Manners

By Dr. Jim Ferguson

The role of grandparents is certainly different than for parents. We have four grandchildren under seven years old and our function is to be supportive of the family and to serve as role models. We also have a fifteen year old grandson, but he is on teenager “autopilot.”

Becky and I grew up in the era of respectfully saying, “Yes Ma’am” and “No Sir” to adults. We’ve been softly emphasizing courtesies with our grandkids, at least when they are at our home. We have adopted ten “Social Manners for Children” which, for example, promote saying thank you, looking people in the eye when greeting them and offering a friendly “Hi” or “Hello.”

Every generation looks back to the “good ole days,” as they remember them. I lament the general coarsening of mannerisms and language of our modern age. Things were different when I was coming up, apparently as they were during Plato’s era. He once lamented that the younger generation has no respect for elders, and is going to the dogs! Today’s “F bombs,” disgusting misogynous gangster raps and “twerking” have become emblematic of degenerative hip culture. Our young ones have yet to encounter this cultural assault, but it is coming. All we can do is stand for what’s right and apply a friend’s rendition of the Golden Rule. He said, “I make the gold, so in my house, I make the rules.”

Apparently, the captain of the American women’s World Cup soccer team never learned proper manners growing up in California and Oregon. I don’t watch soccer, but I cheered for the women’s team as they advanced to and then won the Championship. At least until I heard the captain’s hate filled hissing. Peyton Manning reportedly did not vote for Obama, but had enough class and manners to accept the President’s invitation to honor the Super Bowl champions at the White House. The soccer harpy did not.

One of my observations is that it takes so little to be pleasant. As a southerner, I think manners are important and a sign of social grace. Captain Rapinoe disgraced herself, disparaged the flag and our country and damaged her sport. She will soon return to relative obscurity, unless she gets a Kaepernick-like deal from Nike. Perhaps that was her motive all along.

The Great Russian author of the Gulag Archipelago, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, once wrote that the way to destroy a country is to destroy its history. The assault on America is more than just ill manners and ignorance. America is under assault by politically correct “woke” leftists demanding their revisionist history. The first assault wave was removal of statues and monuments of the historical confederacy. The next wave is to attack all reminders of the past, such as the now considered racist mural in a San Francisco school. Esthetically, the San Francisco school mural is not great art, but spending $600,000 to paint over images of George Washington, Indians and slaves to satisfy political correctness (PC), is not only ridiculous, it is disturbing.

The demand for PC orthodoxy reminds me of other tyrannies which destroyed art (Nazis, Taliban, and ISIS). The point is, the beast will never be satisfied until everyone conforms to what the beast says is correct. It is past time for citizens to say “NO!” to this bullying of the left which also bans books like Huckleberry Finn from school libraries. Even Nancy Pelosi is feeling the heat as AOC now claims the Speaker of the House is a racist. The French writer, Charles Peguy once said, “It will never be known what acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of not looking sufficiently progressive.”

Rodney King once famously asked, “Can’t we all get along?” Perhaps we could if we were able to agree to disagree with civility. I have friends and family members whose politics are different than mine, but we have the common sense and respect to disagree at the ballot box rather than shouting at one another. Of course this is a logical, loving and mannerly way to get along with each other.

During the French Revolution, Maximilian Robespierre wanted to establish a Republic of Virtue driven by reason rather than religion. He even erected an obelisk to reason until the beastly, hate-driven mob turned on him and cut off his head with the guillotine. Pelosi better be careful because AOC has her in the Progressive sights of ideology and “self-righteous” morality. In America it was once said that, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” According to Roger Kimball of The New Criterion the new dictum is, “I disapprove of what you say, therefore you may not say it.”

I thought long and hard about how I might weave a medical perspective amidst the conundrum of mannerly discourse. Politics has always been a brutal sport. If you doubt me, read about the political battles and scurrilous verbiage that flew between Thomas Jefferson’s Democratic Republicans and John Adams’ Federalists in the 1800 presidential election. Admittedly, my passions sometimes run high as I consider the ubiquitous fake news, the endless pandering of political figures and the out-right incivility within the divided states of America.

Bedside manner is important in doctor-patient relationships. Our word civility derives from Latin civilis which defines citizens and their political, public, and private interactions. I will remain civil, though my opinions may be perceived as caustic or irritating to some. Sometimes, the truth hurts. Sometimes distasteful medicine must be taken or at least considered. Fortunately, all have the freedom to read my column or not. You may agree with some things and disagree with other opinions. The First Amendment to the Constitution (Bill of Rights) guarantees citizens the right to speak with civility, challenge the government and even PC groupthink.

These rights are integral to Americanism. I believe the soccer lady and Kaepernick have the right to say what they want, and even make fools of themselves. And I have the right to fly the Betsy Ross flag and boycott Nike products.

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