Whatever happened to good manners?
February 1, 2017 | View PDF
“We just ain't got no couth no more.”
Those of us who are stumbling into our Golden Years, and are watching national events on television are frequently reminded of two behaviors we learned in our youth; two behaviors that we seldom witness any more. These are manners and decorum. We grew up being constantly reminded of our manners, and frequently punished should we stray from either.
We were constantly being reminded of our manners by our elders, and straying from the principle of manners would frequently result in a good tanning.
The principle of manners varies among social classes, but the basic rules concern our ways of living and our respect for others.
Decorum can best be defined as the way of behaving as a member of polite society.
Now, apply these two definitions with what we've observed during the recent presidential election battles we've witnessed, and most seniors find themselves asking: What happened?
We recall our youth and frequent tanning that followed straying from either or both.
We learned to address our seniors as sir or ma'am, whichever was appropriate.
Speaking when spoken to was another rule, that most of us remember being punished for should we fail to adhere to this conduct guide.
After watching the primary and presidential elections many of us in the senior category find ourselves scratching our heads and wondering: What happened to manners and decorum?
Watching the television presentations with respect to the presidential elections, and to the hearings that have taken place in their wake. Speaking when spoken to, speaking in a modulated voice, being respectful of those to whom we speak, using proper English when addressing others, and the list of courtesy and proper language usage infractions goes on.
Have we no Shame?
Do Americans know the definition of manners?
Did their elders not bring them up properly?
Has our society sunk to such a pitiful low as to rendered us ashamed to admit that we're Americans?
One would hope not; but recent events suggest pride in being an American has suffered a new low.
Perhaps one of President-elect Trump's first chores should be to teach Americans some manners and decorum.
President Barack Obama must have been extremely uncomfortable the evening of January 12, giving his State of the Union Address while his trousers were ablaze.
On the 10th of January, Americans, and any of the rest of the world who may have cared, were introduced to a monument of incongruity.
It should have been obvious to the average TV or radio listener, that Pres. Barack Obama was reading from text prepared by someone else.
To try to match the words spoken by Pres. Obama, and the reality of his two terms as President of the United States one would be left with the feeling that the two had absolutely nothing in common.
It was an uplifting speech, but it had nothing to do with Mr. Obama's last two terms as President of the United States.
Practically everything Mr. Obama said required a stretch of one's imagination. If anything, he has dragged this nation down inch by inch during his fantasy terms as President of the United States. Looking back to his election many Americans remember wincing at Mr. Obama's apology tour of the world after his inauguration.
We remember agonizing at the sight of our President bowing and scraping before foreign dictators and potentates. We were thunderstruck at the sight of the supposed leader of our nation genuflecting before people the average American would have turned his or her back on should he or she have met them on the street. We were shamed before the world.
Americans should tip their hat to the person, or persons, who wrote the fantasy speech; their salary was well earned.
But to imagine that Mr. Obama could have had a part in the writing of this charade challenges credulity. Granted, it was well written, but when this text is distributed to libraries around the world it should honestly be filed in the fiction section, for it had no relation to the reality of his last eight years as our president. At the end of his two terms in office, Mr. Obama has left the nation he was elected to run virtually in a state of ruin and monumentally in debt.
This was the worst eight years in American history.
Mr. Trump has his work cut out for him, considering the badgering from the sore losers that he will have to endure during the next four, or many may hope, eight years. This has not been a page in our history for which Americans may be proud. But, thankfully, it's over.
The Scout Oath
Two historical events occurred in the year 1941: Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and your writer joined the Boy Scouts of America.
The country has undergone many historical changes since that time, the majority of them negative, but the Scout Law has remained the same since it was written in 1908 by Baron Robert Baden-Powell, the creator of this worldwide youth movement. But the United States of America has undergone some significant, but also disappointing changes, as evidenced by the various campaigns for the U.S. presidency—especially the one we recently witnessed.
Scouts lived their young lives with a pledge to be TRUSTWORTHY. This meant that they told the truth. A Scout kept his promises. He was dependable. By the time many scouts attained voting age this trait has been blurred considerably; probably going back 40-some years ago and the Watergate era, when disgracing the office of the Presidency came into vogue. A Scout also pledged to be LOYAL; Loyal to his family; his friends, and his nation. At the rate we're going the word loyal may soon be expunged from our dictionaries.
A Scout pledged also to be helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, cheerful and thrifty.; worthy traits, indeed.
And, he also pledged to be obedient. This worked well for young scouts, but once they became of voting age, the trait of obedience began to blur.
The pledge to be brave still has some credibility; look at many of our young men who choose to wear the various uniforms of their country; men and women who have pledged to defend and assist their fellow men--and women, often at the risk of their own lives.
Clean of mind and body has taken a negative hit over the last few years, and reverent has really taken some hits over the last quarter century or so.
Learning and reciting the Scout Pledge was a significant highlight of this aging writer's life, but today one has cause to wonder:
Where are the Scouts when you need them?