Being respectful starts with me

By Reade Brower | Aug 03, 2017

“Euphemism is a euphemism for lying.”

— Bobbie Gentry, singer and songwriter (b. 1944)

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A philosophical discussion with one of my sons has led me to ask the question; “How tolerant am I about the other point of view?” A bigger question is; “Am I a hypocrite”?

I’ve always considered myself tolerant, not too judgmental, and a person who believes it best to “live and let live.”

I made a vow during the election cycle to forgo writing about politics; a vow I would break, and now continue to break, almost weekly. I changed my mind on this vow because you are either part of the solution or part of the problem; not speaking out puts you squarely in the camp of part of the problem.

Earlier this month, teens laughed at, taunted and then didn’t help a disabled man as he drowned near them; they instead videoed it and were heard shouting racial slurs as they let him die. Since there is no law that says a citizen must help a person in need, even one who is dying, they were not charged. Since they were underage, their names have not been published. No accountability, a warped sense of decency.

I will try to evolve a little bit this week.

First, good job, Gov. LePage, and our Maine legislators for leading Maine to a $111 million surplus in 2016. This follows a surplus in 2015 of $93 million.

I have tried to make it a point to criticize the policy, rather than the man or woman in charge and can respect the office even when I can’t respect the person holding it. To call someone’s style bullying or boorish comes close to the line. In the case of our president, it is hard not to opine about his use of Twitter, his leadership from the top that has brought crudeness into the White House never before witnessed.

Those justifying it call it “plain speaking” or “telling it like it is.” It is just rude and boorish behavior; you just don’t talk about grabbing a women by her private parts, not even in the locker room. Threatening people, or in Trump’s case, entire states (he is going to do bad things to Alaska because one of its senators didn’t support the health care repeal) and calling people stupid, liars, ugly, little, is not acceptable and must be called out.

The recent hiring of Anthony Scaramucci is a good example; the “Mooch” gave a profanity-laced tongue-lashing to a reporter last week that trashed Trump appointees Reince Priebus and Stephen Bannon with vulgar language that couldn’t be printed. He then blamed the press for the things he said, apparently because they reported it. Sad. Scaramucci has since been fired.

Having an opinion on this is part of why people write -- and read -- opinion columns. It forces them to think. It is not a statement that the writer knows more than the reader; rather, it is a way to get the conversation started.

When I flip channels between Hannity and Maddow, it is in an effort to understand the absurdity of all this nonsense, as both are highly one-sided. When Hannity promises “fair and balanced reporting” at the end of each of his shows, it is headshaking. When I listen to Lester Holt, I find more solace; Lester just reports the news of the day.

Last week Republican Journal columnist Tom Seymour wrote an interesting column headlined; “Lack of civility root of societal decline.” Tom hit the nail on the head several times.

He spoke of people pushing and shoving in lines, road rage and the increasing hostility that comes from “my way or the highway” mentalities. I am fully on board with Tom that the only thing we should be intolerant about is intolerance.

Just as I began to warm up to Seymour and his writing, he just as quickly lost me with some hypocritical analysis stating that, “until now, opposing parties displayed a modicum of courtesy with one another.”

He then went on to tell his readers that although conservatives like him were “unhappy” with Obama, there was no trash-talking. I take issue with you here, Tom; I have an inbox full of intolerant emails from readers calling our former president “Barry” and saying he should go back to Kenya with his monkey-looking wife. May I remind Tom that Obama created a party within the Republicans; the Tea Party was anything but silent during the eight years of Obama's term, and Trump has been anything but silent in his relentless criticism of him and of Hillary Clinton.

Next, Seymour correctly condemns the Facebook post from state Rep. Scott Hamann, a Democrat from South Portland, for words about President Trump that were “too coarse for publication.” I agree with Tom, the details of Hamann’s rant are despicable, and he should be censured or removed.

However, where is similar contempt for Donald Trump, who bucks all tradition and turns a Boy Scout speech into a political rally, bashing his opponents as enemies of the state with one crude remark after another? Where is the outrage over Scaramucci’s use of the “C” word and the “F’ word? Scaramucci’s defense was that this is just “colorful language.” Swearing and calling people names like “paranoid schizophrenic” doesn’t move us forward, Anthony.

Where there is not equal outrage, there is hypocrisy.

Both conservatives and liberals need to be open, need to be considerate and tolerant. Most of all, we need to just live and let live; while we stand up for the principles we believe in and fight for, and allow others to stand up for theirs.

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Comments (1)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Aug 03, 2017 10:27

Sunday's "Speaker's Corner"  4-5PM, at the corner of Park and Main Streets in Rockland, is a great place to practice.

Image result for speakers' corner



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