Rules of Civility

Here goes … I have been watching reruns of The West Wing (for the third time).

The West Wing is an American serial political drama television series created by Aaron Sorkin that was originally broadcast on NBC from September 22, 1999, to May 14, 2006. The series is set primarily in the West Wing of the White House, where the Oval Office and offices of presidential senior staff are located, during the fictitious Democratic administration of Josiah Bartlet. (Wikipedia)

As a Republican, I will admit that this time around I am learning things about our government that probably slipped my mind, or maybe I never was aware of before. That’s  my confession. The third time around is proving to be a lesson not only in history but also political science.

In one of the episodes, President Bartlet mentions a book he is reading. This book: George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.

Being curious, I Googled “Rules of Civility” and the first thing that popped up was this: Rules of Civility: A Novel by Amor Towles

Now there are two books to read. However, being someone who loves quotes, I found this one written by Towles:

“In our twenties, when there is still so much time ahead of us, time that seems ample for a hundred indecisions, for a hundred visions and revisions—we draw a card, and we must decide right then and there whether to keep that card and discard the next, or discard the first card and keep the second. And before we know it, the deck has been played out and the decisions we have just made will shape our lives for decades to come.”
~ Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

George Washington’s 110 rules can be found here: http://www.foundationsmag.com/civility.html

They are based on a set of rules composed by French Jesuits in 1595. Presumably they were copied out as part of an exercise in penmanship assigned by young Washington’s schoolmaster. The first English translation of the French rules appeared in 1640, and are ascribed to Francis Hawkins the twelve-year-old son of a doctor.

I’m not sure why I find this fascinating, or why I’m enjoying The West Wing the third time around, but there you have it. I’m fascinated.

~Catherine

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