“Oh my goodness! What did that presidential candidate just say? Surely not! Surely someone wanting to lead our nation would exhibit more civility than to shout middle school accusations.” Unfortunately, as the American public braces for new offensive statements, the debates and interviews continue to spiral downward into disgusting lows. As one kindergarten teacher mused, “This election demonstrates behaviors we teach our children to avoid.”
As ordinary citizens, we find it effortless to criticize. Joining the television ruckus turns out to be highly entertaining. For this reason, we share blame for the messy continuation of slurs and slanders. Our challenge demands that we rise above amusement to notice which actions seem unacceptably pompous and which deserve respect as statements of courage. As interesting as the nightly sagas continue to be, this game has become deadly serious. Because the outcome of this campaign determines the future of our country, we must think critically, read widely, and contemplate all claims under the magnifying glass of honesty.
As we remember the importance of this election, we realize how hollow our humor has become. I read a wonderful phrase in William Least Heat-Moon’s book, Blue Highways, which seems to fit this occasion. Our nation is “Hangin’ on the drop edge of yonder.”
The kindergarten teacher hit the nail precisely on the head. Apparently many of our presidential candidates missed the kindergarten lesson on getting along and speaking courteously. Bless our candidate’s hearts; they need for the adults in the country to demonstrate how to communicate and how to forgive their own objectionable behaviors as well as the words and actions of others. I just hope a few adult leaders still exist to model honest and chivalrous debate!