Wednesday, January 20, 2021


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Unity Requires Good Manners

The fact is, that in America, people are allowed to hold any views they like. That means that a lot of people disagree with each other on a lot of issues. It used to be that we all (or nearly all) shared the Judeo-Christian value set and that could be our unifying force. We no longer have that. So what are we left with? 

Manners. We need to rediscover good manners. 

Don't call people names - either in person or on line. Consider that there may be other factors involved when someone is rude to you and think before responding. Be kind. 

Also, don't assume that keyboard warrior on the other end of that childish insult is an adult. This brave, new world of ours gives our children and teens far more access to adult conversations than they have ever had before. Not only that, but through that access, they are given far more influence over things that they ought not than ever before.  It may also mean that they really do not know why communism is bad or why they should be polite.  
Children tend to think that the world should be fair and may become incensed when told that it isn't. A child thinks that it is the government's place to make people behave the way they think people should behave rather than thinking that people need to be in control of themselves. 
They have no idea why business is a blessing to a community and may think that the government actually can and should take from the rich and give to the poor without regard to the real life psychological and economic consequences of such policies. 
They also may not have the kind of self control we expect and require from adults. Since we do not know, we tend to assume that we are speaking with other adults. The effect this has had on our national conversations may be far greater than we are aware.  

The internet has created a world where people can make wonderful connections with people they otherwise would not have known. But it also provides the opportunity to let our worst impulses have free rein in a climate of relative anonymity. Or at least it feels like one may behave badly and no one will ever know it was you. (This is clearly incorrect, as we see daily when some poor soul has caught the eye/ear of the cancel culture mobs.) 

 No, someone should not be fired from their job because they hold views that the current culture(with an emphasis on current - because these things change) finds abhorrent. 

No, you shouldn't engage in personal attacks and name calling with some stranger on your social media of choice just because they disagree with your dearly held beliefs. We are all entitled to our dearly held beliefs and being insulted and called names is not likely to engender a thoughtful discussion on why those beliefs may be in error. The term for that practice - name calling and insulting people in the hope that they will bow under the pressure of being insulted is bullying. It's rude and it stifles the very conversations we need to be having.

And finally:

No, mobs should not gather outside of the houses of legislators or the halls of government demanding that they do as the mob wishes. That's not good government, that's mob rule.  (Although one could certainly argue that democracy, in it's purest form IS mob rule, that is not how this nation was intended to function.) The United States is a constitutional republic.(At least that is what it was founded to be. The CIA World Factbook under Mr. Obama labelled it a federal presidential republic. Under Mr. Trump is was restored to a constitutional federal republic. One wonders how it will be labelled under Mr. Biden.) It is participatory but that participation is supposed to be through the legislative process. You contact your legislator and share your opinions - politely- and whether or not you favor a piece of current legislation before them. And then you trust them to vote in the way that they think best maintains the republic - in the case of federal level legislators - or best reflects the wishes of the citizens - in the case of state level legislators.

This is for those cases where the Constitution actually gives them the leeway to legislate. Because the Constitution is supposed to be a list of limitations on the federal government. State constitutions are a little bit different, but in general are supposed to provide the framework to legislators as to how the people of the state wish to be governed. If you have a legislator that does not abide by the wishes of the citizens, then the process may be to recall the legislator and replace them or to vote them out of office in the next election cycle. That is appropriate. Going to their homes or offices as part of a mob is not and it is also threatening and rude. 

Spamming their social media with insults and personal attacks is also, not conducive to good government. One doesn't abuse one's employees.  

One should also remember that nobody is perfect and be forgiving of the occasional lapse. This author has, on occasion, made some tart remarks on the social media of some legislators, so mea culpa and rest assured that there will be an effort made to refrain in the future.  

 Since what we have left in any attempt to unify this nation is manners, (If such a thing may be accomplished outside of a wholesale Christian revival - which this author tends to doubt) perhaps this might be a helpful starting point to those actually seeking unity rather than attempting to inflame people into rude and/or illegal behavior.

 "1 When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee:
2 And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.
3 Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat." ~ Proverbs 23