Monday, May 21, 2007

Abandoning our Post?

I have forgotton who said that etiquette was really about consideration for others. The "rules" exist so that we, as a society, can stand to live together. In fact, we consider a person who obeys the norms of behavior to be civil. It follows then, that while an intentional breach of etiquette may be intended as a slight, the real effect is to show the uncivility of the breacher.

Former President Carter has long ignored the unwritten point of etiquette that helps to maintain the respect of the office of the President. Most recently he has claimed that the current Bush administration is the worst in the history of the republic. Leaving aside his own glass-house administration for the moment, the open attack did not hurt so much Carter's intended target, but instead served to make the United States look like a third world country. Instead of lending his celebrity to add weight to his views, he has diminished his stature, and that of his country. The constitution affords Mr. Carter the right to say anything he wants, but the unwritten laws of etiquette and good sense dictate that he keep his own trap shut, for his own good and for the good of the country. I am sure there are those among the 300 million Americans who could pick up his slack.

A while back, the civilized world recoiled in horror when a bootleg tape of Saddam Hussein's execution was released. The execution was punctuated by cat calls and celebration. Not that the guy didn't deserve it, but it reflected poorly on those doing the cat calls etc. At the end of the day, Saddam ended up just as dead as he would have given a proper execution. The parties most hurt by that day's antics were the government of Iraq and the partisans doing the shouting.

In the same vein, the breach of etiquette committed by those maligning the Rev.Jerry Falwell did their own reputations more disservice than damage to Mr. Falwell. What his detractors did was nothing short of dancing on his grave, which is always disgusting.

Death is a solemn occasion, even if it is the death of a horrible person. This rule is not so much for the sake of deceased as it is for the attendants. Reverence for human life, even a human life gone bad, keeps us from losing respect for life in general. We have all seen the damage resulting from the loss of respect for life, damage that can be measured in deaths from abortion and euthanasia.

What would Emily Post say?

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BTW, I would be a fool to be pitied if I did not wish Laurence Tureaud
a happy birthday.

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1 Comments:

Blogger CMinor said...

It was Judith Martin, a.k.a. Washington Post etiquette columnist "Miss Manners." Though I'm sure the sentiment had often been expressed privately by others before.

9:13 PM  

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