One of the things I’m noticing a lot of lately is a loss of civility.
Maybe it’s the 24/7 news cycle. The need to constantly feed a beast that never seems to get full. I live it everyday.
So, a story last week really caught my attention. It has to do with words. Bad ones. Offensive beyond measure.
I’ll tell you that I’m a huge fan of New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd. When I grow up, I hope I can write like Maureen Dowd.
It was her latest column in The Times this Sunday that jumped out at me. She wrote words that I’ll bet she never thought she would write. Words I never thought I would write.
Dowd’s column was called “A.O.C. and the Jurassic Jerks.”
Part of it has to do with what Congressman Ted Yoho reportedly said after an exchange with Congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
They had a disagreement over crime and policing.
A reporter overheard him saying she was, “a fucking bitch.” (I can’t believe I just typed those words, but it goes to my point.)
Now, Congressman Yoho has denied he said those words. He told CNN that he made “a brief comment to himself as he walked away.”
After hearing of his comments, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez then went to the House floor and told the story of the exchange. And yes, she used those words. As horrible as it was to hear, it was a powerful moment.
“I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter, and they did not raise me to accept abuse from men.”
As Maureen Dowd writes, “It was a remarkable moment on Capitol Hill, where for years super-achieving women have let such sexist remarks slide.”
This time, A.O.C. did not let it slide.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi came out and said Republicans have called her names for nearly two decades.
I can’t help but think What has happened to respect? What has happened to civility?
It is not okay to talk like that. It just isn’t. So, you don’t agree with someone? That’s okay, but you don’t get to call someone that. Not now, not ever.
It was a reporter from “The Hill” that heard the remarks and wrote the story. It blew up from there.
Can you imagine the discussion about printing this story? Writing those words? My Journalism 101 class would not have allowed me to consider it. But that was a long time ago.
We are in a new place. A new time. Here’s the thing though. Words matter. Names matter. I can’t imagine what my parents would do if they heard me say those words.
Please don’t try and tell me I’m old school or convince me It’s not that bad. Yes, it is. It’s that bad.
I was raised better than that. I’m guessing most of us were.
My parents used to “wash our mouths out with soap” if we said a bad word. It happened just one time for me. That was enough.
Maybe it’s time to bring back that old school tradition. I’ll bet that would bring back a little civility.
Did you ever taste Dial Gold?