Did our newly-elected North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance actually say that?
Did a two-term state Senator really say what was reported?
Indeed they did.
In fact, they did not just say it, they posted it on social media for all the world to see and where it will never, ever go away.
And what exactly did they say?
Following the recent women’s marches across our nation and the world involving millions, Commissioner Mike Causey posted this on Facebook. “In one day, Trump got more fat women out marching than Michelle Obama did in 8 years.” The Commissioner compounded his insult by linking it to his Twitter account to distribute even more broadly. Shortly thereafter Senator Joyce Krawiec of Forsyth County tweeted, “Message to crazies @ Women’s March — If brains were lard, you couldn’t grease a small skillet. You know who you are.”
In fairness, both offenders have apologized, repeatedly and profusely in Krawiec’s case. Said Causey about his comment on people exercising their Constitutional rights, it “was a momentary lapse in judgment for which I am truly sorry.” Then he deleted the offending comment, from social media but not from people’s minds.
Krawiec seems even sorrier. Tweeted she within a brief 45-minute window, “BTW I was speaking only of those DC protesters dressed inappropriately and spewing foul language. Disrespecting women. Not representing women.” Within a minute came this. “I applaud those women who were there for the cause and were respectful. They know who they are.” Thirty minutes later came this. “I apologize to those women who marched for the right reasons. I was only talking about those I described. They didn’t speak for all women.” Six minutes later came a final wail. “I apologize. I apologize. I was only talking to those who acted inappropriately. Forgive me. Please. Twitter Lesson learned.”
Recovering a shred of dignity, Krawiec issued a statement later the same day, saying, “Like many other Americans, I was deeply offended by vulgar language and graphic imagery used by some protesters. I have apologized for the words I used to express those frustrations, which were unfair to the many women who advocated for their beliefs in a respectful way.”
Thanks, Commissioner and Senator, but that toothpaste is out of the tube forever.
How on God’s green Earth did we get to the point of our highest elected officials charged with making decisions that affect all of us feeling free to insult us? Whatever happened to respecting the constitutional rights of others, even when we disagree with what they are saying? Is civility in our culture dead, buried and forgotten?
Truth be told, I, too, was offended by some of the signage and language at some of the marches. I am of a generation taught to “watch our language,” another concept that seems to be going by the wayside. But it never occurred to me to call protesters fat or stupid, even though I was uncomfortable with the ways some chose to express their constitutionally guaranteed opinions.
Part of this is surely the advent of social media. Unlike sitting down to write a letter — or a newspaper column, for that matter — typing a few words into a cell phone and hitting “send” can happen in a flash and with little thought, as Causey and Krawiec and zillions of other have learned the hard way. The painful truth is that while apologies can take away some of the sting, once words have been uttered, they will never really go away.
Steve Shallenberger, author of the bestseller, Becoming Your Best: The 12 Principles of Highly Successful Leaders, addressed incivility in our politics, business, and ordinary life this way. “Replacing rudeness and impatience with the Golden Rule may not change the world, but it will change your world and your relationships.” Shallenberger is telling us exactly what our mothers and grandmothers told us. Courtesy and kindness are never the wrong positions to take.
Some might argue and it is certainly true that rude people enjoy the same constitutional protections the rest of us do. My mother and grandmother told me something else that is also true. Rudeness, incivility, and unkindness say more about the people dishing them out than the people on the receiving end.
That message is not flattering.