Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Mindless Meanness"

A commentary this morning from CBS' Bob Schieffer:

That was not a State of the Union speech we heard the other night, but it had all the trappings - and when that Congressman hollered "You lie!" at the President, we did get a snapshot of the nation's state.

It was not a pretty picture.

The country is in an angry mood - people are frustrated, tempers are short, congressmen are being shouted down at town hall meetings (where constituents sometimes show up with guns), and at rallies like the one yesterday in Washington where people carried signs such as "Bury Health Care with Kennedy."

The irony of a congressman trying to heckle a president in the midst of a speech that was, among other things, about the need for civility is just one ugly sign of the mindless meanness that has settled over our politics.

How different it was in the aftermath of a far more difficult time, those days after 9/11, whose anniversary we marked on Friday.

I remember watching then, not far from where that congressman hurled his insult, as Senate Republican Leader Trent Lott put his hand on the shoulder of his Democratic counterpart Tom Daschle to announce the Senate had passed a $40 billion emergency appropriations bill, and passed it unanimously.

That day the country came together as it had not done since World War II. It made us proud to know what we could do when we had to. It brought out our best.

Put aside for the moment who is right and who is wrong in the current debate, and ask yourself: Can anyone really be proud of the side of America this argument is bringing out?

Here, here. We've got to be better than this.

1 comment:

Fran said...

Oh Paul, I wrote this on my status update the other day and I will say it here... Are some of us so obsessed with being right that we can't do the right thing?