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True Civility

Is it our position and prestige that makes us human, or our behavior ??

True Civility

The President’s horse was moving forward with pride. Behind it, there were some companions and finally, some bodyguards on horses. This was not a state visit. They had all gone out for amusement. The President saw an Ethiopian (African) man walking down the street. The man recognized the head of state, so he took off his hat and bowed down. Then the President also took off his hat and bowed his head in reply to the greeting. The African man’s face lit up with joy, and he happily continued on his way home.

There were some close friends and relatives who did not like the President’s response of bowing down. That the leader of such a huge nation politely greeted a modest African man, they found it to be cheapening to his dignity. But they couldn’t really say anything. Everyone kept walking behind and having fun.

They all returned home in the evening. When everyone, including the guests sat down for dinner, one of the friends brought up the day’s episode and said – “You have such an elite status, and he was a mere slave African. You should not have greeted him bowing your head. He was a commoner. That’s why it was mandatory for him to be humble, but not for you.”

The President laughed and said – “You are right, brother, the President is a very big man, but should he also be irreverent? I am the President because it was experienced I have the ability to govern, but if my ‘presidency’ and that person’s being a common African, both are kept aside, then both of us remain the same normal humans. Every human should respect other human beings. Brothers, this is what true civilization is. Having position, prestige and high respect doesn’t mean that people started disregarding human duties. Wouldn’t it have been an insult to humanity if I did not greet him with the same respect, with which he bowed down?”

His friends and relatives could not think of any other argument in response to this. Yet, to confirm their opinion, this time they tried to get the support of the President’s family members. A few of them said – “A learned and eminent person like you should not do that.”

The President’s wife was also present there. She said – “What Mr. George has done is not only ideal, but also exemplary. To eliminate discrimination among human beings, it is necessary that equality be taken care of, regardless of high or low living conditions. There was a time when we were poor, we were counted in the general category. Today we are at this stage, that does not mean we are no longer human. What he did as a human being was right. An illiterate person bowed down, this was his civility. But if Mr George had not responded this way despite being educated, it would have shown great rudeness.” Hearing this, everyone agreed with her.

This was President George Washington, who laid the foundation of America. That every human being gets good or bad results based on his good or bad situation – cannot be taken as a criterion for showing civility. True civility is in giving respect to every human being without discrimination of high and low status.

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