Yesterday while running the trails behind our home on what was an absolutely stunning autumn afternoon, my thoughts were focused on the previous evening's presidential debate and the increasingly venomous attacks that continue to escalate via social media after such events.
What has happened to civil discourse in our society among its citizens? As a mother, I am trying to teach my children to behave with respect and dignity when speaking to others and about others, regardless their opinion of that person. It is disheartening, especially when I see such attacks coming from women, to read such crass and disrespectful comments. Yesterday a woman compared Mitt Romney's platform to that of the Taliban, and if elected we would see more violence like the young 14-year old Pakistani girl who was shot . . . "those with opinions will be shot" were her final words. Really? Really? There were only two of us who made comments in retort that her statement was out of line. Even more baffling are the women who stoop so low to name calling or attacking the families, personal lives, and religious affliations of the candidates. I've heard one candidate more than once called a "douche" by a seemingly educated woman. Can anyone state a logical argument or express their viewpoint without spewing venom?
Of course, we all have opinions and our freedom of speech allows us to share these with others; it is one of the great freedoms which makes this country magnificent. Many of us enjoy watching or listening to the debates as important issues are discussed and disputed. However, why must so many lose their self respect and display such vile anger in their crude personal attacks via comments and silly pictures on the internet, and what is this teaching our children? A few weeks ago, I posted my "life lessons" for my daughters and think I should add another pointer:
"NEVER become a women who loses her civility, dignity, or decency while defending or promoting a personal opinion or life choice. Always treat others with courtesy and respect, regardless of how you feel about their views, and never back down while standing up for what you believe."
"Blessed are the peacemakers . . ."