Reputation of the USA, Eroding
As you know from reading my blog, we at Weber Shandwick have been researching civility in America for some six years now. The reputation of our beloved USA is a topic that would be hard to avoid with all the incivility hogging the airwaves in this election cycle. Don’t kid yourself by thinking that this sudden wave of incivility has just started. It’s been around for a long long time. It is just that now it is enveloping us because of the Internet, the media and new voices that have been given megaphones to say as they like. But there is no doubt about the fact that America’s reputation is at stake and being voted on every day by those outside the United States. In our poll with Powell Tate and conducted by KRC Research, the stats regarding our nation’s reputation are staggering, certainly to me.
- 87% of Americans say that a president’s tone and level of civility impacts the reputation of the U.S. around the world
- 77% of Americans say that uncivil behavior by a US president hurts his or her ability to accomplish the nation’s goals with foreign leaders
- 74% of Americans say that the United States is losing stature as a civil nation
Those are high percentages which indicates to me that Americans recognize that our stately nation is on display as we continue to treat each other coarsely, rudely and uncivilly. I would not say we are exactly the role model we claim to be.
This week I got a call from a distinguished religious leader who was interested in gathering some people together to discuss how we can address the incivility usurping our everyday lives. He had read my LinkedIn post about Americans committing to a civility pledge one day a year. In our research, a large 82% of Americans said they’d commit to do this. I had to laugh at myself when I said to him, “Is one day too much to ask for?” I guess so. All I was asking was that we hold ourselves accountable for one full day and it’s okay to be uncivil for the remaining 364 days. It does not seem to be a heavy lift to me. Maybe I am crazy. No one, no company and no government institution has ever come forth about making this happen. Oh well, I tried to pose the question.
Seriously, I am concerned about the reputation of the United States as we go through this election cycle. To my astonishment, no politician nor political party has called for a civility moratorium to right the nation’s tone — even for one single solitary day. I have to join with those other Americans in our survey — the nearly 3 in 4 fellow citizens — who see America’s reputation tarnishing right before our eyes.