When did respect become uncool?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, December 3, 2005

Living in an age of in-your-face TV commercials and programs, many Americans have become accustomed to seeing belligerency at every turn. On the &uot;Reality&uot; shows contestants don’t try to best their competitors against a pre arranged standard, but they plot ways to undermine them or form alliances that cooperate in voting against other contestants and forcing them off the show..

Radio talk shows that claim to be providing news often give just one side of the story, demonizing those who don’t agree with the host. Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Neal Boortz, Michael Savage, and others refer to anyone who disagrees with their point of view as &uot;pin heads&uot;, &uot;Kool-Aid drinkers&uot;, or just &uot;liberals&uot;.

On the other side, the left sees anyone on the right as a &uot;Crazy Conservative&uot;, &uot;Christian conservative&uot;, &uot;fascist&uot;, &uot;heartless&uot; or a &uot;pawn of Big Business&uot;.

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TV commercials for both politicians and products often blast the competition rather than praise the person or product. Professional football, hockey, and basketball players often aim to wound the opposition to get them out of the game. Driving a car has become a battle that can end with an obscene gesture or even a wreck or a bullet.

Children learn many of their attitudes and habits from their parents; the rest from their peers. Unfortunately, today many moms and dads don’t discipline their children in an effective way. In addition they think that if the child does something to get in trouble at school it must be the teacher’s fault, so they rush to the school and blame the staff, not their child. What can the children learn other than &uot;I’m always right&uot;.

Dress and speech have become so casual that we don’t express respect for other people in either one. It as if we all say &uot;Here I am – take it or leave it&uot;.

Is it a better world this way? Has respect really vanished from America?

Gene Denison