July 14, 2010

Settling for Second

Have you noticed that “common courtesy” is no longer common in our national discourse?  Whatever happened to men standing when a lady enters the room?  Or saying “please” and “thank you” or “pardon me.”

“Well, what hole in the Dark Ages did I have the audacity to crawl out of and ask dog-eared questions like those?”

Today’s drooling grandpas recall offering ladies their seats on a crowded bus.  And gasp (!), opening doors for women.  And tipping their hats when approaching a lady.

Why have we traded a kinder, gentler civility for a coarser lack of shame?  Do we just blame it all on The Simpsons, on latchkey kids, on the disappearance of discipline in the classroom, on the reluctance of the nation’s thought leaders to avoid mentioning God and saying prayers in the public square?

Can we return to a time of more courteous conversation?  Should we?  Or are we destined to keep elbowing our way through this “new normal?”

If only we could practice “the second greatest commandment.”  Remember it?  “… and love your neighbor as you love yourself.”  Whose idea was that anyway?

Somebody’s drooling grandpa, no doubt.