Somewhere along the way during civility’s decline in everyday debate and discussion, we’ve lost something far more precious than common courtesy.
That is — the right to be wrong.
No matter where it occurs — with talking heads on television, at online forums and discussion groups, even in public places from classrooms to bars — debate and discussion have morphed into a vicious blood sport rather than a freewheeling exchange of interesting ideas and possibilities. It’s open season everywhere. Truth isn’t necessarily the pursuit, but the target.
Indeed, the objective has become winning at all costs. How one plays the game no longer matters. Achieving a greater understanding about an important issue or gaining enlightenment about something new is a low priority, if it matters at all. Rather, the goal of typical debate nowadays is conquering and ultimately destroying the opposition.
Scene from new movie “Son of God.” Spolier Alert: Film does not end well for the title character.
Bad casting — Jesus looks like a tourist from Belgium visiting the Middle East who just stepped off a tour bus.
There’s a special promotion where if you FILL OUT AN APPLICATION for a “Spirit Visa card,” you get a free round-trip ticket to anywhere on the airline. A free round-trip ticket? On Spirit?
NO FUCKING THANKS!!!
Been to a shopping mall lately?
Talk about hell on earth!
Going shopping is bad enough. But toss in prospecting for a parking space, swarms of mindless teenagers walking six in a line, and the latest annoyance — the gauntlet of sales carts and kiosks blocking every aisle — and that makes going into the mall for a pair of socks like maneuvering an obstacle course.
What happened to the days when shopping malls housed a bunch of popular stores with names we actually knew? What happened to the customer’s “space?” Now, malls have pretty much become the Grand Bazaar. It’s like walking through Istanbul on a Saturday afternoon. You can’t tell even anything about the stores or what they sell anymore from the outside.
Consider these names at a popular mall in Las Vegas:
Many Americans think our National Anthem should be changed.
They insist “The Star-Spangled Banner” is way too difficult to sing, which is true. They insist the song penned by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 florifies violence, which is true. They say there are far better arrangements of music which symbolizes our national aspirations, such as “America the Beautiful,” which is true.
Indeed, there are a number of very valid reasons why the current National Anthem makes no sense at all.
But there’s also a very good reason why we should keep it.