Whatever Happened To Civility?
A very and disappointing thing happened to me this week when I was the subject of some highly personal attacks on another website by a blogger and some commenters who were not simply content just to disagree with my opinions about Ann Coulter after I condemned her comments on ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA by Coulter jokingly encouraging the assassination by terrorists of a major presidential candidate. I thought this Coulter comment was extremely meanspirited and was especially sick, and compares with her other murder or death comments for other public figures that Coulter launches like handgrenades every so often.
I like to excuse the media as having no influence on actual conduct. But maybe I'm wrong. I was subject to highly personal attacks as outrageous as Coulter herself could have penned on one website. Maybe, Coulter and others like her have so coarsened up the airwaves and culture that civility is now on life support. Coulter and others like her have turned street level politics into a professional wrestling tirade of extreme trash talk and a gutter of meaness and venom.
In the real world, senators and congressmen are friendly rivals who wine and dine with other, and party loyalty is not really a big thing. But at the street level, a few highly partisan souls act as though party loyalty is the same as support for a football, basketball or baseball team, and carry this to a fantical extreme. I think this is a sign of sickness. I say get a life.
Government is only a system to determine how schools and streets lights are paid for. But some fanatics develop strange extremist passions where party loyalty is everything, and shouting down your opponent with the worse possible insult is highly valued. Where did all of lack of civility come from? Only a few years ago someone like an Ann Coulter who jokingly encourages terrorists and assassins would be banned from the public airwaves. Comic Jackie Mason was banned from the airwaves for years after a controversy that pales compared to Coulter's remarks. Only recently, radio comic, Don Imus lost his 40 year career over a tacky little racial joke. But Coulter, and others like her, whose humor is much like those who shout fire in a crowded theatre just to get a laugh, only continue to pollute the airwaves. Where did society go so wrong?
Maybe social critics like William Bennett are right. American society has become too coarse and is in a state of decline and America is a dying society while the nations in Asia are booming by comparison. Go on Ann, tell your coarse jokes where no bounds of decency need be respected, and millions learn to imitate your style of nonthinking and rampant insult tossing.