Over the past several years, there seems to have been a coarsening of American thought and behavior. Where civility and graciousness use to be the norm, it seems to have become more acceptable to insult and degrade others that one disagrees with rather than have a respectful debate. While the phrase, “Ugly American” use to be something we could dismiss and laugh at, it may be more applicable than ever in today’s society.
The problem has even infected our current leadership. The tone from our representatives seems to strike more of the stance of a playground bully than it does the respect and esteem that use to mark the demeanor of those whom were chosen to lead the nation by example. Instead, there are daily reports of the insults that are exchanged between congressional members and the executive branch. It is difficult to be seen as strong world leaders when our own discourse has stooped to the level of name-calling and belittling.
Schools are combating a serious bullying problem among students. There have been countless young people who have felt driven to take their own lives rather than endure the endless bullying that hounds them day and night. Once upon a time, if there was a conflict at school the rivals would either fight it out on the schoolyard or simply let the matter drop when the bell rang. Now, unfortunately, with the ever present wonder of social media, there is no escape from the cruelty that is heaped upon so many. If not on Facebook, then one can be bullied through Snap Chat, Instagram and even Twitter. It may be that the safety afforded by a screen and type pad emboldens many in their desire to heap verbal abuse on the target of their choosing.
Indeed, this behavior is mimicked even by the President. Twitter seems to be a favorite social platform for pithy and cutting comments that do not have to be delivered in person where the reaction can be noted for oneself. It may be this distancing that has encouraged the tendency to toss out hurtful or belittling comments. Many seem to start controversy simply to see how many others will like their posts or tweets.
When we fail as a people and as a nation to take into account the weight of the words that we speak and the impact they can have on another, we have lost a part of us that makes us human. While some may claim that their faith or their religion automatically makes them a good person with good intentions, in the end, it is our words and actions that define us. If we fail in the simple act of being decent and kind to each other, then where has our humanity gone? It is a question that maybe all of us should ask ourselves every single day. Does it need to be said? If so, can it be done with kindness and compassion?
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.