|Manners…………… by ric justiss
There was a time when good manners were
commonplace. Young adults answered with the
customary "Yes, ma'am" and "No, sir,"
gentlemen tipped their hats and neighbors
banded together to welcome new families.
We were gracious in conduct and courteous in
demeanor, contributing a thread of gentility to
our surroundings. Sadly, I had to watch old episodes of Leave It to Beaver to
come across manners like that. Welcome to 2006.
We are different today—an era of fast cars, fast food, fast computers and
dwindling tolerance. Civility seems doomed to extinction. It should have its own
glass case alongside Archie Bunker's chair in the Smithsonian National Museum
of American History.
Rudeness is a problem.
We have become a people where blatant disrespect is everyday: a surly bunch
of unchaperoned schoolchildren with full reign of the classroom.
Take our behavior behind the wheel, for example. Remember the days when a
car ride was a pleasant event? Neither do I. Our daily commute can be as
treacherous as the Indianapolis 500.
And God help us if traffic is at a standstill. The language is fouler than the fumes
in the air.
Rudeness has many faces.
Lack of manners for Americans is not whether you confuse the salad fork for the
dinner fork. It's about the daily assault of selfishness—inconsiderate behavior.
Rudeness can be found in high schools where fierce competitiveness
dominates the popularity game and in the workplace where the "kill or be killed"
philosophy, once the underbelly of ambition, is now the standard.
Insolence is like a cancer. Simply put, it is a question of sides.
Some favor a well-mannered society and will stifle their rudeness.
The others are the conspirators in the quickening demise of civility and respect.
Aug. 6, 2006