People politics and protests: The downgrade of decency
© Getty Images

In 2011 the S&P downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time. In their explanation, they said “political brinkmanship” as it pertains to the debt made the government’s ability to manage its finances “less stable, less effective and less predictable.” 

If human decency had a rating, our rating would have taken a nose dive in recent years. We as a society, with our inability to accept differing opinions, have also become less stable, less effective, and less predictable. 

As a mom of two girls I am deeply concerned about the increasingly uncivilized culture being modeled right before my children’s very eyes.  Disrespect, hate, and violence seem to rule the day, and they have become the benchmark of success by the agitators who fuel the fire.

ADVERTISEMENT

The slow decline of civility that I started noticing years ago has now morphed into a troubling and outright ugly picture of the world we now live in. Today, if someone happens to have a world view that differs from our own we don’t see a civil discussion of ideas and solutions. What we see are people screaming obscenities, threatening people’s lives, throwing rocks at cops, destroying businesses, and lighting cars on fire. 

 

The same people who preach tolerance and peace are now preaching hate and violence. 

You don’t like the election results — protest; can’t sway the electoral college to thwart the will of the people — protest; don’t like the man being sworn in as president because he wasn’t your pick — violent protest; don’t like the president’s cabinet picks — protest; don’t like that the president has a daughter who has a business — protest.

Things don’t go your way — protest!

Some may argue that makes for good TV or good fundraising, but it doesn’t make for good people.

I’m having flashbacks to high school. You know, kind of like the fist fight that broke out in the hall because Jimmy got the girl and Johnny didn’t. So breaking Jimmy’s nose in between periods makes it all better.

You used to get suspended for that. Now we applaud it. 

What, if instead of emulating a toddler in the throes of a meltdown because they didn’t get a cookie, we channeled our emotions in a constructive manner and went out and worked for the change we want see.

What if we showed our kids that sometimes you just don’t get the cookie? What if we showed our kids that kindness and respect matter? 

The example we’re setting for our children matters. President Reagan said:“Peace is not absence of conflict, it is the ability to handle conflict by peaceful means.”

Wait, you mean we can peacefully disagree? Quick, someone send a memo out to the professional protesters that they don’t need to light things up to show they don’t agree with something.

Likewise, President Kennedy said: “In a time of domestic crisis, men of goodwill and generosity should be able to unite regardless of party or politics.”

Say what? Not only should we be peaceful, but now we should unite??

Presidents Reagan and Kennedy represented a time where people wanted to do good and do what was right. While they may have disagreed on what “right” is, they wanted to do right more than they wanted to be right.

Some would say this was a different time and things have changed. That’s true, things sure have changed. People have changed. Our country has changed.

And that change certainly isn’t something that should make us proud. It’s not a good look.

My end goal as a mom is to one day release two independent, respectful, contributing members of society into the world. While I’m trying my best to instill in my little people kindness and respect for others, regardless of their world view, society is fighting me every step of the way. 

More and more, grown adults are routinely modeling for my kids that violence and hate are always the answer — in an age where it’s impossible to shield them from ubiquitous, repetitive images of such mayhem. It doesn’t matter what the question is, or if they can even remember the question.  

I am deeply concerned about who my children’s generation will grow up to be. In a world of Madonnas and Mileys, we need more Reagans and Kennedys.

Lauren DeBellis Appell was a press assistant for Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and deputy press secretary for his successful 2000 re-election campaign, as well as assistant communications director for the Senate Republican Policy Committee (2001-2003).


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill