Friday, October 28

Civility Lost: Leaders Behaving Badly

2016 has most certainly been the year of outrage. Every time I listen to or try to read the news, I'm slapped in the face by someone's outrage over something. Yes, there has been plenty in the world about which to be outraged. And legitimately so. But now outrage seems to be the kneejerk emotion. It's as though no one bothers to listen or bothers to think through anything. It's as though everyone simply responds through outrage.

Because no one bothers to listen but simply gears up the outrage machine, no one could possibly think through a response. Everything, and I do mean everything seems to be at a heightened emotional response.

Last night I read that some are threatening a revolution if Hillary Clinton is elected president. I read last night and again this morning that the GOP is already threatening lawsuits if Hillary Clinton becomes president--Republicans: No Honeymoon if Clinton Wins. Nice. So mature. So civil. Such a wonderfully grown-up response.

And we wonder why our kids behave the way they do?

We wonder why our kids have such a sense of entitlement? We wonder why our kids expect to get their ways if they pout, scream, kick, and punch enough? Really? We wonder that?

It does not help that so many of the media insist on poking the outrage machine.

It does not help that adults who should be smarter than that take the bait and allow themselves to be outraged, which provides additional fodder for the speculators, which provides additional "reason" for outrage.

Republican Representative Jason Chaffez of Utah said this:
It's a target-rich environment. Even before we get to Day One, we've got two years' worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain't good.
Really? How grown-up. How delightfully civil and mature. How revolting.

So please don't be surprised when your children respond in like manner.

Please don't be surprised when children or young adults (or anyone) watching anyone on either side of the political aisle OR the media starts talking and behaving like this.

Please don't be surprised when kids start having fist fights over the most ridiculous of things because they will no longer be able to identify what's really important from anything else that sparks outrage. Why fist fights? Because they can hear and feel the violence in the words. Because they can see and feel the violence in the facial expressions and the body language.

Because they easily interpret all of this appalling behavior by Democrats and Republicans and media of all channels and political stripes and types to mean this: "If I don't get my way, all bets are off and I can behave any way I want until I get my way."

Am I outraged? Yes. But mostly I'm so very sad that this is what we've become. And I weep for what has become of my country and its "leadership."

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