Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Town Hall Meetings - Why Can't We Be Civil To Each Other?

What is happening to us? Can we not sit and listen to another person's viewpoints without feeling the need to shout that person down? Do people not feel ashamed of their behavior anymore?

I've just finished reading a story in The Daily Oklahoman about a town hall meeting in my own little city, along with the obligatory picture of red-faced people screaming and waving signs urging rebellion against Nazis. What???

Politeness has gone the way of 8 track tapes and rotary phones, evidently, at least for some. One distressed young mother was interviewed by the Oklahoman. She had driven an hour or so with her children, hoping to teach them the importance of getting involved and listening to different views, only to have them witness a sideshow of angry, screaming adults with little or no self-control. "I was appalled by the way people were conducting themselves in there", she said, "It just breaks my heart to see how people are treating each other in there." Good for you, young mother! More people need to call these bullies out.

Maybe talk radio has emboldened those of us with anger issues and has made it seemingly ok to intimidate and bully other human beings. Some will say that the state of the economy has driven people to clench their fists and want to fight anyone with an opposing view, but I don't think I buy it. We've faced adversity before (ever hear of the problems stared down by the Greatest Generation - The Great Depression, World War II?), and we persevered without turning on each other. And does the Depression and a terrible world war even remotely compare to a proposal for health care?

We have plenty to get ruffled about, and that will never change. But for now, I'm on the side of the appalled young mother. It breaks my heart to see how people are treating each other.

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