Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Uncivil Society

I was going to blog about something else tonight, but decided to leave the athletic and cancer arenas for a night to dabble in the political side of things. I am really concerned about the direction our country has been taking for the past 20 or so years with our lack of civility towards one another.

For a long time, whatever party is in power is demonized by the party out of power. Whatever you felt about George W. Bush, he is not a demon. Whatever you feel about Barack Obama, he is not a demon. Yet to hear their opponents talk about them, you would be surprised not to see them holding a pitchfork, sprouting horns, reeking of sulfur, and roasting babies alive to eat them.

Note the flap over President Obama addressing schools earlier today. Why would anyone of any party not want the president, no matter what party he belongs to, to encourage kids to study hard, to stay in school, to believe in themselves and their value, and to tell them that if they drop out, they not only let themselves down, but they let their country down as well? Most local schools here refused to show his talk. I am flabbergasted and appalled by this. Far right-wing talk show hosts apparently spread this message that somehow the president was going to indoctrinate our youth into his evil ways. God help us all!

Did anyone see where, at a rally about health care reform recently, two guys of opposing viewpoints got into an argument, which led to a fist fight, which led to one guy biting a finger off on his opponent? Did anyone see the tape of people screaming at and berating the woman in a wheel chair at a “town meeting” in New Jersey the other week? She suffers from two autoimmune diseases and was expressing her viewpoints about health insurance to the politician running the meeting. Her right to free speech is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, and these rude morons were just screaming at her. At least they didn’t attack her physically and bite her finger off, but that is about the best I can say of them.

Whatever happened to civil discourse, to polite and reasoned disagreement? Why can’t people agree to disagree? What has happened to basic human kindness, to respect for others? Ben Franklin was asked by a woman, after the Declaration of Independence had been signed, what they had just created. His answer was reputed to be “A Republic, madam, if you can keep it.” If we can’t start showing some civility towards one another and rationally discuss the incredibly complex and difficult issues facing our country and the world, I fear that our days as a republic are numbered.

Think about this, the next time you hear some right-wing or left-wing talk show host running off with diarrhea of the mouth.


TNTcoach Ken said...

Ah yes, freedom of speech and everything that comes with it. Don't you just love America?

Ashley said...

There were a lot of schools around here that did not show the speech yesterday. My daughter's school DID show it, though, and I'm very thankful for that. And it must have been good enough to keep her attention because she's only in 1st grade and she came home from school yesterday and told me ALL about the speech and gave me very specific details. I'm very proud of her for listening so intently. I'm sure it's difficult for the average 7-year-old to pay attention to a presidential speech for that long, but he must have captivated them somehow because Rylie was so excited to come home and tell me all about yesterday!

SusieQ said...

Great post, Art!

Wendi said...

You are right on the money on this one Art, particularly about the schools not allowing the kids to see the President's speech. Talk about being disrespectful! My friends and I have talked about this and believe that it is a direct slap in the face of our President....a man who should have our respect regardless of party affiliation. At least this is what I was taught growing up. What message are the parents, school administrators and loud-mouth media people sending to our kids? That you don't have to respect anyone of authority if you don't like what they're saying? Where does that leave the teachers, the parents or anyone else who has to execute authority over our kids? The kids of this generation have a bad enough time with authority without the schools backing them up & justifying this kind of thinking. I just don't understand how all of these people who didn't want the speech shown, could be so paranoid to think that our President, a decent and educated man and father, would say or do anything that would have a negative impact. I heard one man on the news say he didn't want his child hearing the socialistic views without him there to do whatever. Do these people think we're in Cuba or someplace where the leadership tries to take over the youth? Just amazing!! These paranoid people actually took away our Presdient's 1st amendment rights of Freedom of Speech....something that you better believe they would have squawked about and shown disgraceful behavior such as what you mentioned. The world never ceases to amaze me unfortunatley.