Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Why Can't We Be Civil To Each Other, Part 2

Since I wrote my last blog on the downfall of treating people decently, we have had a run of rude, boorish and downright hateful behavior that has landed on the evening news in the past month or so.

Kanye West. What in the world was that? Is anyone besides me completely flabbergasted that he would actually think that this was ok? Going onstage at a national awards show, snatching the mike from a young singer's hand and humiliating her onstage because his favorite didn't win...How far have we fallen?

At least he was roundly booed, banned from the show and has been skewered by the press and public since, but the fact that he thought it was fine to do this in the first place says something.

The "You Lie!" Guy. Now here's a clown for you. While the President of the United States was addressing the nation and Congress, an obscure Republican congressman from South Carolina named Joe Wilson heckled the president and screamed out "you lie" and other things during the president's speech.

While I understand that this may be the clown's 15 minutes of fame (infamy), this gutter act is another indication of what we have become. Something in this poor soul told him that it's ok to scream at the president while he's giving a national speech. The clown was roundly booed and later censored by the House, but has refused to apologize and seems to be quite proud of his embarrassing behavior. Is he living on another planet, or is it really ok now in our country?

The Texting Guy. Another silly clown at the president's speech to Congress sat texting during the entire speech. I don't know his name, but I assume that he's another obscure congressman looking for a little attention. The attention that he received has been all negative, thank goodness. This behavior was downright rude and disgusting, and I have to assume that the parents of these people were somehow lacking in their teaching and upbringing of their children, but that's no excuse for grown men to behave this way. Everyone can learn.

Serena Williams' racket-breaking, profanity-laced tirade. The least offensive of all this, and here's why: Her reaction came at the height of competition, adreneline was pumping, nerves were on edge. She apologized almost immediately and seemed truly contrite and ashamed of the entire incident.

While this should never have happened, I'm not sure that she deserved the onslaught of criticism that she received. One national sportscaster even said that he had never seen anything like this in tennis. Really? There once were a couple of guys named McEnroe and Connors that made a habit of breaking rackets and cursing out line judges. It wasn't a one-time slip, it was something that the public expected every time that either of these two walked onto a court.

So, Serena Williams was rude, profane and out of line. But please don't try and tell me that we haven't seen this before on a tennis court.

The field of play of one thing. It's the one place where a lack of civility is usually tolerated, to an extent. Football is bad and bloody, as is a lot of sports, and some latitude is given for high levels of excitement, competition and adeneline.

Sitting in Congress listening to the President of the United States or onstage at a national music awards show is quite another thing. Simply put, there is no excuse for the behavior of the two congressmen and Kanye West. I feel sorry for them, I think they have some real deficiencies in their lives and their families are probably terribly embarrassed and humiliated, but they need to make some changes if they are going to stay in the public eye.

The voters should throw the clowns out of office, and people should simply not put any more money in West's pockets. This country should pull itself up, stand straight and tall again, and no longer tolerate rude and hurtful behavior.

What do you think? Feel free to post and let us know.

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