"I miss the America I grew up in."
Came across that the other day. It was a meme on Facebook. Don't usually pay much attention to items like that. But, this caught my attention and hung around in my head.
I think a lot of us with gray hair and a head full of memories of other days can relate. It most recently came to mind as I listened to President Biden's State of the Union speech.
Just when you think the Republican Party has reached the bottom of the barrel, someone takes a saw to the bottom and reaches further down. The catcalls, the booing and shouts of "liar" broke the decorum of the event and exhibited the absurd childishness and boorishness of some GOP members.
I don't care which political party you claim membership in - what political philosophy you espouse. I don't care whether you like or despise the speaker. Moments such as the Biden speech are deserving of the decorum Americans expect. If you can't comply, stay the Hell home.
But, it seems we've entered a time of active crassness and incivility. Such bar room, antisocial behavior has become common - even with people we've elected to high office.
Thinking back to other Speakers of the House of Representatives that served over the last 70 years or so, none has come to that elevated office weaker than Kevin McCarthy.
We will never know exactly what he gave away in the horse trading he conducted during 15 votes of his caucus. The man sits in the chair but without the dignity and clout such office demands. He need not fear Democrat challenges to that authority so much as he needs to be aware of the "Brutus Caucus" of his own Party.
His weak signals to some Republicans to stop disruptions of the President failed. Nothing could have shown the lack of respect and the divisions within the House GOP more clearly.
Civility seems in short supply these days. Respect for institutions and people seems, at times, all but lost in the noise of a vocal minority.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not necessarily longing for the ways things used to be. Times change. Acceptance of change is necessary. As we age we are in a constant state of evolution.
No. I'm talking about simple courtesies expected, regardless of the times. Paying respect to those institutions and people for whom that respect is due. Respect for the office or rank held. In the military, you're taught to salute the rank, not necessarily the individual wearing it. Respect. Tradition.
I'm beginning to make a list of people I really don't want to hear anything more about who consistently fail to show respect - who continually exhibit obnoxious and unacceptable behavior. So far, it's George Santos, Marjorie-Taylor Greene, Trump, McCarthy, Steve Scalise, Krysten Sinema, Andy Biggs and anything Kardashian. I'm still adding. Feel free to make your own list.
In the "American I grew up in" we had similar creatures - people who didn't accept social norms, disrespected authority and who made nuisances of themselves. I recall many of them but none who could come close to the current belligerent crop. In those times, we just shut them out. Isolated them. Shamed them.
Now, we broadcast such loud, nonconforming behavior - we "cut away" from the seriousness of the moment to put their faces on TV screens from coast-to-coast. We follow them as they lay waste to respectability and common courtesy.
Maybe that's why - at our house - the "mute" button on the remote looks a bit worn.