Health Care Reform? How about Manners Reform?

Being old and not from South Carolina until just a few a days ago I knew of neither Joe Wilson nor Kayne West. There names have now been linked together by their mutual lack of good manners. Wilson, a congressman and West, a musician have both behaved so poorly in recent days that rudeness has made the headlines. Wilson interrupted the president’s speech to call him a liar. West interrupted an award presentation to point that someone other than the recipient was more worthy of the award.

Miss Helen, my eighth grade American history teacher would have described such behavior as “rude, crude, impudent and socially unacceptable.” I know this to be to true because on more than one occasion I heard her describe far less ill mannered behavior with just those words. Yes, on one occasion it was my behavior that she was describing, but only once.

As pressing as the need for health care reform is in our country, the need for manners reform seems to be ever greater. Obviously, Kayne and Joe either did not have a teacher like Miss Helen or they failed to heed her words. Our country and our world would be better served if they had learned such lessons. We face serious problems. We are still at war in two countries. The economy is still struggling. Not only are an increasing number of Americans living below the poverty level but there is also an increasing number living without health insurance. Such issues will not be resolved with interruptions and insults. No, what we need are some well-mannered leaders willing to engage in polite and respectful dialogue.

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