02 pub penI’m surprised there has not been a TV network created just to accommodate what seems to be an overwhelming proliferation of incivility in America. There are literally dozens of networks that create programing about topics of every kind. There are programs about food, yoga, weird science, smoothies, exercise equipment, cars, trucks and gardening. I could go on, but you get my point. This being the case, it seems reasonable to have a network that could house channels that find companies willing to sponsor shows that disseminate insults, accusations and indictments with such authority that no one dares challenge the content for fear of retribution.

Watching TV, especially the news and news-related shows, is like viewing the world after it became infected with a terrible virus.

More and more, we seem to be subjected to behavior and media sound bites that are uncharacteristically and unjustifiably cruel, negative and combative. For the life of me, I cannot identify when decent, God-fearing Americans became so insensitive to and intolerant of each other’s rights, feelings and opinions. When did respect, courtesy, manners and politeness go out of fashion in America? When did logic, common sense and the art of compromise fall by the wayside along with respectable conversation and thoughtful debate?

I guess a more critical question should be: How can we get it back?

I refuse to think that this is not possible, even though we are subjected to senseless and hateful behavior daily.

To my point, set aside for one moment your religion, race and personal political convictions. None of these things will matter if the America we live in, the nation that grants and allows us to enjoy those “unalienable rights,” collapses under the weight of ignorance, unbridled greed and crazy ideological self-aggrandizement.

And, that’s all happening right now across this country. Imagine America, no, better yet, imagine Fayetteville without a police or sheriff’s department. With no EMS or fire department. Imagine a Fayetteville totally void of law enforcement and first responders. Imagine a Fayetteville where no one had to work to earn a living but had unrestricted access to other people’s possessions and personal property.

With no law enforcement, there would be no jail or justice system. No laws. No rules. What would remain? A community of chaos overrun with criminals, murderers, rapists, child molesters and drug dealers – all having unrestrained access to everything you hold near and dear. I’m not talking about money, personal possessions, land or buildings. I’m referring to those constitutionally protected unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those are the things that really matter, not red states, blue states, votes, money or power. Hate speak, intolerance and bad behavior are no different or more acceptable today than the refusing of four young black protesters at a lunch counter at a Greensboro, North Carolina, Woolworth store in 1960. Do we as Americans really want to go back there? I think not.

So, what’s the solution?

I have no idea.

But, I do know this: We all would be better off remembering and practicing the golden rule. As a noun, it means “a principle implemented or followed to assure success.” Biblically, it has a more relevant meaning. It’s the willingness to love thy neighbor as thy self. We are all faced with injustices, injuries, disappointments, betrayals and frustrations. Handling these situations and loving those who we believe to be the source of the anguish may be the first step back to civility. We need to have patience and take the high road when facing adversity. We must harness our anger and need for retaliation. The golden rule would remind us to be tolerant and to seek peaceful solutions to problems. Ever since we were children, we have been told to follow the golden rule. Well, today that advice is as relevant as it ever was. Probably even more so. God bless America!

Thank you for reading the Up & Coming Weekly.


PHOTO CREDIT: Ben White on Unsplash

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