Outbursts and Hissy-fits

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.

Study Hard

Gee whiz. Call me naive, ignorant, misinformed, or uninformed, but I just cannot understand the hoopla about President Obama’s education speech yesterday. I heard it and felt like saying, “Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you for telling the young people of America that education is important AND that it takes a lot of hard work. “ How can the parents of the nation’s children be opposed to that? Don’t they know that education is the ticket to a better life for their little darlings and that it comes with a price?

From teaching Human Growth and Development, I’ve learned that accountability is BIG today. From reading the newspaper and online sources, I’ve learned that most people think that accountability rests with the teachers and administrators, not with the students. To solve these shortcomings and problems, homeschooling, private schools, charter schools, and all kinds of other options have become available. Are they successful? Not always. Not if the parents don’t get involved with the education of their children. Do they check their homework? Take an interest in their courses? Go to parent/teacher conferences?

Last week I read an article in The State by Dr. Steve Millies, a professor at one of SC’s colleges, and I found myself thinking, “You’re so right!” I could identify with his experiences completely. He sometimes asks his students if they think he should be accountable for making sure that they learn, and they always say yes. He then asks them how many completed the reading for the day’s class, and perhaps two or three hands remain up. What a glaring disconnect between what students expect from their teachers and what they are willing to do on their own!  Folks, I see this attitude in my classes every day.

I agree with Dr. Millies in his assertion that we indeed have a problem with public education in America. I also agree that that the problem doesn’t rest solely with the schools and teachers but also with the parents and students.  Turn off the television set and read a book.  Listen to our president. He knows what he’s talking about

Obama and Warren

One of the neat features of wordpress is the easy access to blogs on topics ranging from love to travel to politics and everything in-between. This morning, in curiosity, I clicked on one that included posts to CNN’s article about Rick Warren giving the prayer at the upcoming presidential inauguration. It seems that all sorts of people are upset by Obama’s choice, especially gay rights groups. I quickly skimmed dozens of the posts and was appalled at the vindictive, spiteful, intolerant attitude of many of the bloggers. Just when I was getting ready to post a little something of my own, I saw that the blog had been closed to further posts…and I could well understand why. When writers are so vile (even vulgar) with their comments, it detracts from the credibility of what they have to say and taints the “aura” of the entire blog.

That said, there are a couple of comments that I just have to make. First, President-Elect Obama is, in my humble, naïve opinion, a man for the people, by the people, and of the people. Several bloggers mentioned that he’s African American. Perhaps so, but he’s also Euro-American…biracial, in fact.  He’s OUR next American president. Fortunately for us, he’s an extremely intelligent man who doesn’t have to rely on the opinions of his detractors.

About the choice of Warren, is there a man (or woman) alive today who would please everyone? Any Christian would probably disturb the Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, and atheists. The fact is that Warren has written one of the best-selling books in the world and is pushing to fight poverty and illiteracy through his PEACE coalition. What have you done? What are you doing to make the world a better place?

One more thing. Aren’t there more pressing problems in the United States to be concerned about? Problems like war, unemployment, a scary financial situation, Seniors’ medical benefits being cut, poverty, and homelessness plague our great country. People are vexed over who’s saying a prayer to the Almighty while gangs roam the streets and people are losing their jobs by the hour????

Bottom line. Obama’s the next president, and it’s his party. Take a chill pill and call me in the morning. Better yet, don’t call. Just chill.

Two Extraordinary Men

Hands down, Kathleen Parker is my favorite columnist…and no, not because she’s a woman but because she has the uncanny ability to say just what I’m thinking in a much better, more eloquent manner. You’ll see why in a moment.

 

At the end of election week, I find myself still thinking of John McCain and what a courageous, tough man of integrity he is. Don’t experience and sacrifice count for something?? Then I think of our president-elect, and as I said in an earlier post, I can clearly see that he has many sterling attributes and that perhaps he is the better person for unifying such a diverse group of people. My heart is sore for McCain, but my spirit is hopeful for Obama and his mission.

 

What does this have to do with Kathleen Parker? In her words: “We arrived at this historic moment through the sacrifices (and blood) of those who preceded us. Barack Obama’s ascendancy is testament to the audacity of the American dream—as well as to the enormous suffering of men such as John McCain.” And then she continues, “Two men of extraordinary talent clashed not in the battlefield of strap-on bombs , but in the civilized arena of ideas.”

 

See. I told you I couldn’t have said it better (or as well).

Our New President

I’ll admit it; I voted for John McCain. I like the guy and everything he stands for. What’s not to like and respect about a man who as a young P.O.W. turned down the opportunity to go home after his captors learned of his identity? To him, it seemed wrong and downright unethical to desert his fellow countrymen who were also being held as prisoners. That’s the kind of man I want in my foxhole, don’t you? Then there are the decades of experience in the Senate in which he was being honed and seasoned to be the leader of the free world. With our country at war, the economy in shambles, the healthcare system in a deplorable shape, I reasoned that his leadership skills were just what the nation needed.

 

However, America has spoken, and over half  feel that Barack Obama is the man for the job. There are several attributes that I admire about him, among them his cool demeanor, his keen intellect, and his evident ability to inspire faith and hope in those who are ready for change. It scares me a bit that he seemed to come out of nowhere and to have SO MUCH MONEY AND POWER compared to others with a longer, steadier track record. And yet, the voters have spoken.

 

Here’s another thought I had as I watched Obama’s family on election night. There they were: a father, a mother, and the children…a nuclear family in an age when the increasingly popular standard seems to be anything but. Perhaps he’ll be just the role model that young men need to encourage them to “step up to the plate” and accept the responsibilities of parenthood. Perhaps Michelle will somehow inspire young women to marry and then have children. No, I’m not bashing single parents. I am saying, however, that anyone reading this who doesn’t think there is some degree of “mother hunger” and “father hunger” hasn’t listened to the children, teens, and yes, even the adults of the U.S.A.

 

McCain valiantly fought the good fight and was gracious and gentlemanly in his election night speech. Perhaps Sarah Palin hurt his cause. Perhaps it was the economy. Maybe it was the legacy of the Clinton/Bush years. Then again, maybe it’s just that he represents the “old school,” and his fellow Americans are desperate for change.

 

Does the president-elect have what it takes to heal the nation’s wounds and forge “unity among diversity?” I hope so. He has my support and my prayers. From the advice he’s being badgered with from his supporters and well-wishers, he’s going to need all of our prayers. I once read that Billy Graham said he supported whoever was president at the time because of his fervent belief that whoever the man was, he was God’s choice for us at that time in history. Sure hope he’s right