Okay, I wasn’t going to jump into the fray, the one about the sense of growing incivility in the United States, but a recent comment from a blogging buddy in Utah has pushed me in. The eyes of the nation are upon us here in South Carolina…and not for the reasons we’d like. Lately we’ve had instances of our elected officials saying and doing embarrassing things. Is it a Southern thing? Is the South racist? That’s what Burl in Utah says many of his acquaintances think.
Where to start? Let’ start at the top with our governor. Not only does he leave the state to fly to South America to visit with his mistress, but he does so without telling anyone where he’s going, not even Jenny. No one. After returning from his trip south, the governor held a press conference in which he rambled pathetically about his woes. Soul mate was used to describe this mysterious Venezuelan beauty, and the lovesick governor said that he was trying to fall back in love with his wife. Huh? Doesn’t he know when to stop talking? I actually thought that maybe we as a state were getting beyond this scandal until watching a short segment on Jay Leno this week in which he and Seinfeld held an entertaining dialogue about Sanford’s behavior.
Fast forward to last week when Joe Wilson yelled, “You lie!” to the President of the United States before both houses of Congress, before the millions of viewers tuned in to hear Obama’s remarks. Appalled at Wilson’s lack of civility, I thought, “Yet another blow to the Palmetto state’s image.” Earlier this week I read an update on the man who threw shoes at President bush. No one said merely, “Tsk tsk.” No. He served prison time in his own country for insulting the leader of another country. According to him, punishment was painful and included electric shock.
Back to Burl’s question about whether the outburst was at least partially motivated by racism. I don’t know. I do know that perhaps an Ivy League white person could be resentful of a black man who is extremely intelligent, erudite, smooth, unruffled, sophisticated, and suave. In fact, as I recall the event, Obama’s cool demeanor was quite a contrast to Wilson’s hot one.
Moving along, I might as well mention Serena Williams and Kanye West. While both of them acted in childish ways, I’m somehow more inclined to overlook Serena’s explosion, probably because it wasn’t typical of her. She was having a bad day, and that’s putting it mildly. Her behavior was unbecoming and as my mother would have pronounced, “uncalled for.” As for Kanye, his deliberate interruption of Taylor Swift’s speech was more than uncalled for. It was extremely rude and bordering on unconscionable.
So at the end of the rambling post, here’s what I think. I think America is the best country in the world to live and work and play and raise children. I also think we’ve forgotten our manners and slipped into serious incivility. We’re so much into freedom of speech and individual rights that we’ve forgotten the golden rule…and the silver one too (don’t do unto others what you wouldn’t want done unto you).
All of the above have apologized for their outbursts, hissy-fits, and behavior. Let’s learn from that and all try to be a little kinder, a little more civil…and to rein in our tempers. Please.
5 thoughts on “Outbursts and Hissy-fits”
Kinda hard when IT’S BEEN RAINING FOR A WEEK 🙂
Amen! People should really just THINK before they talk! Then, there is the portion of society who always THINK they are right and just won’t stop talking… Great post!
Boy this is kind of going to sound bad, but I’m actually kind of glad that South Carolina is getting some bad publicity. Not that I have ANYTHING against South Carolina, but it’s a refreshing change of pace having spent most of my life watching Florida get all the “wacko” awards.
In fact, one television show had a segment called “Germany or Florida?” the idea being that the wackiest stuff happens in either Germany or Florida.
When you’re IN Florida, you don’t notice that your state is getting so much bad press because you figure “that’s the news in Florida”. It wasn’t until I moved to North Carolina that I realized I was STILL hearing about Florida!
Maybe just one more thought to add, but the part of this issue I get frustrated with is the inability for other people to let it go. I was raised that an apology meant something. It was a promise to do better, and once offered, the offender was brought back in to “the fold” so to speak.
Right now, we have constant rehashings and apologizing and re-analyzing and on and on and on. I actually heartily agree with Rep. Joe Wilson’s statement that he was done apologizing, and I wish others would respect that and accept the apology he originally offered at face value.
We’ve allowed ourselves to degenerate into a society that can’t forget past wrongs, doesn’t accept that people can change, and doesn’t allow for personal forgiveness. We’re like spoiled children bitterly fighting amongst ourselves, and no ground can be gained while we do so.
Okay… putting away my soap box….
Interesting question… “Is the South racist?” I was born in Louisiana, raised in Mississippi and have lived on the coast of South Carolina since 1976. I think it would be fare to say that I am about as Southern as a person could get. However, I can’t stand grits or colard greens!
Asking if an entire geographical area is racist makes as much sense as statements such as “everybody does it” or such and such “always happens.”
I think there are racist people in every state in the Union and every country on earth.
It is impossible to determing if Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst was rooted in racism.
As for our esteemed Governor. Governor Sanford, during his lengthy and very public atonement made reference to King David, insinuating that (like him) King David also committed adultry and it is Written that King David is a man after God’s heart. Perhaps Governor Sanford has forgotten the price King David paid for his sins. King David lost all of his children.
Additionally, it is Written that we are to confess our sins “one to another.” Although it is not specifically Written I believe that discretion is at least implied. After all Scripture does not say for us to go on nationally televised news and repeat over and over our sin. In fact one may rightly ascertain that the sort of “confession” Governer Sanford has done did more to defile people than atone for his sin.
Finally, your point about the Golden Rule is well taken. Sadly though, society as a whole seems to have gotten to the point, “If I don’t respond in kind then I will appear weak. If I appear weak I will only receive more of the same. I need to protect myself at all costs.”
Vengence is Mine says the Lord.