Improve the World with Class and Civility

For being such a smart lady, Ann Coulter sure says and does some dumb things. Her latest big-mouthed idiocy, essentially calling Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards a faggot, was simply uncalled for. Worse, it adds to a growing coarseness and recklessness in our public discourse that serves no one. Coulter is no dummy. She’s an attorney, author, and frequent TV guest who was named one of the Top 100 Public Intellectuals in 2001. I wish she’d act like one.

This is not about politics. It’s about a lack of civility and adult behavior that sets an example quite opposite of what we’d have our kids emulate.

We wring our hands over the growing disrespect and penchant for violence displayed by kids at younger and younger ages. But when we see and hear “adults” demonstrating crude disrespect and attacking one another like screaming half-wits with no restraint and no attempt at dignity or truth, you have to wonder how kids have a chance to grow up to be anything but loud-mouthed creeps.

It takes no intelligence or imagination to spew foul language or act out in ways that most people would consider juvenile. But wait. Has our definition of juvenile behavior changed? Have we become immune to speech and behavior that used to shock or cause embarrassment or dismay? Has it become cool to be an idiot?

Sadly, the answer appears to be yes. Outrageous behavior draws attention. Blame a proliferation of media that are in constant need of provocative content. Blame the music industry for celebrating brutality set to percussion. Blame the movie and gaming industries for producing ever more violent and sexually disrespectful material. Blame prime time TV for celebrating crude and cavalier attitudes toward just about everything.

Blame any industry you want. They’re all run by “adults.” Kids mimic what they see and hear. I wish big people could re-learn some self-control. I wish they’d teach the value of thoughtfulness and intelligence in dealing with one another by practicing decency in the way they behave.

Ann Coulter is but one of many popular icons today who make a living by being outrageous and provocative. Our young people need other visible role models who can demonstrate that power and success are every bit as available to people who practice courtesy and respect while making their point of view known.

For our kids’ sake, people, let’s have some class.

Categories: General Advice

About Susan Marshall

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Susan A. Marshall is author, speaker and founder, whose mission is to create a stronger, more confident future, one person or team at a time.  Through personal experience and hands-on work with executives from diverse industries at all levels, Susan has had the privilege of helping thousands of people do the difficult and exhilarating work of growth.