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.

Please Governor Sanford

I feel like a fish out of water. Only blogging a couple of times in the past three weeks has left me wondering where to start and what to say. The end of November and the entire month of December were incredibly busy weeks, and I have so much “material” that I’m having a bit of a dilemma deciding where to start. Hmm. Think I’ll start with today and work backwards.

Today, the primary thing on my mind is Governor Sanford’s decision not to borrow the money needed to provide benefits for the 77,000 laid-off south Carolinians. The money is there, and the feds are willing and ready to lend it, but the governor says NO WAY until the SC Employment commission agrees to provide him with information about how it administers benefits and then submit to a review by the Legislative Audit Council.

There’s nothing I can say here that hasn’t already been said by those far more eloquent than I. Check out today’s The State and read the editorial on page A6. Yes, I know that there are those who misuse funds and those who are able-bodied who do not work.  Still, what I keep thinking about is how easy it is to “play chicken” with unemployed South Carolinians when you live in the big house on the hill and NEVER have to worry about paying the mortgage, keeping the electricity on, buying groceries, taking your child to a doctor, putting gas in your car, and so forth.  Neither, in fact, do the legislators; even after these “esteemed” individuals leave Columbia, they’ll continue receiving stipends, most of them more grand than the average working Joe or Jane.

Please, Governor Sanford, request the money. A cold, hungry, sick child needs milk and medicine.