Wednesday Jan. 6, 2021, my mind went back to another Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009. That was the day that I believe the crack began in the wall of civility that was destroyed Jan. 6. President Barack Obama was addressing a joint session of congress when Congressman Joe Wilson shouted from his seat, “You Lie!” The gasps were audible across the chamber, from Democrat to Republican there was a recognition that a rule of manners, a rule of decorum had been violated.
As is the case when rules get broken, the bar is lowered and the boundaries get extended. It seemed like that was the point where the line of demarcation between good manners and being “politically correct” were blurred.
It just might have just been the top of a slippery slope. Either way that descent found a leader in the Presidential candidate and eventual President Donald Trump. No one could recall a national leader that spoke the way he did. If anyone dared to object, they were labeled as being “politically correct” which over the years had come to replace the words rude or “bad manners.” The nation quickly found an icon of boorish behavior, soon nothing was either sacred or even worthy of mutual respect, least of all political discourse.
The most serious sin committed by this President, has been convincing the public that there was no difference between opinion and fact. This was a horrible thing for a President to do.
The words of a president require a seriousness or gravitas because the people of the Nation and the World will at times need to believe those words to protect their lives. A president that doesn’t believe in facts can make his country more susceptible to conspiracy theories, and that is very dangerous, when a Nation needs leadership during a crisis, a pandemic for example, words don’t just matter, they are essential.
Michael Boyd, Tracy