Dear Mr. President,
On a recent trip to Germany, Pope Benedict at one point while addressing the crowd, called for spiritual renewal among the people. That got me thinking about what that really means, and what I think is really missing in the public arena. Good Manners.
How can we, as a people, achieve any kind of spiritual renewal if we lack basic manners? We see it day after day, on the news, in the papers, and especially on the web… people posting all sorts of rude things on Facebook and Twitter. Then like ripples on the water after a pebble is dropped, those rude comments generate even more… and so it goes on and on until we’re all mired in a cesspool of mass incivility.
You know what that’s like Mr. President… you experienced it when Rep. Joe Wilson yelled out “You Lie!” in 2009 while you were addressing Congress. That was not only disrespectful, but, exceedingly rude.
Recently while working on her reality series, Bristol Palin was verbally attacked because someone doesn’t like her mother, Sarah Palin. He shouted obscenities at a young woman who has absolutely no responsibility for things her mother says or believes. But for some reason that young man thought he had the right to berate Ms. Palin while she was out doing her job. While I am certainly no fan of Sarah Palin’s politics or beliefs, it is totally unacceptable to take it out on her daughter.
Even within my extended family, there are bouts of incivility. My nephew recently posted on his FB wall… “Apparently I’m rude! HA!” To which I replied, “I find that nearly impossible to believe… I know who raised you, and I know who raised her…LOL” meaning… I know you have manners. I’ve never known him to be rude, and my guess is that he wasn’t actually rude, but someone took it that way.
You’d think that would have been the end, but a few days later his sister pops in with her own comment directed at me… “I find it funny Gadfly Granny made such a comment… considering we all know how wonderful she treats people.” To which I replied, “How would you know Jess, since you unfriended me a couple of years ago because I didn’t appreciate your “rude” and profane posts.” (posts that would appear on my wall from time to time) At that point she told me I was “…nosy and mean” and that she was “tired of me giving her family a hard time yet again…” Really… I was essentially telling her brother that I didn’t believe he was rude, and his sister thought that I was rude and nosy… sometimes you just can’t win.
So you see Mr. President how quickly civility unravels even in families. See how one little pebble dropped innocently into to pond can become a tsunami… and so it goes on all around us. In the long run, it’s not a spiritual renewal we need, it’s a lesson in manners and a return to civility that we all need, myself included.
Your Gadfly Granny