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An estimated 70 to 100 thousand demonstrators rally outside the capitol building on February 26, 2011 in Madison, Wisconsin.

Society should treat each other with civility and respect, especially involving religion and politics. The reality is that people with opposing perspectives, beliefs and opinions often fail to do so. People are human.

Although we should strive for civility, this expectation is unreliable. We cannot beat each other up about it either. The assertion that people were much more polite and respectful nearly four decades ago is not true.

For example, 1968 was filled with violence; political and civil unrest; and rioting. Incivility reigned.

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By comparison, 2012 has been more civil — although in politics civility is usually the first casualty. Maybe it depends on a person's point of view. Political correctness has attempted to shape society's views for years. But, perhaps the most important question to ask is do we still have freedom of speech here in America?

Sometimes our speech will be deemed offensive to others, whether intended or not. Sometimes the things we say may be interpreted as intolerant or disrespectful. And sometimes — no matter how hard we try to stand-up for our particular beliefs, values or opinions — we may still be accused of disrespect or incivility. The question remains: Do we have freedom of speech or not?

Jim Leigh

West Valley City