Integrity Matters
August 23, 2006

If you can't beat 'em, sue 'em

Question: (E-251)

Dear Jim:

Lawsuits abound throughout the United States. What does this say about our society?


Lawyers did not create a litigious climate alone. Individuals hire attorneys to do their dirty work. And, why is this happening? Family, community, civility and social awareness are taking a beating.

There was a time when society accepted responsibility for those who were unable to care for themselves. No more! When individuals, families, communities and nations become increasingly isolated, culturally and economically, then rudeness and intolerance can prevail. Insensitivity leads to chaos in the form of road rage, domestic violence and even global conflict. Without relationships, mutual respect disappears.

"Get 'err done" is a mantra of the blue-collar comedy tour. Out of time, pressured and frantic adults demand "instant everything", risking important relationships!

How frequently do today's families eat meals together, discussing common concerns that can strengthen the fragile family structure?

Soccer "moms" and coaching "dads" drive to endless events, often hurried. What are children learning from adults who preach follow the rules while violating speed laws with fuzz busters and laser "neutralizers"?

Technology and medical science have teamed up to provide instant gratification. Products that only a few years ago would never have been discussed in polite company are now broadcast 24 hours a day. Chemical solutions for sexual dysfunctions are advertised by former presidential candidates. Intimacy is now on the "clock" - having become for many a physical-biological transaction instead of a life-affirming relationship.

"Go, girl" is short-hand for congratulations, best wishes and we are rooting for you. "High fives" replace phrases like "thank you for doing well for the team" or "we are really proud of you." It is an efficient way to communicate, and you must accept it or you are not current.

Until crude and vicious language and actions are replaced by thoughtful communications and gracious behaviors, then isolation and frustration will generate even more litigation, tension and conflict.

Integrity-centered relationships involving graciousness will increase insights and understanding, while reducing the tremendous costs that are created by needless conflict between individuals, families and societies.

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