They keep saying how ugly the upcoming presidential election campaign is going to be.
Why do so many accept this premise? Believe me, I know first-hand exactly how bad it got in 2008. But don't they see the potential for a self-fulfilling prophecy?
Perhaps they were disheartenend by how short-lived the truce was, which President Obama called for after the shooting in Tucson, AZ. Both sides point fingers at who ended the "new era of civility" before it really started. Seems to me that everyone is guilty of letting it continue.
So how do we counter these senseless acts of unkindness? I believe that, like charity, civility begins at home. Parents need to "teach their children well" that they should mind their manners in the political arena as well.
This is all too real in our house. While there is no love lost for the current man in the White House around here, we have instructed our children that they are to refer to him as President Obama. This has proven to be a challenge to our sixteen-year-old. Her obvious animosity may have taken root when she -- like so may others -- was called a racist simply for stating her support for John McCain in 2008.
Despite our guidelines, I know that she will slip up occasionally. And I also know that she is a part of a generation that feels an unreal sense of anonymity in social media that allows them to be extra rude, thinking it's "funny." But we monitor her accounts, and she has been prompted to delete posts that are disrespectful to anyone.
Now perhaps a college student is too old for such supervision. But I would hope that I will have taught my children better than the young woman who tweeted a rude comment about Sen. Sam Brownback at a Youth in Government program. She tried to portray it as a freedom of speech issue and refused to write the apology her school was demanding.
Like too many policians these days, Sen. Brownback conceded to a lack of decorum.
Of course she had a right to say it. And the school should not have required an apology to be sent. But when something gets back to someone -- even if it was only intended for your friends, and it was only a "joke" -- a truly conscientious person would know that some kind of redress was called for. I know I would tell my children it's the right thing to do.
But instead, this young girl stood her ground, supported by her mom who said she raised her kids to be "independent, free thinkers." And then Sen. Brownback backed down from expecting an apology, and instead apologized to her(!).
Ahmir Thompson -- obviously a friend of #44 -- thought it was "tongue in cheek" to play "Lyin' A-- B----" when Michele Bachmann appeared on a latenight show. This is the attitude we must direct our children to reject.
So as long as being a free thinker is more important than being a decent human being -- especially by those who support the man who called for that new era of civility in the first place -- this will be an uphill battle that Sisyphus would not have preferred.
As for me and my house -- we will choose the path of propriety.