Much has been said and written about the nastiness that marked the entire presidential campaign.
Websites all across America the past week or two counseled readers on how to avoid major meltdowns at the family Thanksgiving dinner. Whether or not the advice worked is hard to tell. We do know the holiday wasn’t harmonious in many places. A few examples from the New York Times:
Matthew Horn, a software engineer from Boulder, Colo., canceled Christmas plans with his family in Texas. Nancy Sundin, a social worker in Spokane, Wash., has called off Thanksgiving with her mother and brother. Ruth Dorancy, a software designer in Chicago, decided to move her wedding so that her fiancé’s grandmother and aunt, strong Trump supporters from Florida, could not attend.
Ugly. And extremely unfortunate.
My family was blessed, again this Thanksgiving. Not a single sour note. Just warm and friendly togetherness. Ozzie and Harriet would have been proud.
For almost two weeks prior to the election we vacationed down at a certain popular tourist destination in Florida. There was absolutely no sign of hostile discourse. None.
I did run across an older woman in one of the parks who was wearing a shirt I just had to compliment. It wasn’t fancy by means, with just one word printed:
My wife, daughter, and I had a marvelous time in “The Happiest Place on Earth” with memories that will last a lifetime. However even at such a magical spot there were enough reminders that America has reached the worst level of rudeness. Politeness seems to have gone on holiday. And it’s not solely a matter of politics.
On our Disney vacation it was disturbing to see so many that pushed and shoved their way in front of others.
People not holding doors.
Refusing to move to the back of the bus so others could get on.
Neglecting to say “please” and “thank you.”
Customary manners too often were left back home.
A very young couple on a packed bus, standing right behind the driver, sipped beer from cans the entire ride. When I politely asked the driver on my way out when it was ok to do so at Disney he responded he didn’t see anything.
And while I readily admit Jennifer and I are not perfect parents, we draw the line at letting our child do basically whatever she wants.
One young girl was doing wheelies with her stroller and nearly collided into other passersby. Her mother was oblivious. Many kids crawled up and onto spaces they surely should not have, most importantly for safety reasons. Mom and dad merely laughed.
Disney workers, known for their hospitality, seem to have slipped. Would it kill them to smile, or at least respond when someone says “Good Morning” or “Hello?”
If you haven’t been to Disney World in awhile know that security at the entrance to the parks has multiplied and become more strict. You’d think the Magic Kingdom was the White House.
On four occasions I was stopped by security on my way through the NO BAGS line to be wanded. When I said I wanted to take my belt off one of the security guys chuckled and informed I didn’t have to.
Out of the woodwork appeared another genius member of the security force.
“It’s your belt.”
I tried to be nice but I couldn’t resist.
“I told you guys I was wearing a belt.”
Then came the perfunctory, “You have a nice day, sir.”
I had the privilege of sitting on one bus ride next to a Korean War Veteran. He used a cane because he told me “I can’t walk.” When I suggested he use the opportunity to, like guests with wheelchairs, get on the bus before anyone else to ensure a seat he scoffed, saying he didn’t want to feel helpless.
Have you guessed where this is going? Yes, the neanderthal Disney security jumped all over this gentleman.
And I must tell you about my encounter with the TSA.
On our way through the checkpoints at the airport I was fumbling to find our boarding passes. So I let some people go ahead during the very short time it took for me to locate the documents.
There were two lines waiting to show Mr. TSA their materials and I apparently moved up when I shouldn’t have.
“Now wait, are you with them?” he was pointing to travelers in the next line.
No, but I was next, I explained because I had others pass me by while I made sure I had everything in order.
“WHY DID YOU DO THAT?” he bellowed. I was quick with my answer.
“I was being courteous.”
I’ll give MR. TSA this. He didn’t grunt, and he wasn’t sarcastic. However he did look at me as though I had just come off a flying saucer.
Being courteous? Sadly, the idea has become foreign in late 2016.
This huge blemish on our society didn’t pop up overnight. The social black eye has been festering for decades.
In the past I’ve linked to an article US News & World Report published in the mid-1990’s that clearly demonstrates incivility has crept like a cancer into all ways of our life. This problem goes beyond politics.
Our far less than exemplary behavior has gotten worse, and it appears will not get better anytime soon.