My God, but we're an angry, vulgar and ultimately hateful species. Some days I'm almost embarrassed to be a human.
I'm not really referring to the senseless wars in the name of superstitious ideologies that always seem to be going on. It's the personal version of "man's inhumanity to man" that's on my mind.
I can't read an online news story about the political races without coming across in a news organization's comments section petty name-calling between Republicans and Democrats, or even between fans of the same party, voicing their hostility in cold, cruel words for an opposing candidate. Ron Paul's supporters have shown particular talent for this, judging by their scathing attacks on other candidates on the site The Daily Paul. Obama demonizes Hillary and vice versa ad nauseum, as did McCain and Romney when the latter was still running. And their minions all hate each other, and are only too proud to post their feelings on blogs and news sites.
Things aren't much better on Masonic forums and blogs, with "brothers" trashing each other's opinions and affiliations regularly, and often not very politely.
It's not just online we see this sinking to the lowest common denominator. Every day the news tells us of murders, rapes, and crimes too horrible to contemplate. Recently, a father forced his child to watch him murder her mother, and then made her help dispose of her body after he cut off the mother's hands, feet and head. In January, 24-year old Meredith Emerson was brutally murdered — beaten to death, then decapitated — quite near me in a north Georgia state park.
And then there's road rage, where you get to hate a new random group of people every day. How often do you see someone flipping the finger at another driver, or mouthing curse words as if the other driver can hear him? Or how often do you do it yourself?
Our "entertainment" not only no longer teaches values, it actively encourages the lack of values. I mean, have you seen It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia? Described by one writer as "Seinfeld on crack," it's an endless parade of how to be selfish and cruel.
In the "good ol' days," our sports heroes were actually heroes. Never mind they had their vices, like Babe Ruth's famous alcoholism. At least they weren't shooting each other and running dog-fighting operations.
Fast food clerks, bored and most likely raised by wolves, regularly make the news by getting caught spitting into food. College kids blow away their classmates just for kicks.
Last Friday evening in England a group of women dining at Joe Delucci's Italian restaurant in Lichfield, Staffordshire were presented with their bill after receiving and then complaining about particularly bad service. Atop the bill was typed in, as if it were an ordered item, the words "SUCK MY D*** F*** FACE." The owner, a Mr. Langsdon, said the message had been meant to be seen only by kitchen staff and he did not know how it ended up as an item on the receipt.
He told a reporter, "That shouldn't come out on the bill, so we've got to find out what's gone wrong there."
I'm not arguing for a crusade to "put God back in the schools," or for any sort of moral crusade. I'm not saying we should "go along to get along." I'm not saying there aren't things worth fighting for.
I'd just like us to put the "human" and the "humane" back into humanity.
Image: Check, please! A bill from Joe Delucci's restaurant in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England
Respect | Manners | Humanity | Joe Delucci | Burning Taper | BurningTaper.com