One of the reasons that I don't want a Republican in the White House is that the current President has modeled behavior that encourages meanness and inflexibility. His arrogance at telling people "It's My Way or the Highway" has created a culture that celebrates this style of behavior. It is not the kind of behavior that is allowed in almost any elementary school. Children are taught respect and responsibility.
But children must see the discrepancy between what they are being taught and how leaders are behaving. Greed is Good! Spending Money is Good! My Way is Best!
For example, last week my family went out to the local PUBLIC tennis courts that are nearest to our home. We wanted to show DH how much DS has progressed from tennis lessons. We had been practicing on the courts during the week. On a Friday at around 5 p.m., we thought we'd show Dad. The courts, in fact the park, had been empty during the week. Well, the high school cross-country team had been practicing on the tiny park hills. But kids were not playing on the playground equipment and no one had been on the courts. In fact, the courts seemed to have been empty for a long time because we had to spend five minutes on each visit clearing away the green, decaying black walnuts, looking like shriveled tennis balls, that littered the courts.
Unfortunately, the Friday we went was at the end of the first week of Congress debates about the financial bailout. The stock market was beginning to plummet. The depth of despair over bad times was beginning to sink in everywhere, even in our little city.
The couple -- late 50s -- were hitting balls back-and-forth, not serving. We watched them play and I noted how nicely they were at keeping the ball going. We carefully walked over to the other court.
When the guy was collecting his balls, I mentioned that we were still learning, as a way to warn him of DS's skills. The guy then launched into a tirade, very angry, about how we should not have walked behind him while he was playing. He said something about how we would not walk into his living room, so we shouldn't walk near him when he was playing. This was on a public court.
Maybe the guy had a point, that we should've been more careful. But I was watching carefully and did walk in the back of the court.
But the guy spoke to us in such an obnoxious, angry manner, never really looking at us, just yelling, that whatever his message might have been was obscured by his emotions. His wife seemed embarrassed. She was also the better player.
We decided to leave. I yelled at him about how he obviously wasn't good at sportsmanship.
The guy made us all mad. He took away some of the fun we were having with tennis and instead showed the part that I hate about sports: the anger, the one-up-manship, the ugliness.
I think the guy was also coming off a bad week. He had probably lost a lot of money in his stock portfolio. He was not in as good a shape as he might have been when he was younger and his wife was obviously playing better. The world didn't seem as good as it might have a few Septembers ago.
This guy is just the tip of the iceberg. There's going to be a lot of testosterone (of both males and females) blowing up in many more nastier and evil ways over how the world has changed, the financial markets are a mess, and certainty is gone. I wish that civility would come back, but I think they're a long time gone.