What about decency?

Every week, I spend an hour, or two, or twelve walking on the grounds of nearby Fountainebleau State Park in Mandeville, Louisiana. It’s a wonderful place to walk, whether on the shores of the lake or among the mossy, live oaks.  The remains of an old sugar cane mill remind me that the place’s history is rooted in history, too. When the sugar planter died, he bequeathed the land as a public park.

At some point in the early 20 century, a large old-fashioned bathhouse was erected on the sandy northern shore of Lake Pontchartrain.  The state of Louisiana recently renovated the place to the original floor plan, complete with row upon row of semi-private changing rooms, shower stalls, and toilets. There are 2 wings, one for each gender.

It’s almost always empty. Who changes in privacy before using a public beach?  Why would men and women in our enlightened age need separate changing areas? Who cares if the family loads into the car with sand and mud clinging to their bottoms and feet?

Bathhouses are as anachronistic as the plantations themselves. I don’t know if I care about the bathhouses in particular. It’s the subject that comes to mind that I care about.

Decency.*

I am bothered by the utter lack of decency in the leader for the Republican ticket. He has no sense of decency in language, in actions, or the way he conducts the campaign. Whether it’s insulting a war veteran, speaking of a women’s menstrual cycle, laughing at a disabled person, or insulting entire ethnic and religious groups, he has no decency.

When the Israelites were a small confederation of tribes, the elders tell us that they asked God for a king. Loosely speaking, God said,  ‘Let me be your king.” God wanted them to not look to one man, but to keep the older tradition of judges, elders and prophets.

The people persisted. Saul was the first king. He was tall, good-looking, and a total failure. He led Israel’s sons into battle against their enemies and finally against each other. He died in suicide on the battlefield, a tragic figure in Biblical history.

Sometimes, we get what we ask for.

*My inspiration for this post that I spent all of 15 minutes composing came after reading Pastor Max Lucado’s column, Decency for President.

 

 

 

 

10 thoughts on “What about decency?

    1. Norm, I don’t see how Trump could win a general election with his insults and bigoted opinions. Despite all odds, he may make it to a Republican ticket. It would be a shameful day for the US if he makes it that far.

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      1. I think Trump will be the GOP’s nominee and in the end it will be a good thing. In the end. The cast of characters that the fractured GOP put forth this election was pretty much unelectable at the national level. Even Ohio’s governor who is portrayed as some kind of moderate would not have won his office here in Ohio in a presidential year. He won both terms in low turnout midterm elections. The guy from Texas thought it was good policy to put the federal government on strike, close down the show-how Republican is that? No the GOP needs a good kick in the butt at the polls to see that some of their main ideas are deal breakers with the general public.

        We are going to see vast numbers of voters stay home this fall. The GOP will do some public soul searching after the pasting at the polls, as they did the last two presidential elections and this time there may be a real examination of where the Grand Old Party wants be on policy. So maybe Mr. Trump will in the end be a good thing for us all.

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  1. Thank you for your decency. And thank you for this essay.

    Frankly, I would even settle for a bit of civility. Somewhere we have forgotten that, as a nation, almost all of us share the same goals of what we would like to see for ourselves and future generations; the only question is how to get there. And, of course, because we are individuals, each of us will propose a different path.

    Civility is the art of being able to discuss those paths as ideas. Decency is the realization that your political opponent is God’s creation and not the spawn of Satan, and should be accorded the same respect.

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  2. Steve, I like your thoughts. You have an excellent mind. You are always polite to me. It’s not just civility and decency, but a sense of unity and respect for law and order that is fast disappearing in this nation. You know I favor a different candidate than you. Last night, while in a parking lot at night, leaving with dinner for me and my mom, a man tried to block my car, yelling some nonsense about Hillary Clinton. Was he in his right mind? Did he want to do me violence because I have a sticker for another candidate on my car? I was dumbfounded. Maybe, I should have been afraid, too. I don’t like what I see ahead for this nation. Maybe, we will get what we deserve.

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  3. I quite agree with you that The Donald lacks decency. I also submit that he is a cudgel picked up by a significant portion of the population, perhaps the majority, that is seethingly angry at the nation’s direction and its feckless leadership (in both parties) for the past seven years but especially the leadership, or lack of it, of Barack Obama.

    The Donald is blowback. He is a result.

    I was amused at your stating that the bathhouse has two wings, one for each gender. There are no more genders, according to current wisdom. Where’s the decency in that? Where’s the decency in mom-and-pop businesses being sued into bankruptcy when they balk at gay wedding cakes? Where is the decency on university campuses when conservative speakers are shouted down and physically threatened due to their opinions precisely as was done in 1930s Germany to people with differing opinions then? Where is the decency in sky-high murder rates in black zones of America, a phenomenon ignored by the political left? Where is the decency in pretending Mohammedan terrorism is justified or simply overstated? Where is the decency in boycotting Israel, the sole democracy in the Middle East where women can walk free? Where is the decency in blaming successful people for one’s own shortcomings? Where is the decency in living off money legally strong-armed from others?

    There is certainly a lack of decency across the land, but The Donald is not the only example by far. It’s a sad and perilous situation.

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    1. We agree that Trump lacks decency. You introduced a different line of thought though than decency. That’s fine. Let me give you my opinion about the “anger” of the American people. You can be angry and not call someone a a vulgar term for a female body part. You can be angry and not call a distinguished war veteran a loser because he was a POW. An ordinary citizen can be angry and not vote for such a candidate. I know you are not a Bible scholar, or even a believer, but once upon a time, our nation had a general sense of the ethics of the New Testament, especially. I recall hearing many times in my young adult years the verse, Be ye angry and sin not. It means one can feel the emotion and not lose self-control. I don’t kill someone because I am angry. I don’t vandalize because I am angry. However, as a nation, our ethics, our decency, or if you will, our morality, has declined to abysmal standards. It’s not anger, in my opinion, propelling Trump to the top of the Republican polls. Americans identify with him because they see a mirror of themselves or perhaps who they want to be – someone who is wealthy, lustful, powerful, boastful, vain, profane, bigoted, misogynistic and a liar.

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