causes. First and foremost, the 'dumbing down' of our culture that started about 20-30 years ago. How can a nation progress and understand complex issues when all it wants to hear are sensational soundbites? You can point fingers in all directions but schools, parents, politicians and yes even our corporations take the easy road and just accept what has truly become the ugly American. The media also plays an important role. Why embrace and encourage the likes of talking heads who rant about anything and drive the same point home when there is no factual basis for their rants? We no longer think in this country. If you don't think, you can't be civil.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
  111. Jake (Saint Paul, MN)

    As a species our actions are driven by self-interest, which in our current society is a accumulation of as much wealth as possible, whether it's to get by day-to-day, pay for hobbies, or build up a cushion for a comfortable retirement. The more focused we become on that, and the harder and more stressful achieving that goal becomes, the lower our tolerance for anything remotely inconvenient. Nastiness is also infectious. If someone is rude to you in the morning, you probably start your day feeling more grumpy than usual and therefore are less friendly in subsequent interactions. There are also a few people who are just jerks for whatever reason.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  112. Jennifer Rackley

    I think that Americans have forgotten the values of the Greatest Generation, those of the WWII era. We have become so very wrapped up in an entitlement saga that empathy and respect for our fellow man has become a thing of history. I believe that much of the hate and bitterness stems from the surprising voices of those that believe that only their very conservative views are the only ones that are right. Politics has become so muddled with a twisted and very convenient morality that we can not seem to get out of our own way to get to the issues that really matter. The other important point is how much do we see of good or hopeful news on the television? How many pundits of hope get million dollar contracts? And yet there are entire news networks who fan the flames of bitterness and hate and they have plenty of people watching. We need a spiritual revolution in this country. The religious political movement clearly is not working.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  113. Jeff Lewis

    Welcome to the 'Me' Generation. Being civil means in part caring about others, with all the emphasis on 'Me' there is no room or thought of being civil unless there is a percieved benefit to 'me'.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm |
  114. Rhianna

    I am Rhianna, I live in Colorado. I recently became close to someone who lost everything, he's homeless. If you want to see what a lack of stability does to a human, take a good long day to explore an area of homeless people. Many of them were at one point civil, compassionate, and moral. Some keep their civility mostly intact, but when such a big concept of nothing left to lose comes in, even the more civil people have their moments. I believe this trend is a synchronized fear of crisis and instability for nearly every citizen of this country. Even when you haven't lost it the threat of it will turn you into a jerk a lot of the time. This trend is a warning, this trend is saying, "We, as human beings, fear the loss of everything." Perhaps we are correct to fear it, and those like my friend already know they are. This fear and unrest has always been around, but take a look around you. Unemployment is ridiculous, 1 in 4 youths struggles with hunger and I am one of them at 19 years old. The world seeks help.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  115. Norman Autrey

    Plain and simple. Fear. Fear of Muslims trying to steal Christmas, fear of illegal immigrants stealing our jobs, fear of losing our guns, fear of a shadow government and on and on. Fear sells and since we don't get real answers from the politicians who we elect and who are trying to get elected, we succumb to fear and fear make us hate our fellow man. The politicians know this and so they use fear to sell themselves and we buy it. All we ever hear is bad news and that makes us want to blame someone else. Hence we get nasty.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  116. Mike

    Two words: Fox News. When people are fed negative spin and distortion 24 hours a day so they can escape from the reality of an ever increasing tolerant world (formerly known as the media, now called the "mainstream media") they see justification in hating and feeling good about it.

    Lafayette, Lousiana.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  117. Steve Watson

    Americans are becoming nastier due to many individual factors that all boil down to self-centeredness. If we aren't getting the respect, attention, place in line, promotion, etc. that our ego says that we deserve, we go ballistic. Some of the contributing factors are: the current economy, overpopulation and time issues that cause people to be in a constant state of rush. And it's a contagious situation – much more so than being nice. Add the tendency away from personal responsibility and toward blaming anyone else and everyone else for every problem in our lives, and we become a dangerous society.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  118. Andrew in D.C.

    Jack, Americans have finally started to wake up from the "American Dream" that never was. Without an education and a trust fund, there's no socio-economic movement in this country. So what do people do when they're stuck where they are? They attack and belittle everyone else to make themselves feel better, without searching for a solution to their problems.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  119. steve

    Hi Jack,

    If you look at our history you will see that we have had very uncivil periods in our history, especially with regards to politics. I think one of the differences today is the anonymity of the internet. It is much easier to be rude to someone who you don't know and who cannot see you. It is far more difficult to be nasty to someone's face. Part of this is the encouragement of incivility through example in our media. We accept things in public discourse and on TV shows that demean the participants and views as well. So really, it is up to us to decide what kind of society we want to have. I'm from the mid-West and I still believe in being nice to people, even when absolutely disagree. Perhaps that is when it is most important.

    Ohio

    June 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  120. Ronald

    Yes Jack it is! The right has used tactics of making the other side out to be the enemy and must be beat at any and all costs. This message has resonated with those who are followers of the Republican noise machine. They want to take the hatred that has been generated by the right and do something to someone. This tactic by the right is the creator of this nastiness Jack and because of it nothing will get done in this country and that is the way they want it.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  121. Mary

    I think its materialism and lack of religious faith. Religious values like love,honor,unity,ect. have been lost and replaced with money and debauchery. We don't take the time to think about how we are all connected and how our actions affect others.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  122. Rich

    Simple: society allows it. We as a society have moved the bar higher and higher for unacceptable behavior to become acceptable and the norm. It is frighteningly easy to let incivility go unchecked; as long as it is not directed at you. We are all guilty of it and quite frankly: “It sucks!” Chicago

    June 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  123. Shermdog

    I think the American people are getting close to the point of having an epiphany. That our leaders have chosen the wrong path, that the crap we have been buying won't make you happy or satisfied, and that we are pissed at ourselves for having gone along with the whole charade. Capitalism, Republican, Democrats, and the Rich are not to blame. Check your home page first, forgive yourself for screwing up and lets not buy so much junk anymore. Maybe some of these greedy corporations will move to China and take the Harvard Business dogma with them.

    Meaningful...we want to meaningful and it seems to be getting harder and harder to do that without yelling because nobody is listening. That's how revolutions begin.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  124. Eric CO

    In general, everday people are civil. The politicians want to get shock value and deflect Americans from the truth, therefore they project sounds bites like healthcare is socialism, etc. The Corporate media think most people want their opinion instead of unbiased news reporting so they too put out uncivil people speaking. Same reason why people balloon boy stories get high press when kids are dying in three wars, the job market is horrible and no one went to jail for stealing billions during the financial meltdown. Civility goes out when money is involved.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  125. Tyler Albertario

    Civility is highly overrated, Jack.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  126. tim

    The cumulative stresses – both real and perceived, are pushing folks to a reality they want to deny......and "it" hasn't even begun yet. By "it" I mean the giant reset of this indebted and interwoven derivative financed based world. The media is losing its grip on the sheeple's minds – people know its far worse than what the pretty lady on TV says. Not ONE mention of the guy who self-immolated himself on the New Hampshire courthouse steps – the act, the very act that "set it off" in Tunisia a few months back. When you work (if you have a job) and can't feed your family, what have you got to lose? Pick up a pipe and just go take it will soon be the attitude of many – especially in the large metropolitans. But what do I know, the pretty lady says its getting better soon.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  127. Mike

    "Nasty" got started in the 60's &70's, war protests, race riots and Watergate. This was the start of our explicit understanding that politicians lie (i.e. Johnson, Agnew and Nixon). Prior to that is was an unspoken assumption. Now we expect politicians to lie every time their lips move. No politician wants to talk about issues since it's easier to misrepresent and lie about your opponent. News programs are almost worse, where loudness trumps intelligence (wow, it's tough using "trump" and "intelligence" in the same sentence). Perhaps politicians and news staff should remember that a lot of us want to be educated, enhancing our understanding of events, not entertained. It's called leadership. PS; Most people are not naturally nasty if the person they are dealing with is civil, actually listens and smiles. Try it, it works.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  128. Matt NH

    I think it's because that even though we say we don't like it, we encourage that kind of behavior. Look at all the anger towards President Bush. Any Democrat who didn't demonize him was called soft and complacent by Liberals. Now, any Republican who doesn't demonize Obama is called soft and complacent by Conservatives. With election season starting to heat up, the ones who get the most media attention and early support are the ones making the biggest noise and most wild accusations.

    Sarah Palin has made a career out of making wild accusations, and Donald Trump owes much of the media attention he had for the same reason. If Americans want it to stop, they're actually going to have to start thinking rationally themselves and start calling Politicians out on their BS. Unfortunately, at the moment we seem complacent with our "Politicians are too nasty... but I'm only going to vote for the guy who hates the opposition the most" hypocrisy.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  129. Mike

    This is funny to me. Our culture has primarily turned sour against religion and have embraced the very culture they claim to be uncivil. It is a matter of respect. You can list all the behavior problems that our rampant amongst the younger generation but the bottom line is they are not taught respect. Religion, for the most part teaches respect. Oh you got the naysayers who says relgion towards hate towards diversity. And yes, there are those individuals that practice that. But by and large religion may not support what it considers sinful behavior but it does not teach to be disrespectful towards it. The further we stray from religion and even worse, actually attack it, the worse civility will become (in my opinion anyway). We throw away Gods rules and scratch our heads and wonder what went wrong with society.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  130. Bob Branchfield

    We've generally become a ruder nation...It probably starts at home, families don't interact the way they used to. Sometimes it may seem easier to ignore inappropriate behavior than to confront it. But in the long run you usually pay in spades for this laid-back, hope-it-goes-away-on-it’s-own attitude.

    What happened to the magic words?

    Please, thank you, and excuse me are still the basics of a polite vocabulary. They almost never get used anymore. If an adult doesn't do it, it obviously isn't being taught at home either!!

    We need to remind our kids to use these words so that they will do so automatically. It’s important for parents to regularly use these respectful words and phrases themselves when interacting with their children — modeling goes a long way toward teaching, reinforcing, and maintaining polite verbiage and behavior.

    No one ask's for anything...it is always demanding!! Tones are always negative. I'm not really sure whay the answer is but some "wall to wall counseling" certainly seems in order.

    If we were a little bit less politically correct, I think a lot of these problems would resolve themselves nicely!!

    Bob Branchfield
    Tucson, AZ

    June 21, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  131. jimmy

    working hard doesnt always pay off. it makes those repressing you rich , but it leaves us paying bills to more shareholders who pay off our govt, get tax breaks, then force govt to subsidize their profits while we have to pay the taxes that our 2party monopoly squander saving the poppy and providing unsustainable industries with free money, while we suffer the abuse from the fuedal landlord...

    June 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  132. Robert Davis

    Well Jack, it's a sign of the times. I work in customer service and the influx of angry and nasty people, is astonishing. You've got unemployment high, gas prices high, income declining. Not a very happy place to be. My father once told me "This too, shall pass."

    June 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  133. Liza

    Because a very tiny percentage of Americans are now holding all the money and power. The lower to middle class tax paying folk just no longer seem to have a voice anymore. The majority of the wealthiest Americans think everything is just fine the way it is. Sorry, it's not.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  134. Austin

    Jack, for one I fully agree...while Americans have long had a reputation for being ill-behaved, the situation, in general, not just in the political spotlight has become glaring to anyone who has a living memory beyond 30 years old or so.....What we see happening in the political arena is just an example of what is essentially going on across America.....we have parents who have stopped being parents, who are afraid to discipline or teach their children what they will, due to increaced Gov't intrusion and laws that are choking the life out of individualism, self-reliance and setting a good example of how to raise responsible, caring and trustworthy children......Its many, many problems that are causing this....Political parties and who is to blame is irrelivent here-I think the social revolutiions of the 1960s and 70s have just hastened our decent into destruction.....we have come to raise a couple of generations of people now who are more and more reliant on their Govt, can not truly think for themselves, are more narcisistic and shallow than ever......it will just get worse with the next generation to come.....

    June 21, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
  135. Jon

    There's no simple answer, but a lot of it can be chalked-up to a very misplaced sense of entitlement. Many politicians think it's ok to lie, moviegoers think it's ok to text in theaters, drivers think it's ok to run the red light if they're in a big hurry, and the consequences for their actions is normally little more than a slap on the wrist. Clamp down on the repercussions and make people think twice before being blatantly inappropriate and you'll see some improvement. It's sad that the carrot/stick method has to be employed, but it seems we have little choice.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  136. Geoff

    Jack, America is as nasty as it has ever been, what has changed is the ability for the average citizen to witness such behavior. In the past, when citizens or public figures misbehaved we read about it, now we can see their transgressions ourselves.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
  137. Will from NYC

    The nastiness is a manifestation of our frustration. Americans work longer and harder for less. Benefits are a thing of the past. Our family and social relationships suffer. And our politicians can't agree on anything to change these problems.... That is what's nasty.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  138. John from IL

    We are a culture with no discipline or accountability for our own actions. Much of this teaching should come as children from good leaders and parents teaching core values and moral standards. Clearly as a society we have run aground on a sand bar only to have the abyss under our back side if we should back off. Let's learn from Japan and how they were so disciplined during the tsunami crisis. Why not get our Nobel scholars and together with our politicians and find solutions not blame!! Hell for that matter, let's do away with political parties and choose the best leader with the best characteristics! Oh shoot!!! Were all selfish to some degree and god forbid if we can find quality leaders who believe in a vision, integrity, innovation, passion and above all accountability not aversion!!!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  139. lynnej in nc

    This country has always been nasty but for the most part, keeping it within a certain boundary.

    But after the 2008 Presidential Elections that saw a black man become President, it has went down hill.

    I have never seen the ugliness, especially in nasty racial comments, on various posts as I have seen now.

    The sad thing is that the leaders of the Republican Party could have squelched a lot of this nastiness if they had gave the President the proper respect that he is due.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  140. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    There are those of us who never felt the pain of hitting the bottom and become embarrassed, afraid and angry with everyone to the point we are down right nasty.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  141. David from California

    That is easy, the U.S. Goverment treats Illeagles in this country better that U.S.Citizens. The Goverment wants the citizens to pay for all illeagle benifits medical, education, and much more. No wonder why we are upset!!!!!!!!!!.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  142. Katja in Bradenton, Florida

    Because being nasty makes more headlines than being nice. The Media runs being bad into the ground. And yet when people do something right, it is treated like a filler for time.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  143. sayer

    I think America is nastier because we are taught to win at all costs. Win in the workplace, in the classroom, and on the football field. Have the best house, car, clothes, vacations, etc. And when talent and skill are evenly matched, all you have left to win is to tear the other person down.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  144. EJ in Metro Houston

    Jack, the "Ugly American" has not gone away, it has just come home to roost. We have had tough times in our nation before, but we didn't have the internet, 24/7 news channels, and talk radio hosts both on the right and the left to tell you how bad it is and how angry you are supposed to be. Politics only make it worst. Being nice and even being apologetic when you're wrong has been called a weakness and this goes back to the Bush administration. As long as this is accepted by all then I don't see it going away any time soon.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  145. Johninmemphis

    The internet and the so-called "reality shows" are the culprits Jack.
    The internet is a septic tank and reality shows... well- reality they are not. The producers incite the nastiness.
    Oh and parents don’t parent any more.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  146. Dan Austin

    I think one reason has to do with the impersonal nature of our communications and transportation. We spend more time in front of a computer (or other form factor) or commuting alone in our cars where we often interact with others in ways we'd deem rude or crude if we were standing in the midst of others. I've seen my own neighbors gesture inappropriately or shout obscenities from their cars because they perhaps feel removed and the object of their ire almost inanimate because we are in our car or behind a keyboard. I know I act differently in these cases and now often remind myself to imagine I am sending an email to or driving behind my mother so as to enhance my civility.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
  147. Carolyn

    It's anger, Jack. And anger is just one letter short of "danger". People are angry that the wealthy get all the tax breaks and wield power with politicians. People are angry they don't matter. People are angry at double-standards, broken systems, and the loss of the American dream.
    People are angry that the basic rules of common decency are broken everyday by the powerful who never pay. Anger and rage are all that's left, and nastiness is the result.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  148. Cal (Maui)

    Nastier is every where on our Television reality shows Jack, that is how we are supposed to act now that civility, courtesy, and respect are not apart of our way of life, it's almost expected as it shows you are not weak and won't let others take advantage of you and therefore the country.

    Cal, from Kihei Maui

    June 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  149. abby, texas

    In politics it is because our politicians are interested in power at all costs, fair means or foul. Power is more important. Also people no longer bother to teach good manners or even believe in the concept. Our so-called role models have the manners of spoiled children and the morals of alley cats (with apologies to alley cats everywhere). It's all me, myself, and I and to the devil with you. It's almost as if we are in an arrested state of being two years old.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  150. Paul P.

    There are alot of contributors to this problem, but to me the root of it stems from broken families and an era of parents who lack the energy to discipline and set effective boundaries for their kids. When this situation is cultured, children grow up without the proper skills to manage their emotions or respect of others. Never underestimate how the quality of ones upbringing can reveal itself even decades later.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  151. Larry in Tulsa, OK

    The last few years has shown "children's tv" becoming violent and angry. The little bit I've been unfortunate to watch is steeped with anger, this boils over into young adult. Being able to hide "behind walls" and not face another only makes it easier. The fact that we have basicly kicked God out of schools and everywhere else that can be accomplished has only left the devil and his characteristics left- and it is written that he only comes to kill, steal and destroy (that pretty much sums up what is happening) There will come a time where the "cup" of this evil will overflow and then big changes will occur. That is not very far away. Matthew 24 is pretty occurring around us today.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  152. RLA

    At the core, it's an individual choice to be rude, crude and to choose to be value-deficient. A very many people rise above poverty, bad parents, negative influences, and personal handicaps to become someone of integrity and value to society. But it takes work and effort...and that is where so many fail. It's too easy to do nothing, then complain about it, blaming others for ones personal failures. The internet and the anonymity it afford creates fertile grounds for non achievers to practice their trade. The negative influences of Hollywood, pop culture, negative politics and lazy parents who don't even earn the right to that title (parent) only further enable those who made the wrong choice. So much effort is spent in trying to be "cool" in America that real values and achievements no longer have any meaning.

    What's wrong in America? Nothing. And that's the problem. People want to do whatever they want whenever they want with whomever they want and don't want or like anyone to tell them that they shouldn't. It is the age of mediocrity and non achievement worn as a badge of honor. This can change, but it will come from each individual waking up each day and making right rather than dumb or easy choices.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  153. Linda in Arizona

    America was always nasty.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  154. Rico

    The political tone in this country has, without question, grown nastier over the past 30 years. A large part is rooted in the voice given disenfranchised by the likes (lies) of Limbaugh, Liddy, and Fox News. There has always been discontent but the last time it was this ugly we ended up in a civil war. We're a lot closer to that than most folks realize or care to admit. It's truly sad when folks at the exreme right and extreme left can't see the light of the problems they helped create. The answers are truly in the middle ground and no politician can play ther because of the noisemakers in the "media" like Limbaugh and Garafallo inciting hate and one-sided thinking. Top it off with folks like Palin and her 1920's German Beer Hall speeches, the fuse it lit people. It's time to come to grips and settle down!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
  155. JC

    It all because of GREED, GREED, GREED.

    What a shame.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  156. Jack

    Jack, the answer to your question is Yes.

    There are many reasons why Americans are more nasty now than in the past. However, the main one, I believe, is a sense of overwhelming Entitlement on the part of so many Americans.

    The U.S. used to be symbolic of the country's initials: US. or better yet...WE.

    Now it's just ME.

    Live as long as I have and you know it's true.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  157. Erik

    We are becoming more an more pretentious as a nation, but as we are constantly trying to prove better than everyone else, we are taking a lazier and nastier approach. With the internet, we can flame whomever we like without consequence, however, we ourselves can just as easily fall victim to the troll. I think with the media constantly pandering to our "faults" and shaming us for not improving them, we have started to emulate that mentality to further satisfy our lack of confidence in ourselves. Look at all the drugs on the market for depression and tell me that our society has not become ruthless and uncivil. It is all about being the "alpha" or being the celebrity. I also blame lack of education.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  158. Diego, Miami, FL

    Civility can only exist when people live their lives exercising values such as respect, compassion, love and solidarity. Those and other important values come from education. Great education in our homes and schools is what we need to bring back the key values. Then civility becomes the consequence.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  159. Carlos in Colorado

    it must be global warming's fault...anything that's going wrong is OBVIOUSLY man-made global warming behind it!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  160. Mark Pliska

    I think this is a by-product of the steady decline we've seen in this country for the past few decades. Real incomes have been declining, as has our standard of living. We've become a very fast-paced society and most of us have forgotten how to stop and smell the roses. Internet mechanisms like Facebook have made personal contact more a thing of the past. I wish I could have lived in the 50's!

    It really is sad. People in my own neighborhood usually just ignore each other when they go by. Parents hardly let their 10-year old kids out of sight; I remember at that age I would be riding my bike anywhere and everywhere. Everyone is always in a huge hurry. I think so many people have become mentally tired from their 8-6 jobs (if they have one) and just lazier in general, that we are too cranky to be civil to one another.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  161. k9pack

    I'll tell you why Jack. Everyone has become self focused. When you only care about yourself there is no room for anyone else beyond how your own needs get met at that level. this generation has become focused on stuff and things therefore when the economy starts to tank the nasty meter goes into the red zone fast. Society has lost its moral compass based on rejecting the standard this Country was built on, God and truth.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  162. Walt

    We are the most advanced society on the planet. When science and reason meet with barbarian quality religious beliefs there are bound to be countless ignorant feelings harmed. Thus, we have people swearing that "we are nasty." And for what? Discussions? Discourse? Freedom of speech? Well....I for one do not buy it.

    I think we have a certain number of physically violent individuals that need a cage to sit inside. But as for those that are thinking society is nasty, a question. When was the last time you had to want for anything? I mean really want? Lost 20lbs because you couldn't find food? Seriously? We live in a nasty society? Whatever!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  163. Darren

    Down deep humans are animals and will revert to that behavior at times. However, I think it stems from watching our leaders (congress/politics/parties). The all or nothing two party system in the US creates a sense of, you are either with us or against us. And if you are against us, the gloves come off very shortly thereafter. The public takes their cues from watching their degenerate behavior. That being said, I think our president handles himself like a gentleman from what I have witnessed. Hopefully he will influence others to follow suit.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
  164. Ryan C Cincinnati, OH

    Jack,

    We're over caffeinated, have too much access to too much content through the internet, 24 hour news,media and above all else,fear. There is too much fear in the news,entertainment, and politics. People need to take a weekend and turn everything off and relax a bit.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  165. Ken in MD

    It's the sense of entitlement kids are raised with today. They're being told that everything they do is wonderful, so they feel they can do no wrong. So they do and say whatever they want, not caring what effect it has on others, and not realizing that it even has an impact on others.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  166. Victor Sheppard Jr. from VA

    Sir, I don't openly practice any religion, but the answer is simple. Almost no one treats others as they themselves want to be. If we all practiced this, (nations included) there would be much less anger and hate in this world. If we don't have each other, we have no one.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  167. Nick C

    It's simple. In conversation we feel each other out and respond accordingly. When people make sharp/short comments about you as a person is different then about you're history. People say things that get under your skin and this is how we debate (at least in polotics). Everyone is so focused on how bad the other guy is or will be doing and spends little time on them self!

    If someone calls you out and you do nothing; everyone is lead to believe that you're weak or not strong enough for the position.

    In my opinion, someone who is always on the defensive and always calling others on their mistakes rather than their own is bad business. The ones who are polite even under fire and can hold their own in a civilized way are the ones who would do well under pressure. I think all of the runners up for the 2012 election should check them selves at the door and handle their own as if their grandmother's were present.

    Where's the respect?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  168. calaurore9

    Huntsman will be civil. Unfortunately, that won't get him elected in this environment.

    Carol in MA

    June 21, 2011 at 5:51 pm |
  169. Simon/Orlando

    We're just following the lead of our congressmen.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  170. Warren Pt. Townsend, Wash.

    Yes,it has gotten a lot nastier, but so has the economy and I see little hope of positive change until we get more people working instead of having too much time to find things to gripe about.
    And if we really want to view "nasty", let's saunter across the water and "sample" some European politics.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  171. RH in Michigan

    American society has the biggest, "Whatever, as long as I get mine", "Me first" and "I want it right NOW!!!" mentality in the world. When things don't go our way in good times, we have temper tantrums, and right now times are particularly rough for a lot of people. People come home from their thankless jobs for which they are underpaid, they watch what little money they do have disappear at the grocery checkout line and when the bills are on the kitchen table, then they turn on the TV and watch politicians and "reality" stars deliberately try to degrade each other for no other purpose than making themselves look better. Then the news comes on and hammers it into every listening ear that enemies to be feared and hated are lurking around every corner. It's how the powerful keep us from truly uniting and changing our country for the better, they just keep making sure we all hate each other.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  172. Prof.

    What has often kept things civil in the past was the pride and shame of reputation. The more mobile the U.S. residents became , the less they concerned themselves with what their neighbors might think of them. Parents, teachers, aunts and grandmothers are now less likely to hear of their lack of civility. The final frontier has been the internet where anonymity has reached it's nadir. And, of course, rudeness breeds more rudeness, just as a random act of kindness also reproduce. So what we need are more grandmothers to police and shame our poor behavior and restore to us pride in our civility. Why don't you, the press, start asking the grandmothers of our politicians, how they feel?

    June 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  173. keith in ky.

    Because there are a bunch of self-absorbed little twits, that have been and are being raised these days, that when they realize their no more special then millions of other people they become mean and nasty and generally join the democratic party, we'll really see them come out from under their rocks as the presidential race heats up!

    June 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  174. Bill in Florida

    People tend to get nasty when they are constantly lied to. The owners of this country are telling us it's raining whilst pissing on it's citizens.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  175. blake

    Guess the secular humanists got it wrong. Man is not fundamentally good.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  176. Coriolana

    Two reasons really: lack of education and politics, both of which go hand in hand. Ignorant people hear their representatives call each other names and carry on like kindergarteners over a sandbox and they assume it's okay. Politics is not supposed to be an us vs. them competition. It is supposed to be publicly elected officials working for the benefit of the people who elected them. Lazy politics has engendered popularity contests and name-calling as a political sport while whittling away at education. Hence, an ignorant population emulating their ineffective representatives. Everyone calls each other names but the status quo remains: the rich get richer, the poor get children and the middle class gets the bill.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  177. Trung Phan

    Because we are taught that in order to be successful we have to be assertive, and aggressive. I business I have found that some people are always in the attack mode.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  178. Chris from PA

    I don't think there is just one reason why we have become nastier. I believe it is a culmination of many factors. I am at the end of the Baby Boomer generation, born in a time when more and more moms were going to work outside the home. In my family the additional income meant college educations for me and my brothers, a color TV and a dishwasher. Two income families became the norm and with that, bigger and better necessities followed by the push to get ahead in your job. Now it seems we Americans are working longer hours for less money and not necessarily to get ahead; we are working harder to just make ends meet and keep a roof over our heads. We as American workers on a global scale enjoy the fewest paid days of vacation, holidays and sick days. Add to that the pressures of family life, aging parents, a country that is politically divided, war, recession, the world's ocean life disappearing...it is enough to cause an otherwise calm person to flip off a few people on the drive from job #1 to job #2.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  179. chris in il

    I think that since America is the leader of western civilization we embody some negative things inherent in our cultural background heavier than most. I am a firm believer that as a whole, we do whatever we can to get what we want. We are so used to "having our way" as a people, as a country that we stoop down to the lowest levels to "win". We are obsessed with padding our ego's and our pockets. Politicians are fine examples of this as they lead based on monetary obligations, and pride. The regular people have absolutely no say in this country and the ability to vote is great, but when it comes down to it, no matter who we pick, they will do what they want to do. Part of the Obama campaign was "bringing the troops home" and while some folks can say we brought back some, that clearly has not happened. In general im disgusted with the state of our country in terms of WANT vs. NEED. we want a whole lotta stuff we dont need.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  180. ghostu

    pretty simple, if you ask me- lack of self respect, self indulgence and inability to practice a golden rule way of life..... we reap what we sow, and most of us are so eager to get our selfish desires, we trample everyone in our way and get upset when people act that way toward us...... i think its a disgrace.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  181. Alfred

    Brooklyn, NY

    We as a society have no respect for elders nor for authority. We like to believe that we are independent, free thinkers and laws should be limited. When the authorities start to fine people for spitting, loitering, disturbing the peace etc, and when parents (who are supposed to be the authorities in their homes) begin to demand respect from their children, then perhaps we might have some hope for this country.

    Parents also have to accept responsibility and back up their teachers and other adult authority figures when they receive reports of bad behavior. Instead, many parents get upset at teachers and defend their children's bad behavior. Children have to be taught to respect all authority before they learn to respect eachother. This is such a simple thing, I can't believe people are so blind.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  182. Ross- Las Vegas

    Jack, probably because we're a black or white, right or wrong society these days. Both parties have laid the ground work for a one on one battle over the last few decades. There is no middle ground anymore. To be on the liberal side, everything conservatives say is supposed to be wrong. To be in the Tea Party, everything in government is wrong. These points of view leave less and less room for real negotiation. Instead, we either can't agree or we trade one extreme for another (e.g. the we'll give you a really progressive idea to please the voting base if you give us something for the old conservatives and vice versa bologna). Add on the fact that politicians of every party are becoming more and more loyal to their party and disconnected from the people they supposedly represent and people get nastier with each other because they don't know who else to blame anymore.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  183. Jason

    well lets see, parents or teachers arent allowed to discipline their obnoxious and selfish children anymore for fear that they will come under attack from some self righteous crusader organization like the ACLU or a Children's Rights group. How can we expect people to grow up to be considerate of one another if we aren't even allowed to instill those values in children. Maybe all children don't have ADD, maybe they don't all have behavioral problems, maybe they're just children and maybe they should be treated as such. Enough with this "let the kids do what they want to develop how they want" bull, and let them grow up with strong parental and adult direction to give them a good chance at growing up the right way.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  184. Noah

    Like so many of our current problems, I'm not sure this is an answer that can be summed up in a single post. There are so many factors that are contributing to this increasingly uncivil culture: An "us vs them" attitude, stress (be it from work or home), less down time, increased (at least perceived) anonymity (via the internet), parents not teaching kids common courtesy, the list can go on and on.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  185. Ken in Mississippi

    One could blame a whole variety of ills, but it all comes down to one thing – selfishness. For decades, the focus for people and for business has been acquisition of material goods, money, or social status. Driven by that selfish nature, people and companies have pushed forward with a greed based agenda. We as a society have virtually abandoned the the approach of doing the best to promote personal as well as community interests. It is now all about personal interests. The new selfish attitude has caused jobs to be outsourced to China. It has caused individuals to become self-absorbed and insensitive to others and has infected all levels of society.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  186. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Haven't you heard? Because we're entitled. Or at least, we think we are. I was frequently on that list of the uncivil when I was younger, not so much anymore. The difference? As I got older I looked harder at my own behavior and asked myself, 'Is this really mature behavior, do I want to go through life acting like a spoiled child? The answer was NO! So I made a conscious decision to work on things like anger while driving or standing in a long line at the supermarket etc. It's easier than most people think it is if you're really determined to change. I'm not the only one; I frequently encounter people willing to lend a helping hand, say a kind word and so forth. Sometimes just passing on good behavior engenders the feeling in others. Pay it forward as the saying goes.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
  187. Kevin in CA

    When the standard of living and the economy go south, so do the manners,

    June 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  188. Marge

    Republicans have always been nasty. Today the press, all 25 conservative owned media outlets cover their actions and report it to the country. . And the rest of the people think it is ok to be jerks. Look at Gov Christie the way he talks to his constitutants. Look at Rick Scott and the rest of the republican governors, (and yes some Democrats are following suit) all of them lack class and character.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  189. Chris

    My opinion is that Americans have become nastier to each other because we have left God out of our lives. Therefore, most have no inner peace. We are chasing after temporal things that is not fulfilling. As a result, we become miserable taking it out on each other as if the other person is responsible for one's behaviour. When one return to the Prince of Peace then and only then will America have love for him/her self. Then we will be able to love thy neighbour as thy self. Before you try to tear this opinion apart look at yourself first.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  190. willxyz10

    A good example is when McCain and Palin ran for the White House. It was an appalling display of negativity and and all out effort to destroy Obama's reputation. It was disgraceful. And it's pretty widespread throughout politics in this country, but particularly from the right-wing. When this kind of behavior is deemed acceptable by Senators then it's not surprising it spreads throughout society.

    June 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  191. Al ~ San Diego

    $cr*w you Jack; how dare you ask me that question....I am too busy putting on pretenses, keeping up with the Jone's, trying to stay perpetually young, watch/want my UN-reality shows, and all the while denounce my responsibilities......we are a nation that has gotten ahead by trampling on someone else, and I am not going to miss an opportunity....that being said, time to go and frustrate someone.....

    June 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  192. Tony C

    Jack,

    Blame Obama, immigration that seems to work for everything wrong with the country..

    June 21, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  193. jeb

    Things are getting nastier because people have lost their self-esteem and it is easier to blame gays, blacks, immigrants, atheists and anyone else who doesn't "fit in". When you don't have any self-esteem, it is easier to push other down than it is to bring yourself up.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  194. Michelle in GA

    I’d have to agree with those who say the Internet is a large contributor to our growing nastiness. You generally cannot read three comments in on any article, from politics, to world news, to entertainment before you hit a truly nasty remark by an anonymous poster. We hide behind that anonymity and revert to high school mentalities where rude, crude things were written on bathroom stalls and our friends giggled. Another contributor, fear/hate – I’m still surprised at the hatred posted about public people as if the poster knows them personally and has a long festering grudge. Fear is not an acceptable emotion to the American people. Instead of saying – I’m afraid of losing my job to ______ (fill in group) – they say “I hate” – and in turn teach their children to hate – and the Internet provides instant access to millions of people as a means to spread that hate.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  195. kirk L S Douglas

    You know you,ll are right but thats how people are in this country it just start coming out in the light,since Obama got elected and its a shame,some people blame the schools but how about what comes out some grown people mouth,before putting the blame to the front door of the schools maybe as mother,s and father,s we should listen to ourselfs,I came here from the West Indies over thirty years ago and I felt better about this country than I do now, it comes down to if my views are different from your I hate you, and if you are a white person you could do no wrong and if you are another race the white people would look for any dirt they can find and they would not leave any stone unturn until they fine what they are looking for look at what TRUMP and the other did to OBAMA,what we have to worry about soon is that when you people one day wants to take a vacation you might find you all selfs doing so here in this country because you all might not be safe in someone else,s country,something for youall to think about.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  196. Chris

    Look no further than the content of contemporary "reality shows". For many, these suggest or directly model behavior. They are intended to be provocative and thus draw ratings but they influence people's perception of what's normal and acceptable. Not in a good way.

    Also, as many have noted, the pressures created by the recent financial crisis, unemployment, outsourcing, and a future laden with debt is a smoldering psychological fire for many, particularly with no path to improving things.

    That said, everyone can decide how they will act, and acts of kindness breed acts of kindness. Be nice!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
  197. Joseph (Los Angeles, CA)

    America isn't getting any nastier. We've been this nasty for as long as America (and indeed, the human race) has been around. We only think, based on history books, that people used to be more civil. They weren't.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  198. Ken

    I believe the reason why America has become nastier is:
    A) We don't interact with people face to face as much anymore. We don't know our neighbors as much either.
    B) People have a habit of generalizing which turns society into a us against them.
    C) Anti-social habits aren't corrected and the negative habits and emotions are being perpetuated.
    D) Society is become increasingly more complicated.

    Let's have some random acts of kindness out there...

    June 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  199. Kevin SD CA

    Why is America becoming nastier?

    Because of the nasty political correctness being taught in the Public Schools….. Entitlement, Entitlement Entitlement, Entitlement, Entitlement!

    Try teaching individual responsibility and putting up boxing rings in the center of each public school to run some of the nasty out of punk students, punk teachers, and punk administrators, or maybe try some real confronting exercises!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  200. Ernie in Oregon

    I've noticed a recent increase in public rage incidents– people screaming at each other, screaming into cell phones, screaming at clerks in stores, screaming at other drivers, etc. It seems as though people have lost sight of the big picture and use any event, even the most trivial, to vent a rage whose origins they don't clearly understand.

    I think part of it is that, as a nation, we no longer have a clear sense of purpose. With the dramatic rise of China, America is in the same position that Great Britain was in after World War II. It's hard to believe, but 100 years ago Britain ruled the world. Look at it today.

    When a society is in decline, as ours seems to be, personal events tend to be blown out of proportion: people no longer focus on being part of a greater whole, so they rage about trivia. People used to be proud to be an American, the land of the free and the home of the brave. We have deteriorated to the infantile stage where the ego is all important– it's all about ME.

    In Great Britain it led to the rise of the welfare state and the culture of yobs and hooligans. It will be interesting to see how America deals with its decline. Right now it seems that a large part of society is experiencing a cumulative sense of betrayal that started with the Kennedy assassination and Lyndon Johnson's war and culminated in Bush's war and the financial crisis. Either we learn to accept our reduced status or we implode.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
  201. Brian, Hunt Valley, MD

    Go ahead and blame the Republicans; they get blamed for everything else!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  202. Bill Wirth, Hillsborough North Carolina

    Bad parents setting bad examples for their children! Its just as simple as that!!!!!!!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  203. sanford marble

    I think this question has a pretty simple first answer: people are becoming less civil because there is increasing scarcity. If you look around you'll see trends toward less of almost everything that makes life good. There is less real pay for longer work hours, less room everywhere (in the air...unless you pay for it), less respect for individual space, less time for family, less trust, less credit at the bank, long lines for any live entertainment, less gasoline for a dollar, more expensive 'public' education, higher municipal taxes, fewer opportunities to get away for an actual vacation (except for the wealthy, perhaps), lowered expectations for the future, less political representation for the average person, and products that seem to have less in the package every day. On top of this we have parasitic media and political strategies that depend on stirring this brew into a boiling, self-righteous anger for selling advertisements and winning at the polls.
    Now, why is there increasing scarcity? What about serious economic growth?

    June 21, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  204. Mark

    we are headed for a civil war oh well:)

    June 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  205. J.

    Jack,

    A lot of it is arrogance. Instead if trying to rule the world through justice we do it with a gun. America has lost its way. It no longer looks out for others in this country it is every person for themselves. Sure there are issues facing us all but we are not working together to solve them.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
  206. Damon G

    I refuse to assume guilty before innocent. Stay nice, my friends! Don't buy the hype that everyone is out to get you! The fear you are being sold cannot continue!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  207. dljr60

    We have lost our way.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  208. Gary - Woodhaven, Michigan

    We have become a deteriorating culture of ideology and ego.

    A throw away society where instant gratification, exulting the ego, and building the deadly sin of pride is more important than spirituality, the energy of coming together.

    As long as we live under these beliefs we will continue to build walls around one another, where you are not welcome if you do not act like me, think like me, even look like me. And within these walls we spend our time reassuring each other and hating everyone else.

    The final irony is, is that all of us who live in these walled cities will have to make emotional war on one another, which is what we are doing today.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
  209. gils everywhere

    I am the youth of this nation and you know what Jack? WE DON'T CARE ANYMORE. We were promised this and that if we were nice, had manners and followed the rules, for what so that we can see other people who don't follow the rules get ahead.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  210. Gary H. Boyd

    Two words Jack - Frustration and dissatisfaction. People today are genuinely unhappy with too many things they can't control and that leads to bad attitudes, short tempers and foul language. Oh yeah, let's not forget the word outrage which drives the whole show.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    June 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
  211. tenman

    The underlying problem is that we as a people have lost our loyalty to and identification with, ourselves as a nation. Most of us have transferred the more traditional loyalty to country and clan to sports teams or entertainment personalities. This, given the variety of options, leaves us fractured and fractious. Part of this has resulted form the mobility of the last half-century or so; we are not close to neighbors, cities, friends, or even families anymore. Many have filled that niche with the above-stated affiliations, to the detriment of us all.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  212. Carol in Maryland

    The bad behavior that has always been around has just become more "acceptable" in our society. Chuck Barris game shows in the 70s hinted at the crassness of our future. Jerry Springer and Divorce Court allowed what was formerly dirty laundry, not to be aired in public. to become mainstream. Add on "reality" television that promotes bad behavior to get ratings. What would previously have been behavior worth chastising, has become the norm. And people who formerly would have been seen as low class and crass have been made into role models, all for the sake of ratings. Even if you don't watch the shows, they get so much coverage in other media outlets, it is impossible to avoid. The internet has similar issues with pornography and violence being the most viewed content. And, in the past few years, even newscasters and talk-show hosts spend more time arguing their own opinions than learning more from their expert guests. After all of the media bombardment of rude and crass behavior, it is simply a cascade effect through our everyday society.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  213. David

    It's becoming nastier for the same reason reality shows are becoming nastier, because thats what sells. The media is far from blameless in this trend. If the media had pursued bush and cheney the way they did Weiner, perhaps we'd have a lot less dead soldiers and our economy wouldn't be in such a mess, but I guess that ship has sail into a golden sunset, golden sunset is another way of saying
    more money than you can count.
    Dave from Peterborough, NH.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  214. BuckeyeJim

    In politics what works is telling the voters why they should not vote for the opponent. Don't talk about solutions to problems just say that your opponent has one blue eye and one yellow eye and that means he is devil's spawn.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  215. Engineer in Raleigh

    I'd echo some of the other readers, the internet has something to do with America getting nastier... But much of it has to do with the media refusing to call out some of the toxic rhetoric coming from the right. Discourse took a very dark turn around the beginning of the Iraq war, with right-wingers insinuating that Democrats "hate America", or want to "blame America first". That trend has continued with "Death Panels", "blood libel", and people carrying assault weapons to political rallies. We need a functioning media that calls this stuff out, rather than playing the "both sides do it" card. Both sides may do it, but that behavior is far more prevalent on the right. Call out every instance of it, forcefully, without fear of being labeled "liberal" for reporting the truth.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
  216. Damon G

    I blame politicians. They are our leaders. When leaders behave badly, so will the followers.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  217. Steven

    I think it's because we went from the "X"-generation to the "Me, myself, and I" generation.

    Hatred, disrespect towards others, and the decline of morals in today's society is a virus... It spreads quickly, some will catch it right away, others think that they might be immune to it for awhile, but eventually succumb.

    It's the easier road, to be rude rather than polite or decent to others, and just because you have a bad day, you might feel better if you spread/share it with others. Quite sad actually... we as a "society" have become weak.

    Media has to "push boundaries" for ratings, which helps the virus spread even further... No one noticed that we've passed the civil/moral "line" a long time ago.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  218. Bill (San Diego)

    Pain makes you shudder. Laughter makes you tremble to relieve the shudders. Fear and hate go past shudders to the adrenaline rush. The media needs us to feel one of these to stay tuned... or we will switch channels to hunt for it. If there is nothing on, we will pierce our ears. Answer: we cannot stimulate the future up, so go slow...

    June 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm |
  219. Sally Restivo

    I think attitudes began with the Jerry Springer show. The show was based on humiliation of people. No empathy for hurt feelings or bad situations. Reality shows that are so popular for back biting, sneaking etc. are all the rage. Viewers have transfered their lack of compassion over to those that are less fortunate, or may have a different view point.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  220. Al

    Growing pains of coming to grips with the fact that our previous standard of living is unsustainable as we approach 7 billion people on earth. I think America will become happier once we realize that we can be just as happy with living with half of what we have now.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  221. Cary

    We started out as a nation of farmers that had to work together to survive. Today other people are seen as competition not some one you can call on when you need help. Back in the day you helped your neighbor build a barn because next year when you needed a new one they were there to help you. Today they'd expect to get paid $25 an hour and if they hit their thumb with a hammer they'd sue you and we call this progress? Elections are ugly because few if any are concerned with the interests of the country it's about power and control. If your side is in control they can grab more of the pie. Ultimately it's all about self centered greed. It's ironic that the greediest of them boast about their Christian values. Christ would be ashamed that they used his name to cover for their own blind greed.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm |
  222. Allen in Ohio

    I believe the reason the American public have become more and more uncivil in the last 10-15 years, is because people have more of a sense of entitlement. If you are unknown to them, they do not feel obliged to be nice or even indifferent. Many people feel a sense of apathy toward other people, as a whole. The do not have a sense of dependency upon others as they did in the Great Depression (as an example). Since they have no inner thoughts of dependency toward others, they see no consequences for their bad behavior. If there are no perceived consequences, then there are no inhibitions to treating others badly; of course, unless they need something from you.😀

    June 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  223. Ron Hines Road

    It is due to non face to face communication, i.e. internet. People are able to say things that they would not dare say to someone in person, in most cases.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  224. David from So Cali

    Naturally, the response to negative behavior is often negative. Often, people may be acting negatively towards a person and, upon receiving a negative response in return, ignore their initial behavior and feel themselves the victim.

    That said, is the world really getting nastier? Or are we just more aware of it due to increased methods to become so? Perhaps now days its just more noticable because its harder to hide.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
  225. Andrew

    I find this an ironic question coming from a pretty mean newsguy or news hack. Jack, it's survival of the fittest. And if you aren't mean and cunning at the core, you won't win the office. Look at what happens to Mike Huckabee. The nice guys are looked down upon because they are meek in spirit. The world doesn't esteem the values of Christ and meekness doesn't win you many browny points with the news hacks..

    June 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  226. Philip

    Jack:
    As industry in the north continues to decompose, and state/local taxes and crime increase, more and more yankees are moving to the south and west where their obnoxios attitude encourages an equally obnoxious response from the local, traditionally friendly and hospitable population.

    Philip
    Houston

    June 21, 2011 at 6:12 pm |
  227. QS in Seattle

    Really?

    "Political campaigns were the least civil, followed by pop culture, then the media, government and at No. 5, the music industry. But the sixth least civil institution? The American public."

    Personally I don't think you can ask this question without including religion. If there's one thing in this world that I believe divides more than it unites, plus makes those of one sect believe anybody not of their sect is their enemy, it's religion.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  228. Dick Hertz

    We're tired of being taken advantage of. Get rid of 20 millio illegals and put America back to work. Then we'll have something to smile about. As for those of us on Social Security? My attitude is a reflection of my check. My check has been moving in reverse the past couple of years. Nothing for me to be happy about.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  229. Joan

    "The reason people are petty is that there's so little at stake," someone once said and they must have been talking about politicians. They take solid stands against gay marriage, abortion, and other hot-button issues instead of these endless wars, billions of dollars lost in Iraq, the large debt Bush left us. Who the hell wouldn't be mad? Joan in Austin

    June 21, 2011 at 6:13 pm |
  230. Independent Joe

    Jack,

    C'mon Jack! Our national debt is out of control, unemployment is above 9%, we are on the verge of entering a third war, health care costs are still skyrocketing, and many of us have either lost our home or, are in foreclosure. I could say more but I feel a surge in my blood pressure.
    Joe M (Mn)

    June 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  231. Loopie

    I don't think you were more rude and more over the top than in 2008 when you were discussing Hillary and Palin. You were bordering on insanity. If you're like that in front of millions of people on TV, why is it shocking to you that people treat each other poorly at the mall or driving? Americans are loud, obnoxious and thinks the world revolves them and their opinions.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  232. Marion

    Because nastiness has no negative consequences. Look at sports. We don't teach kids to respect their opponents; we teach them that they need to win at all costs. You even have parents fighting with other parents and referees. What happens to them? Nothing. And what happens to the politician who gets down and dirty, running negative ads, and generally acting like a jerk? More often than not, they win. And when someone does try to call someone on how they're acting, the nasty individual often flies into a rage, as if to say, "How dare you tell me how to act!" Look at the response of that stupid drunk girl after getting ejected from the theater in Austin.

    Until society as a whole decides that it's had enough and really starts to push back, I don't see a change to be likely.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  233. Mark Svoboda

    If people truly are nastier than before, then people must feel more incentive to be negative. I believe it's a whole combination of things: A lackluster economy, unwanted wars, an increasingly cynical and socially-motivated media landscape, and the very popular mentality of the day: If I vent, I will feel better. Anonymity of the internet most certainly contributes to comparably worse brutality online. Lack of role models that maintain their cool (at least we have our president).

    June 21, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
  234. George

    Jack, there are several reasons for this. Respect for others is no longer taught in the home, as it used to be when I was young. Our schools, which used be a secondary source of social learning, are having hard enough time to trying to teach the 3 R's to teach social mores. Also, the fact that many of our citizens are from other countries and have no knowledge of our traditions or the reason things are done a particular way has also contributed to an overall lack of respect. We have become an in your face society where the media, both social and otherwise, has given everyone a chance to have their ten minutes of fame and the easiest way to get it is by doing the most outlandish things possible. And finally, as much as I hate to say this, the fact that we have a black President has unleashed a whole different torrent of disrespect that was never given the LBJ's, the Nixon's, nor the past Bush. Though we did not agree with what they did or say, we still respected the office they represented, unlike now.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  235. Joseph Roberts

    We are animals, always have been, always will be.

    The only thing new is the media overload we have
    today showing us what we animals do, as soon as
    we do it.

    Joseph Roberts, Tampa Florida

    June 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  236. chris

    liberals have been spreading fear and hate for decades. look no further than their medicare commercials to see what new lows they sink to with the hopes to by their elections

    June 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  237. Cliff

    Easy people say I'm right and everyone els is wrong. There is no middle ground anymore.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
  238. Alexandrine

    Jack, we've taken God out of everything. Nobody follows the golden rule anymore. Parents don't correct their children. It's become every man for himself. We're a country of selfish, lazy, pleasure loving, haters. We've become a nation of people that are dull in the mind and cruel in the heart. From CA

    June 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  239. Mark

    I think that for whatever reason, we"re not teaching our children lessons in manners and civility. It"s been that way for a long time...Beginning with the baby boomers...but more pronounced in the Gen X and Gen Y generations who are all now adults and at the forefront of what we would consider the symbols of typical adult behavior. (I'm a gen X'r by the way). That's what they learned and so that's what they are teaching their children.

    The ME generation has only become more pronounced....and too many of those raising children NOW don't give a crap about the world around them, so long as it provides them with what they want. Unfortunately, neither 9/11, nor a nasty recession have humbled that mindset.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
  240. chris

    thanks to liberal special interest groups there is next to no penalty/deterrent to act with moral responsibility and common sense.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  241. Mitch Stanislaus

    I feel that people today walk around with an unearned sense of accomplishment and that they themselves are better than everyone else. I am 24 and I can tell you this I respect my elders but only if they respect me equally. If you want to walk around and be nasty cause you think your better i will treat you the way you treat others, however if you want to be respectful towards people then that is how i will treat you. The problem is that to many Americans today think that everyone else needs to be nicer when in actuality to fix this we all need to look into a mirror and see how we can change from the inside.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  242. Jack Christian

    Jack,
    I think people are more nasty these days due to a lack of respect caused by a combination of the erosion of the family as we knew it 40+ years ago. The fathers are gone, mother is working two jobs because $8/hour will not pay the bills, and children are left to be raised by anyone Mom can find or on the streets with siblings and "friends". Disrespect is becoming the norm.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  243. Dave

    People tend to be rudest when they are angry or afraid. Most political rhetoric is designed to create these emotions in voters, so that they will be motivated to action i.e. vote for or against something or someone. I know I don't make my best decicions when I am angry, which probably explains why the people that get elected are such a disappoinment.
    Dave
    Seattle

    June 21, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
  244. stan fishell

    stan roscommon mi I don't find this to be true in my life.I am treated very well at the doctor'soffice the grocery store drug store and everywhere else and I treat others with respect butthen I live in a small town.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  245. Jeff in NC

    I think we're nastier because we're fed up. Our elected officials have sold us out. Our national and personal finances are in shambles, they even tell us that the jobs that left are not comming back. We look for good decent jobs but only find low paying jobs.

    America is angry Jack and we're madder than hell. Our elected officials do what THEY want and not what WE want. I suspect it won't be long before we all realize that channeling our anger towards each other won't work and we then channel it at THEM and bring about true change. The Arabs are doing it and it's just a matter of time before we break down the divisions that they've put between, form in numbers and physically throw the bums out.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  246. Maryann in Iowa

    It's because we give hours of airtime everyday to people like Rush Linbaugh who spew hatred and lies. We make people like him millionaires instead of muting them.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  247. The Mudshark

    America is becoming nastier, immoral, and corrupt because we are following the example set by our leaders. As long as it makes you rich, it can be justified.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  248. Jean in Cary, NC

    Jack, look no further than ( so-called) reality TV – Mob Wives, Bridezillas, Jersey Shore, Basketball Wives, etc. If you can stand to watch any of these shows for a minute, you will see that all they do is yell at each other and argue over absolutely nothing.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  249. hjs3

    Ah c'mon Jack don't you remember the decree shortly after Obama was elected...The GOP is bound and determined to unseat him asap via whatever means necessary. (Paraphrase)

    Voter suppression and pr changing the voting laws is already in legislation in states like Texas. Florida. Georgia, Alabama. Of course all are being challenged by the ACLU.

    It's going to be the year of of nasty to be sure....

    June 21, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
  250. Veganman

    Narcissism and refusal to adapt.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  251. Greg

    Poor education system + Social Networking + Cheap Easy Credit + Stupidity as a Political Platform + Fox News = Spoiled Narcissistic Ignorant poorly behaved Americans. Where better to study a concentration of them than at the quintessentially American shopping locale: The Mall and the highway leading to it.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  252. Chris

    It's our lack of homogeneity, which in and of its self isn't a bad thing. But needless to say people have enough difficulty getting along without mixing in drastically different social, cultural and political values.

    This aspect of our society is constantly evolving and I think we're headed towards greater homogeneity in the next century. But as of now the only thing Americans have in common is that they're American; every other aspect of our society has become highly factional, for better or worse.

    More to the point, the "old guard", which in my opinion are white, anglo-saxon protestants and those that share similar values are losing their majority. Not just in numbers but in their overall influence in every aspect of our society. This is a gradual and steady process but we are approaching a tipping point, that I feel is quite apparent and is understandably (to a certain extent) unsettling to some Americans.

    So, this "nastiness" is in part due to the manifestation of these factors, as well as others. In my HUMBLE opinion.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  253. Haeden

    Maybe because of the stupid crap on TV. Lots of people take after what they hear, especially children.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  254. David S.

    I believe it can be attributed to three things:

    A.) The complete abandonment of critical thinking and objectivity in our educational institutions.

    B.) The pseudo-anonymity of the internet.

    C.) The adoption of conflict based "reality" programming as a form of entertainment.

    Reading any of the comments that typically follow a CNN story reveals a host of vitriolic posts that are completely devoid of any objective, rational argumentation. The only conclusion that one can reach is that those posting are utterly irrational and lack the skills to perform even the most rudimentary analysis of the topic at hand.

    Add to this the depiction of emotional, conflict based interrelationships as normalcy in reality programming and we have the perfect storm for the complete and utter destruction of decorum in contemporary society.

    Very, very sad indeed as it was the ability of the US public at large to think clearly and argue civily that made this country what it once was.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  255. Mike

    We are getting poorer.

    The dollar devaluation and printing is robbing purchasing power from all of us. Printing causes prices to rise.

    We do not see the easing, but can feel it. It affects every area of our lives.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  256. Bri

    America is becoming nastier because we have people like Donald Trump in it.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  257. NG Namann

    Two letters: TV -it's what most Americans spend most of their time doing. I remember when the Simpsons came out and how shocked I was at how rudeness, disrespect and sarcasm were becoming the norm and I thought that soon kids would start speaking that way to each other, their parents and teachers. That has come to pass and now it is worse: now kids, parents and teachers think it is acceptable to be rude and sarcastic. Disrespect is the main mode of communicating these days.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  258. Brian in WV

    Nasty is where the money is. Won't be on CNN being nice.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  259. Harry Hayfield

    I come from the United Kingdom and have a large number of American friends online, none of whom are ever rude to me at all. I would have to agree with the list published by Weber Shandwick especially that the music industry and pop culture are incredibly rude (you only have to look at the "Explicit Lyrics" stickers on hip hop and rap records to know that), but am pleased to state that amongst the Americans I know every day all of them treat this "limey" (itself once a rude word to describe Britons, but a word I take with great affection) with the greatest of respect

    June 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  260. Josh Andrews

    We're overworked, underpaid, and exhausted as a society. We hardly take advantage of vacation time, we're working to save our lives to get more stuff to keep up with the Jones's – its no wonder we're not civil. We need to place less priority on stuff and money and more on happiness and being well adjusted. Happy people are civil people.
    Josh Andrews
    Tulsa, Oklahoma

    June 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  261. Sue

    Easy. Because we have drawn away from God. If we would remember God and the Golden Rule, we would be much nicer to each other.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  262. Ivan

    We think we can get away with it.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  263. Ishmael

    The people of this country are nothing more then "sheeple" they follow the example of the government. If we are to get better as a sociaty, it must start from the top of the ladder! The government is corrupted and the people tend to follow in its footsteps!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
  264. steve - virginia beach

    For one, parents aren't allowed to discipline their children as they used to. In many jurisdictions, parents can be prosecuted for a basic spanking. Lack of a full-time parent at home exasperates the problem. Not to mention politicians and the media, particularly on the left who cultivate a culture of nastiness. If you disagree, just mention Palin or Teaparty then read the ensuing comments.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  265. Jon

    Civility is a luxury of the comfortable. Americans are less comfortable than they used to be. You do the math, Jack.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  266. Gavin Baumgart

    Because greed is on the rise. After the cold war, we lost our sense of community because it was "communist", and bonds between people dissolved.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  267. joedoolittle

    Joe in New York

    What a stupid question, Jack. Who says we're nasty? Now, let's get back to the Weiner jokes.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  268. tom

    Mostly due to right-wing rants. When one side can convince a good chunk of the American public that the government is starting Death Panels, well – there you have it. My extended family is split down the middle Rep/Dem. Now, with relatives suddenly openly racist and believing bizaare things, we rarely can meet as a group anymore. Never saw this before in my 70 years. Pity. And before you go labelling me a liberal, I voted for Bush1 and considered myself Independent until recently. Now I just can't truck with the far right shift of the Tea Party.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  269. David g dwinell

    Jack what does a lack of an education look like

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  270. Brian, Pensacola FL

    Jack,

    There seems to be a real breakdown between what's an opinion and what's a fact. Being able to recognize the difference would go a long way towards bipartisanship and making grocery shopping tolerable. That's a fact and you can "take it to the bank".

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  271. Frank Scottsdale,AZ

    America i becoming nastier because of the government. The senate, house, and congress all care for themselves. They want what is better them, and to them money just keeps coming in to their pockets everyday. Its all about money in this country. Money = Power

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  272. Steve, Clifton, VA

    America was told during the 1980's that it was okay to be racist, and self indulgent and greedy. We lost our values and principles around hard work , earned merit, statesmanship, and pulling one's self up by the boot straps and exchanged them for cronyism, partisanship and deliberately widening the gap between the upper class and middle class. The result has been the ever diminishing middle class fiercely battles within itself for the limited resources still available and the upper class works feverishly at keeping and expanding the wealth that it has gained over the past 30 years.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  273. Thomas Young

    As a society we are in financial decline so everything is getting harder to come by so we are becoming more possesive. That is in and of itself a cause for rising tensions and people become more territorial. The other reason is people can no longer distiguish between reality and TV. Casey Anthony trial is very real but people are viewing it like a little girl was not reallty brutally murdered. Everyday, and everyway we are becoming like the Roman Empire, less morality, enjoying bloodsports, removal of God from all walks of public life. Oh well it was a great run, hopefully we can get through it.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  274. Steve

    Americans are more selfish. This is the "me" generation. They have no home training. Civility and manners are learned. We are not teaching these things to our children.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  275. Kent Stratton

    Who knows? No one in congress knows, why should I know!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  276. Mike T

    Its simple really. As we cut education in favor of funding tax cuts for millionaires we are raising a generation without the education to even spell c-i-v-i-l, much less know what it means. We are fast becoming a nation of angry idiots.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  277. Earl

    Fine I'll say it. I blame the GOP for convincing half the country that anyone left of Ann Coulter was in cahoots with Saddaam Hussein.

    That set the precedent.

    Or maybe all the attack ads I get in the mail that could easily be said about myself. Sick of getting mailers and seeing ads that actually insult ME instead of the candidate. Yup. I blame the GOP.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:23 pm |
  278. Don Harris

    We are all simply following the example set by our non-elected leaders – Wall Street

    June 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  279. Katherine Snee

    Americans are just becoming more greedy and less concerned about our fellow man. Everyone wants what they can't have or what others have and it is making us more nasty.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  280. Jeff in AZ

    Jack,
    If you want a civil Society all the President and our allies have to do is get rid of the all mighty dollar. It would erase class welfare and allow the parent to acctually raise thier kids.College would be free, there would be no homless and the best part would be EVERYONE would be created equal. The FED would be out of a job but all the finance personnel can go back to college its free.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  281. Carol, Washington

    People are becoming nastier in part because on the Internet they can be anonymous and thus are not being held to a higher standard, and that spills over into the rest of their lives. Also, because they are nastier and often dangerous, other people are afraid to stand up against them and hold them accountable.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  282. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Mr. Cafferty:

    I think it is because the dreamy perception they had that their leadership being benevolent and effective has been exposed as a nightmare, and now they cannot sleep.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  283. Michael Kanarish

    We are becoming nastier, because we are more selfish. We only care about ourselves. We go about our daily lives oblivious to the impact our speech and our actions have on other people. What's more, we don't even care about that!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
  284. Kei Yuuki

    I believe America has become seriously Intolerant and Selfish due to more Organizations vowing for power over people, and herding the sheep to do their bidding.. Just look at TN, where the Governor has signed Pro Discrimination bills targeting the Lesbian, Gay and Transgender communities. Its all about power and control, and extremism is running so rampant in the U.S. its borderline terrorist mentality. (Religious Groups trying to take over politics)

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  285. Joan Crowley

    I think it's because people are much more concerned with themselves than with anyone else, but not accountable for anything they do. If they screw up, it's because of something somebody else did. When I was growing up, we were taught to find nice things to do for our family members and neighbors. There were social graces that were adhered to. We were taught manners. Those days are gone.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  286. Christopher Allen

    It is a simple departure from discipline that has occurred as one generation passes the torch to the next. Each generation becomes more self entitled than the next one – parents no longer place reasonable parameters around the children. And then those children become adults who believe the world revolves around them. This causes this obnoxious behavior. And worse yet! These people are now becoming parents and the children are becoming even more behaviorally nasty than before!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  287. Dan Geho

    In todays industrial and financial sectors, the people who show the most sociopathic behaviors seem to get the farthest. As long as the most greedy and least feeling of us continue to be rewarded – and consequently held up as models – we will most certainly continue to see a decline of civility in our society.

    Dan
    Stewartstown, PA

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  288. Mercker

    I think it has to do with the fact that it's so easy to live in today's world. Before we had all this technology and government/taxpayer help; we had to help out one another and live responsible. Now everything is expected and demanded. This created selfishness; from the corporations that don't think they need to pay taxes to the country that created them, to the women who has 5 kids and one on the way with no job or way to support them. As long as there is no repercussions, it's only going to get worse. Violence on TV, videos games and music is not the cause, it's the effect of the society we have created. This is not just and American thing, it's the human race in general. We really need and epic natural disaster to bring us back together again.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  289. Steven

    Some of the blame clearly rests with the new technonlogies from Internet blogging to online gaming to Tweeting....they all are enabling if not outrightly encouraging social isolation. Why be civil to someone you are not even face to face with. We need to get back to face to face social interaction....our society is starting to resemble a Ray Bradbury novel.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  290. Aaron WA

    You can blame the American people themselves for creating an endless cycle of "nastiness". When we create celebrities out of people like those found in "Jersey Shore", and our highest rated "news programs" are glorified mud-slinging competitions, it's not surprising that the public in general is losing touch with civility. Sure we denounce them publicly, but there is obviously something in the human genome that gives us sick pleasure watching people tear each other down.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  291. everet

    jack....just like the studies of rat populations......just too many rats in the box

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  292. Dale Kerns Jr

    The biggest part of our troubles in this country is the MEDIA. If the media continues to be bias and promote this horrible behavior, then we as a society will never change. The media picks who our candidates are, the media picks what we see on TV and in print. Once the media starts fairly reporting the news, we may have a good candidate in there, and we may in turn have a better influence leading the way for future generations.

    Dale Eddystone, Pa

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  293. Brady

    the media and the government are most responsible. the public is constantly exposed to nasty politics and nasty TV. monkey see, monkey do.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  294. Corey

    The 24 hor news cycle. Particularly a network that starts with an f and ends with an x. I am not a partisan person by nature, but the more you watch the news and read blogs, this stuff just sort of seeps into your subconscious.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  295. robert conroy

    We have a me first society where our leaders have set the tone. Lying, caught in corruption, no accountability equals "who cares!"

    rc

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  296. Stuart Rotenberg

    Americans' lack of civility is founded in peoples lack of self respect, like from being fat slobs and from their laziness. How can you logically treat others nicely if you can't figure out how to live a joyful life yourself?

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  297. Wal-Mart Pharmacist

    Retail stores, such as Wal-Mart are partly to blame. I work in the pharmacy, which used to be well respected. When a customer throws a tantrum, they often get an apology and a gift card. I would march my children right out of the store for unruly behaviour, but the world's largest retailer is so afraid of lawsuits that they basically reward such actions.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  298. chris

    My point of view why Americans are uncivil or nasty attitudes would be because we the people are tired we work are tails off and never get no where in life the government don't care about the working class but lazy druggies can set back and draw checks and have homes of their own we are sick of being lied to and being treated like crap

    June 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  299. Anaja

    This underscores the need for America to better understand the many aspects of democracy. We should be able to voice our opinions and disagree with each other without getting nasty; that's true democracy

    June 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  300. Amy Day Royall

    I believe that children are just not taught "manners" any more. They grow up to be nasty adults, and they treat other people nasty in ALL walks of life. Children don't respect their parents, their teachers, their grandparents or anybody else. Parents wake up!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  301. Jonathan

    Bottom line... we've become polarized. It's this competitive nature, us against them. It doesn't help that the news covers the most confrontational sound bites. That tends to add fuel to the fire, further separating this country. When was the last time you heard moderate politicians make some noise? You don't because they are willing to find solutions and consider opposing views. The sad thing is the middle is where solutions are found.

    Personally I'm tired of this black and white world. It's like if one side wins the other loses. I'm not watching a football game here. we need to work together.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  302. Tom

    Jack, people like to talk about American values all the time but they ain't what they used to be. Sure, a community will pull together in a crisis but they also have to worry about looting. We didn't see a hint of that in Japan. The combination of greed and an economy which doesn't satisfy that greed makes people nasty.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  303. Greenspam

    The answer is simple – Fox News. Fox was started by an Australian Murdoch with a Chinese communist wife. Murdoch doesn't care about this country and he will gladly destroy it to make a buck. His wife is worse! She would gladly use sex to break up marriages to get green cards and to marry a man 40-years her senior. On top of that, she grew up with her father being a loyal communist.

    So, you see, Fox news doesn't care. Fox News will glady polarize to destroy USA. Too bad so many people still fall for this.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  304. Joshuah

    simply because we dont knw who we are. we dont hw merge into the growing social pattern. God help us all

    June 21, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  305. Carol

    Because we reward confrontational behavior with media headlines and roles on 'reality' shows where anything civil is edited out. Where are the rewards for being kind? Sure CNN Heroes is one thing, but it's a tiny pebble in a pond of scum.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  306. David

    well Jack, it is partly because, there is almost no hope.3% of the population have most of the money, the Politicians are corrupt, and Corporations fail to pay a living wage,all the while sitting on trillions of dollars tucked away overseas.
    When whats going on in Greece comes here, you'll see the rats desert the ship,the NEXT American Revolution will right the ship

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  307. Duane

    It's all about attitude, Jack. How's yours?

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  308. Karen

    People are "in it" for themselves only today. Take a look at toxic work environments where the culture says to get ahead no matter what, do not trust anyone, gossip and backstabbing are status quo, and it doesn't matter what you say or who you hurt or treat with disrespect. Government workplaces are good examples.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  309. papa john

    seems like a pretty simple concept when you have more people, less space per person, less work, less housing.....people tend to get irritated much easier than the "old days" when there were jobs, housing and lots more room without people or buildings (cities).....ahhhh, where did those days go

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  310. Rob Turner

    Hi Jack,

    I suggest you ask those who are most adept at tapping into the U.S.'s nastier side: Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter. They make huge profits from their knowledge of it and even better at expanding their market.

    Rob

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  311. Phxman

    Simple Jack;
    1. Unions too far left, Businesses too right and both lie through their teeth. i.e., "Right to work state" simply means you don't have the right to complain why you are getting fired, you just are.
    2. Growing up we are taught not to lie, but you can't make it in a corporation without it if you plan on surviving.
    3. People, especially in corporations are taught to be A**holes. You can take any personality test and find that if you don't have a "cut throat" attitude, you are not promotable.
    This is a great read called "The No A**hole Rule". It states it all

    Phxman

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  312. chiefhowie

    people not nice ? they are are in a hurry to do nothing. I drive the speed limit here in MA I get the one finger salute. I think most have been conditioned like pavlov Dog (culture) with Video games.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  313. Ann Harrison

    There is never one reason why something is, but usually its cumulative. But when people don't feel good, their behavior is not good. We don't feel good. America is nastier because there is an indiscreet lashing out due to a feeling of helplessness. And as the economy gets worse, and it will, behavior will get even more nastier.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  314. Ed - Virginia

    Because of those top 5 institutions. If you look at them, they are the institutions that influence our culture the most. Today the loudest person...Jack...ahem...gets the most attention. Perhaps if the loudest people were loudly civil, we would be more civil too. Or if we weren't addicted to hearing the loudest voice, mayhap we would be more civil on our own. Its a puzzlement.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  315. virginia - Atlanta, GA

    I credit talk radio folks like Rush Limbaugh and Neil Boortz. I feel angry just hearing them rant, If I believed either of them, I would be mean and angry at lots of folks.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  316. Kerry Bedford, TX

    I was reared in California and as I aged there was a prevailing increase in aggressive behavior and rudeness, possibly due to over crowding and an influx of foreigners and mixing of cultures. When I moved to Texas, the first thing I noticed was the politeness of the people. This is something that is taught from infancy here. It is ingrained into the people who hold politeness in high esteem. Much like the Japanese, it is a sign of low breeding to do otherwise.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  317. glenn

    America is becoming nastier because people don't have any moral or standard any more. they where raised by people without any morals. the leave does not fall to far from the tree

    June 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  318. Peter in Dallas

    I blame our Government for lying in bed with Corporations. Corporations need their drones – and they don't want people to think rationally. Solution? Control the Media and Politicians – bend the rules so the National Education agenda is bent to prepare the masses to serve in a Corporate Environment. Dump the study of Humanities, dump the studies that are geared to good Citizenship – Modify textbooks to reflect corporate values. Focus on the bottom line and profit. Forget about honesty... everything is relative. Bribe foreign dignitaries to allow the plunder of natural resources of their countries. Manufacture weapons and instigate greed and discord so that the world will buy our weapons. Manipulate the government by bribing officials into creating alliances where we can plunder and make a profit. Distract the population with modern day gladiators fighting in our present day Coliseums. Heh, heh, heh... it's so easy to fool the American public... make them believe that they are the best in the world and USA the enlightened, morally correct, honest and generous (can you say: with my TAXES?) country in the whole wide world! Oh! Woes be unto you Haliburton! Amicus humani generis

    June 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  319. David C

    We have become nastier because we as a nation have become less civil and less tolerant due to being less educated. Growing up the son of parents raised in the South I was taught to treat people the way you wanted to be treated. Nowadays even Village Boards exercise contempt as overtly as the propagandists on National Cable Networks; and that toward anyone who is 'different'.

    When we Churches get back in the business of teaching morals and schools get back in the business of educating than Americans will get back to being American in every good way.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  320. Linda

    I believe people have been getting nastier and nastier for some time now. I think part of the blame must go to the anonymous nature of the internet. Have you ever read the comments on news sites? Even stories having nothing to do with (for example) politics – will prompt some people to weigh in with the nastiest of name calling, outrageous allegations, and ridiculous ideas about whatever is bothering them. It's the same with road rage. You don't know who is in the next car – you're just bothered by the fact that they are driving too slow, don't appear to know where they're going, or just because the other car has a bumper sticker affixed that doesn't jive with what the other driver's views. There is little tolerance for differences – it's seen as a weakness and something to be paranoid or afraid of. The media seems to encourage all of this by giving coverage to the big mouths who yell the loudest.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  321. andrew,San Antonio,tx

    More news. More ways to get news. Most the news that gets reported on is bad.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  322. Joshuah

    simply because we dont know who we are. we dont know how to merge into the growing social pattern. God help us all

    June 21, 2011 at 6:28 pm |
  323. kathy

    The reason is simple, none of us is good enough to live.

    We are too short, too tall, too fat, too thin, if we don't have indiscriminant sex there is something wrong with us, our noses need to be fixed, our thighs need vacuming, our houses are too clean, our houses are not clean enough, everything we put in our mouths and on our bodies will kill us, every hangnail suffered by everyone in the country is constantly in our faces accompanied by tears and fund raisers, we do too much, we do too little, we have TV shows dedicated to the "entertainment" industry and people who will do anything to get their face on TV, we can't quit jobs we hate because we won't have healthcare, we now have TV shows dedicated to healthcare (as if we are not obsessive enough already) ....... and on and on and on.

    Republican suck, Democrats suck, Independents suck, all religions suck, all athiests suck - apparently we all suck and apparently we all know it. As a result, if anyone so much as looks at you and you see the reflection of your suckey self in their eyes you feel the need to be nasty, mean, downright cruel.

    Unfortunately, you then feel even suckier. Where will it end.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  324. Roger Gonzalez

    Yes, Jack America is becoming nastier we have millions of illegal
    immigrants I believe we need to fix this predicament as soon as possible when will Congress pass the Dream Act come on when is America going
    to wake up and give all the students an opportunity to attend college in the United States.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  325. Donald from Louisiana

    Getting nastier? America? It's been getting nastier for a long time now and not only us .... it's called original sin, and without a populace that struggles to treat each other with kindness, well , you kinda get the downside of human nature . No mystery there Jack .... next question ?

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  326. Asterisk

    It is true people are nasty even on the blogs its disgusting what people write. People have turned into animals and its disgusting look what is going on with the Casey Anthony trial people running and fighting to get tickets to see this. I find this behavior scary people need to chill out and realize we don't have it bad in the US and realize we have it good in the US. People are mad at everything from the economy to the troops coming home to jobs. But being rude and acting like animals even animals are pretty much civilized. Chill out and learn some manners and respect. And that goes for Congress be nice to one another, and respect each others party.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  327. Dave

    We teach our children through popular culture (tv, internet, movies and music) to be rude, arrogant and self centered. Are children are not held accountable for their actions. As a nation we are so focused on the good of the individual that we do not focus on the good of us all. We have no feelings of civic duty. Politics of the past 3 yhears has been the realm of the rudest, most disrespectful behavior I have seen in my 50 years.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  328. Harvey Meer

    There are many sources of increased rudeness. We can start with what we are exposed to on television news and financial programs. Rather than interviewing a guest, the he/she is cross examined, interrupted so that the correspondents point of view is portrayed. These programs that are supposed to inform now want to entertain through controvesry and conflict. When two or more people are brought on to "debate" an issue they are given 15 seconds to speak and are allowed to out shout one another. We have no Edward R. Morrows anymore!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  329. Jon

    So let me get this straight, Jack. Lets say we have 2 people, both driving. One of them has just risked the other's life by some boneheaded form of incompetence or negligence. The other has just unleashed a tirade of insults and profanities in response. You're expecting me to care about a few dirty words? They're completely out of scale with risking someone's life. What we ought to be asking is not why Americans are less civil, but why Americans behave in such a way that civility is an inappropriate response.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  330. J R Reed

    Hey, Jack

    It's best stated by Tommy Lee Jones in "No Country for Old Men" when he said, "When you stop hearing 'Sir & Ma'am', the rest will follow." We've lost the abilility to teach our children & grandchildren the most important thing in our upbringing - RESPECT !!! Bring back the switch.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  331. Ray from TN

    This country has been going downhill for many years. As long as you have greedy politicians, ceo's and rich people, things are only going to get worse. Washington is to busy sticking it's nose in everybody's business and not taking care of it's own. I always believed that charity starts at home, not in some desert that nobody gives a flip about.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  332. john

    This happening because of frustrastion in life, no money, people being lied upon. let me give an example. how many people were lied upon when they applied for the mortgages. with holding of information and taking people for a ride. This victims are becoming hostile every day. Frastration from unemployment. Those are employed, they getting pinned down by their bosses or even being threatened if reports doesn't impress their bosses.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  333. mary

    We're getting what we asked for – a Godless society where we are freed from the pain of humility before God and others. Our "enlightened" selves are now wallowing in narcissism, egotism, selfish ambition and pride...enjoy.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  334. Anaja from Tampa

    This underscores the need for America to better understand the many aspects of democracy. We should be able to voice our opinions and disagree with each other without getting nasty; now that's true democracy

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  335. Randy from Los Angeles

    Have you actually read campaign rhetoric from 100-200 years ago? It was even nastier than now. The difference is that media to replay this "nastiness" is everywhere in our face today. You think political lechery is on the rise... not a chance. Everything is just under more of a microscope with the press having a recording device in every nook and cranny.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:29 pm |
  336. Jeff From Florida

    Given the assumption that America is nastier than it was in the past, which is questionable given the riots in the 60's, industrial working conditions in the 20's etc, it does seem the political climate is more hostile. I agree with many of the writers who blame the anonymity of the internet, the sound bite nature of our news sources and talk radio and television. Confrontation sells.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  337. Richard

    Jack...
    It is no wonder citizens of the US of A are nasty. Look at Television!
    There is nothing on except prison and cop shows, Violence dominates local and national Television. Poncie scams, Bank of America & Wells Fargo foreclosing, poverty, homeless, war, jobless,
    etc, etc., etc., etc. Do unto others before they do unto you. Greed dominates. Once we wanted to make a living...Now, all want to make a killing when it comes to money. There is nary one concerned for the other person. No one...not even church people. There is ultimate greed. Wake up America!!!!!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  338. Thomas

    This is still the best country of the world., but the people have become frustrated and bitter about all our political representation. They have let us down so much, and we the American people continue to do the suffering and pay the price for their poor decisions. They do not see the same results of their actions. More and more voters are beginning to be a vote against, instead of R's, D's and I's.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  339. Dale, CO

    A variety of things are to blame.
    Internet and anonymous blogs like this one where people can pop off with no repercussions.
    Lack of any kind of discipline in schools, where students can be as disrespectful of teachers as they want, with no consequences.
    Reality TV – When people like the Jersey Shore crew, and those rude, nasty Jersey hairdressers are held up as celebrities and people to emulate, there's a problem.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  340. Paul (Charles Town, WV)

    When politicians use tactics like character assassination and slander against their opponents it increases their donations and media attention. When Wall Street concocted convoluted investments and bet against them, essentially pulling the rug out from under the American people, they walked away from it all with a taxpayer bailout and even more money in bonuses. If these people are leading by example, the American people are following suit because it must PAY OFF!

    June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  341. Clay R.

    I am a historian and i can tell you that America is not actually getting nastier. This perceived increase in uncivil behavior is an illusion brought about by romanticizing the past.
    Now, I mostly study the 1830s for which i can attest has had its share of nastiness.
    I challenge anyone to pick a moment in time in the U.S. where this nostalgic construct of universal civility existed; for sure, it would be equally easy to find nasty, crude, and down right mean behavior that coincides with it.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  342. Paully

    I agree that the internet and social media playa a part in un-civil behavior, I also believe that we no longer get unbiased news. We get the opinions of networks. Then we have cable news channels with opinon shows runing 24-7. The host over talk their guests and treat anyone that disagrees tih them with total lack of respect. The stories they share are usually part lies. Everything is split liberal versus conservative...I hear people at work making their talking points and I can tell you with program they a spouting thier crap from. Rachel Maddow, Keith Olberman, Rush, Hannity, Beck...The list goes on. One last point, parents do not teach respect anymore. When I was young, if my teacher told my mom I was misbehaving; mom punished me. Now parents defend their kids at all cost...including the truth.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  343. dave in denver

    You bet... America is a very dysfunctional society with different layers of phony niceness but underneath the surface people hate each other.. We're jockeying for jobs and resources and although there are some success stories most people feel like they're being used and enslaved by society and getting ripped off by the powers that be. Also, society is laden with lies and betrayal to the point where you cant trust anyone.. The end result is a "me first" and "screw you" attitude.

    June 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm |