All about ideas…

What gives with all the bad behavior?

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When I grew up, rudeness was considered extremely bad manners and no amount of apologies allowed that person off the hook for behaving badly. Only reformed behavior allowed the culprit to assuage his ruined reputation.

That no longer seems to be the case today. Someone who behaves badly can say “I’m sorry” and all is forgotten or that person is made into a sort of “folk hero.”

The “I’m sorry” tactic doesn’t work for me. Any person in control of himself (or herself) would not behave badly to begin with. They would know how to control their emotions and behavior. Bad behavior is especially egregious in our national representatives. These are people who are supposed to be more logical than emotional. That is why they are elected: they are assumed to be better at logically, intellectually breaking down complex legislation to ensure that American families and businesses are protected according to the Constitution.

However, our culture apparently no longer chooses to hold people to a standard of decorum and manners that marked our previous generations. A phony apology means nothing. An apology for behaving badly to assuage public opinion means nothing. Any person who is in control of his or her emotions and has been taught to control their emotions and behavior would not find it necessary to make a public apology for behaving in ways that draw public criticism.

I, for one, am tired of public apologies. I want people to rein in their worst impulses to behave in socially acceptable ways to begin with.

Manners do matter. As my mother repeated over and over again when I was growing up: people who behave badly, exhibit bad manners, are people who have “bad breeding.” In other words, they were not taught to behave with respect and consideration for others. They behaved like animals, not human beings.

Maybe it’s time we got back to the values of our parents and grandparents and starting telling people we will not accept your rude, self-indulgent behavior no matter how much you apologize. We expect better of you…and demand more from you.


Written by Valerie Curl

September 14, 2009 at 9:00 PM

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