We just won’t abide a rude attitude

The last word about dads on Father's Day

It was a very rude year. In fact, 2009 was so discourteous that
a grassroots effort is under way to help us clean up our act.
It’s called the Civility Project
– an endeavor put together by two gentlemen with dissimilar
backgrounds who came together and yelled,

We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take this
anymore.

It was a very rude year. In fact, 2009 was so discourteous that a grassroots effort is under way to help us clean up our act.

It’s called the Civility Project – an endeavor put together by two gentlemen with dissimilar backgrounds who came together and yelled, “We’re as mad as hell and we’re not going to take this anymore.” Well, no, I don’t think they actually did that since doing so would be, well … rude.

These gentlemen, Mark DeMoss and Lanny Davis are friends who, with others, founded the Civility Project. DeMoss describes himself as a conservative, evangelical Southern Baptist while Davis is of the Jewish faith. Politically and religiously they are poles apart; DeMoss supported Mitt Romney (who is Mormon) for president and Davis has been affiliated with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Other project originators are more aligned with Barack Obama and still others worked to elect a fellow Republican to follow George Bush.

You would think folks with such diverse points of view would get along about as well as a barn full of feral cats, right? Well, you would think. But get along they do – so much so that they launched an effort to return civility not only to politics but also to everyday life and discourse.

And why not? I mean, in a year when we saw so many impolite acts in one little 12-month span, I think these fellows might be on to something. For example:

The political arena was rudeness run amok in 2009. The ink on the Obamas’ change-of-address form was hardly dry before Republicans and Democrats were again going at it full tilt. So much for change. The stinky stuff really hit the fan last fall when South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson hollered, “You lie!” during the commander-in-chief’s health care address to Congress. Rude? Hmm … do ya think?

Such a mess! Town hall meetings where elected representatives faced rude and angry mobs over health care reform. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich removed from office for audaciously peddling President Obama’s vacated Senate seat. Brazen gatecrashers breaking into a White House state dinner. Gov. Sarah Palin brashly bailing on Alaska.

And how bad-mannered was it that Palin’s new grandson’s father, what’s-his-name, dropped his drawers for Playgirl magazine? C’mon, dude. We prefer those denims remain firmly buttoned about your backside.

But my personal Rudeness-Loser-of-the-Year award goes to “religion and family values” endorser, Gov. Mark “I’m hiking the Appalachian Trail” Sanford who not only wasn’t trekking the trail to clear his head after a “tough economic session,” but was tumbling in the hay with his paramour in Argentina – disappearing from even his staff’s radar for a very inappropriate – and rudely – long time. I don’t know about you, but I hope Mrs. S. dumped that snake’s belongings on the front lawn and started one heck of a bonfire. At least she didn’t show up for his pathetically self-serving press conferences with the infamous stand-by-your-man attitude.

Uncouth behavior wasn’t limited to political figures. A few Hollywood celebs simply soared on the rudeness meter. Remember when Taylor Swift won her Video Music Award and Kanye West went all Joe Wilson on her by jumping on stage and launching off on his tangent? Or when Carrie Prejean, the dumped Miss USA beauty queen, appeared on CNN’s Larry King show to hawk her new book and called HIM inappropriate? Hey, honey, unless Larry made one more sex tape than you reportedly did, I’d be careful about who I called inappropriate.

And wasn’t the Christmas Day arrest of Charlie Sheen a festive addition to the holiday season? Call me old fashioned but a little domestic violence on Christmas isn’t my first choice of family holiday traditions. The good news about Charlie’s arrest was that it – temporarily – removed the media circus from the front doorstep of Tiger Woods, who so impolitely forgot his marriage vows like, maybe … a few hundred times.

So what do you say, friends? Are you up for the Civility Pledge? With all of this rude and unbecoming behavior, perhaps it’s time to come together, agreeing to disagree, but hopefully without the boorishness. We can all do with less screaming and cheating and throwing stuff at one another, right?

Here, then, is the oath: “I will be civil in my public discourse and behavior. I will be respectful of others whether or not I agree with them. I will stand against incivility when I see it.”

Now I could get all hardnosed and say if you know what’s good for you, you’ll take this oath. Right now. Because I’m as mad as hell about incivility and I’m not going to take this anymore. But I hate to go all Joe Wilson on you. It just wouldn’t be right. And I wouldn’t want you to see me as being, well … rude.

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