‘I may not respect the man, but I respect the office.’ Those were the words used by people censoring themselves when commenting on office holders with whom they disagreed. It was a way of showing courtesy, dare I say class. Not too long ago we showed restraint in talking about our politicians and our fellow citizens. Restraint and class have become things of the past as we rip into anyone we feel like, whether they deserve it or not.
Recently, riders of Washington D.C.’s Metro subway were greeted with ads on the wall that said, ‘Go to hell Barack.’ Talk Jock Rush Limbaugh called a college student who testified about contraception to congress a ‘slut‘. Not to sound like a fuddy duddy, but what has happened to our internal regulator? You know that ‘think before you speak’ thing you mother told you about.
Crude has become the new currency in which people trade, both in public and private life. Spend your time around a busy customer service or reception desk for any length of time and you will be sure to get an ear full. We speak crudely, act crudely, generally acting like the rules of society do not apply to us.
Unfortunately, when public figures like Limbaugh and political interests act in this manner they reinforce bad behavior. I guess yelling and acting badly makes for good television and radio as they draw not only attention, but imitators. More the ever we are at a time when people of differing views need to come together and build consensus. We will have to stop screaming first.