If you watch television news you wouldn’t know that we’re in the midst of our annual holiday season. District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick openly fighting with Police Chief Frank Fowler and the city of Syracuse over a report. This simply mirrors the concept of public civility and how it appears to have gone down the drain. From the U.S. Congress down to our towns and villages, we have forgotten how to speak with each other, especially when handling disagreements.
I attended a week-long seminar on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and active discussions with those whose actions spawned the modern civil rights movement. One of the most important concepts was the Principles of Non-violence. However, the speech that emanates from the mouths of those in public life has become course, callous and absent of what is commonly known as decorum.
“Nobody wins in a dog fight” was a Martin Luther King, Jr. quote among many that have been seared into my brain over the years. And what we’ve listened to and seen locally in many cases is a dog fight.
I’m not just picking on these recent local dustups. This is a national phenomenon – no, excuse me, this global this chatter has become the transcript of our lives. Just imagine the old game show “Hollywood Squares,” but instead of celebrities, these human sized cubes are filled with public officials throwing things at each other.
After the death of Princess Diana we were introduced to the paparazzi, those pesky photographers that chase down celebrities in an effort to catch them in an unflattering pose.
We now have what I’ll call the “chatterazzi,” those who simply chatter, sputter and sputter with rage. In the past we “the public” would be spared the details regarding the making of this intellectual sausage called news, the mere broadcast of some of it will make you throw up your Christmas cookies.
Now, back to the heartwarming holiday classic film, “It’s A Wonderful Life.”