According to the great and wise Thumper, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” Actually, Thumper was just quoting his greater and wiser father, who apparently knew a thing or two. It’s something that most parents teach their children. In this horrific political season, where much of the discourse has dissolved into two-year-old tantrums, where the norm is to call others names and use vile language to make whatever point they believe is their right, maybe we too should look to our Founding Fathers for advice.
“Be civil to all, sociable to many, familiar with few, friend to one, enemy to none.”
“Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.”
Maybe that’s part of the problem. We live in a world where people don’t have conversations face to face. We text, skype, facebook, twitter. Some of the vilest things have been said in these venues. Does it help? I think not. Worse, often these disgusting rants are cheered by the equally absurd.
I remember when I was in college and I needed a course during the summer so I took an English course at a junior college. Now, I also took a math course there and had a most wonderful teacher. But the English professor liked to pepper his lectures with four-letter words. Now, I’m no prude and am not lily-white in this regard, but my thought was: if this guy is so smart and has a doctorate in English, doesn’t he know bigger…maybe better words?
Frankly, we have serious issues facing this country. Platitudes and hyperbole are not going to solve them. Name-calling is not going to work either. Only serious discussions will help to move us forward. Those who shout and name call have no logical or reasonable argument, they are simply allowing their anger and frustration to get the better of them. I am all for free speech, so I’m not telling them to…well, you can fill in the blank with what you would like to say which is probably what I would like as well but which my southern upbringing prevents me from saying. The childish–pundits, politicians, and citizens–should please get out of the way, so that the serious discussions can begin.
“Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
So what say you? And please, let’s be civil. Don’t make me use my teacher voice.