When we were young, most of us were taught to mind our manners. Every time we wanted something, our parents gently reminded us to say “please.” If we received something, “thank you” was expected to roll off of our tongues.
As we proceeded through life, it was expected that we would add decorum to our please and thank yous.
However, many Americans seemed to have gotten lost somewhere on the road between please and thank you on the way to decorum.
On Sept. 9, President Barack Obama spoke to Congress regarding the need to renovate health care in the United States.
After telling Congress that the reforms on the health care plan would not apply to illegal immigrants, Congressman Joe Wilson, a Republican from South Carolina, yelled, “You lie!”
The shock on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s face said it all—what has happened to decorum in America?
There’s nothing wrong with having a different opinion; America was built on differing views. But what happened to waiting until the proper forum for such comments?
“No matter who he is or how much we disagree with his policies, the president should be treated with respect,” said former President Jimmy Carter when interviewed by NBC’s “Nightly News.”
Another woefully lost traveler on Civility Road is rapper Kanye West.
At the 2009 Video Music Awards on Sept. 13, country singer Taylor Swift was awarded “Best Female Video.” As Swift started to express her appreciation, Kanye West took the microphone and said, “Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time.”
Again, the shocked look on Swift’s face questioned civility in America.
Fortunately, there are still those who retain some class and decorum.
Later that night, Beyoncé won “Best Video of the Year.” Instead of Beyoncé taking time to bask in the spotlight, she called Swift back on stage to have the moment that was stolen from her.
Decorum isn’t restricted to public outbursts. As college students, we show our professors the “good manners” that our mothers taught us—texting, surfing the Internet, sleeping in class, etc.
When we exhibit these manners, or lack thereof, we are telling professors that what they have to teach us isn’t important. We are exhibiting poor decorum. Students might as well stand in front of the teacher and say, “I’m sorry Brother Warnick, but Brother Bennett had one of the best classes of all time.”
Wake . Put away the phone. Take notes instead of surfing the Internet.
And remember to say please and thank you.