I am lifting this entire post from my friend Heather’s blog. It is well worth the three minutes it takes to read it. If you are encouraged by the article, leave Heather a note so she can pass it along to Mr. VanBemmel. While you’re there check out her amazing photography for a real treat.
This afternoon, after we got home from school, I was reading through the weekly newsletter that our Headmaster, Jason VanBemmel, sends out. There is a section in there titled “Speaking From My Heart”. I thought this was so well said, that I just wanted to share it here.
The Loss of Respect and Consideration
So the House of Representatives failed to pass a tough piece of legislation to rescue banks and investment companies from bankruptcy over our bad debt. Without getting into the pros and cons of the political debate, I want to comment on the nature of the discussion surrounding this process.
What I noticed in all of this activity was something very indicative of the sad state of affairs in our country. The media referred to President Bush as “the lamest of lame ducks” and said “It would almost be better if he weren’t there.” I heard other commentators say, “No one takes him seriously when he speaks anymore.” Now whether you agree or disagree with the President’s proposal, one thing should be clear: When the President of the United States speaks and offers a solution to such a huge economic crisis, he should be taken seriously. To have a sitting president who is so disregarded and disrespected is as serious a crisis for our nation as the economic crisis.
The media have fueled this disrespect toward the President. They have relentlessly criticized and undermined the President for almost eight years, dropping the respect and decorum typically offered to the office of the presidency. News anchors and reporters have repeatedly referred to him as simply “Bush” or “George Bush,” and not “the President” or even “President Bush.” This is an unprecedented level of casual disregard for the leader of the free world and for the office he holds.
And so is it any wonder that politics has become so divisive and so poisonous? In this as in other areas, politics is merely a reflection of the health of our society, a barometer of the condition of our cultural soul. We have created for ourselves a disrespectful and inconsiderate culture. We are so casual and so flippant in our conversation and our conduct, that only one word adequately describes us: rude!
Rudeness comes from casual disrespect, which comes from a callous selfishness. It is an attitude that disregards the honor due to others and cares only about itself. Our society is infected with disrespect and rudeness at all levels, and it is getting worse, accelerated by the Internet and our 24-hour-a-day news channels with the talking heads who must out-do one another in rudeness to get ratings. Whether its Chris Matthews or Keith Olbermann on the left or Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly on the right, these guys are rude, selfish, disrespectful and arrogant.
But if you read the comments people post connected to any issue online, you will see why these men are so rude. If you’ve seen the way children speak to their parents in the grocery store or the mall, you’ll see it even more clearly. If you watch Spongebob Squarepants or the other popular media our children’s brains are fed regularly, you’ll see the same reality. Our culture is rude. To be successful in a rude culture, you must be ruder and more disrespectful than the next guy.
People say they want more positive politics, but political reality simply mirrors cultural norms. We will not have more respectful politics until we have a more respectful culture. We will not have a more respectful culture until we have more respectful homes, families, schools and churches. So, what about your home? How do you speak about others, especially those in authority, in front of your children? Are you cultivating an attitude of disrespect? How do you allow your children to speak to you or to others? Do you model, teach, correct and train your children to be polite and respectful? What do you allow your children to watch and imitate? There’s no other path to a respectful society, but for us to start forging it, one home at a time.