Civility seems to be sorely lacking

Column by Michael Alcorn
Posted 7/9/19

My, my, aren’t we proud? Once upon a time, I thought it would be a really great thing to be on the national news. It seemed like, you know, that meant you were famous and good things would come …

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Civility seems to be sorely lacking

Posted

My, my, aren’t we proud?

Once upon a time, I thought it would be a really great thing to be on the national news. It seemed like, you know, that meant you were famous and good things would come your way if you were on the news. Even if it were just something nearby, you could bask in the vicarious glow. And then, I turned, like, 14, and actually started watching the national news.

Being on the news is generally not a good thing. Right, junior baseball families?

Let’s trace the chain of events, shall we? Spectators — not necessarily parents — at a baseball game —of 7-year-olds! — in south Jefferson County are in the stands using foul language. Somehow, the 13-year old umpire is the only person in the room with both the good sense and the courage to ask those spectators to watch their language. And THAT is what touches off a stands-clearing brawl. Among the brilliant scenes that were to follow was a woman walking onto the field — of 7-year-olds — wielding an aluminum baseball bat as a weapon, and one brave young man sucker-punching another man into unconsciousness.

So proud.

If you were inclined to dismiss the general coarsening of American life here in the 21st century, this should quickly disabuse you of that notion. We have lost our collective minds. And don’t come at me with “It’s Trump’s fault.” This long predates the Presidency of Donald Trump; an argument could be made that “The Apprentice” played a role, but I’m afraid that’s a bit too subtle and nuanced an argument to fit our current national mood.

And it’s not Donald Trump supporters who are running through the streets of a major American city wearing masks, clubbing retirees over the head with tire irons, and throwing “milkshakes” mixed with caustic substances on people they disagree with. The tolerance of Antifa from the political Left (have you heard any of the 65 candidates decry their actions?) is just as bad as the President’s indulgence of the idiots down in Charlottesville. 

But, as the poet said, “they didn’t start the fire.”

We have always been a passionate people, and our disagreements have sometimes been lively, even martial. But this feels different, in ways both trivial and more dangerous. Yeah, sure, Jefferson and Hamilton had spirited debates with ad hominem attacks — but they did so in the King’s English with style and intellect. And not that long ago, looking down from 10,000 feet, it was wildly controversial that Clark Gable got to declare on screen, “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” But now Hollywood makes no pretense of holding up standards, our politicians make no effort to elevate anything except themselves, and our culture wallows and sinks deeper into the muddy swamp of debasement.

Except for 13-year old umpires who have the temerity to ask for it to stop.

I have to wonder if the death of civility won’t lead, ultimately, to the death of civilization.

***

I made a list a few weeks back of some groups that I am proud to be a part of. I left one off that list. If you have been impressed by the “Bottlecamp Challenge,” boy, do I have a show for you. Next weekend, one of the “companies” that I am honored to keep will be holding their National Championship competition at Broomfield High School (July 20 and 21). If you are in the least bit interested in crazy athleticism, feats of power and skill, and the artistry of men and women competing at the highest level, come see the U.S. Taekwon-Do Championships. And if you want your children — or yourself — to be surrounded by people of unmatched spirit, camaraderie, and dedication to self-improvement, find a local school and take a few classes. It will be worth your time.

Michael Alcorn is a teacher and writer who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. His new novel, “Charon’s Blade,” is available at Amazon.com, on Kindle, or through MichaelJAlcorn.com.” His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media.

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