Friday, September 11, 2009

"Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!"

Wow!  I think we were all pretty shocked by Rep. Joe Wilson shouting out, "You lie!" to the President during his address to the joint session of Congress.  Is it any wonder that town hall meetings have digressed to shouting matches when even a U.S. Congressman would shout out such an accusation as he did, where he did, and to whom he did? Whether the speaker had been President Bush, Clinton, Reagan, Carter or any other and regardless of whether his accuser was a Democrat or a Republican, this was just not acceptable.

The time has come for us to step back and take a hard look at our behavior and what behavior we will continue to tolerate from others.  Regardless of how I may feel about your position on an issue, is it ever appropriate or productive for me to heckle you? How did such childish and disrespectful behavior become justified? There are times that I am diametrically opposed to something I hear but I can't imagine any circumstance that would justify the kind of behavior that you and I have recently come to expect in many public venues.  This is not about your rights or mine.  It's not about being bold and proclaiming truth in response to what we perceive as misinformation. It's about being respectful of others.  It's acceptable to disagree . . . you and I even have a responsibility to stand up for what we believe is true.  The problem here is how we do that. I once heard a speaker say, "All feelings are acceptable but all behaviors are not."  I think that's a good word for us.

I hope this incident will cause all of us, including Rep. Wilson, to re-evaluate how we express our disagreement with others.

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