Wednesday, January 26, 2011

D-i-s-r-e-s-p-e-c-t: a nationís cultural rot

Express Staff Writer

High and low, Americans of every class and following have succumbed to a contagious, destructive personality breakdown far more threatening than the economic and jobs priorities they believe place the nation in peril.

Isn't human "disrespect" really the most perilous disorder in the national psyche—disrespect for law, disrespect for each other, disrespect for property, disrespect for moral behavior, disrespect for values on which the nation was founded?

I spend hours each day reading Internet news and online newspapers. The inescapable common cultural and social corruption is disrespect.

- For six years, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas violated federal law by not listing his wife's employment by conservative think tanks that paid her hundreds of thousands of dollars. He has filed amended reports. Court colleague Justice Antonin Scalia routinely lectures to conservative groups on law, ignoring the conflicts and ruling on conservative cases before the court. Disrespect for the public trust.

- Congressman Joe Wilson may have shocked the national sensibility by shouting the disrespectful "You lie!" at President Obama from the House chambers, but worse has been hurled by other congressmen during campaign speeches, including that Obama lied about his birthplace or is trying to destroy America. Disrespect for the presidency.

- The announced Republican agenda is to punish the United States' urgent national needs by opposing any Obama legislation because the GOP wants to sabotage Obama's second-term chances. Disrespect for the national good.

- Since the first of the year, at least 14 law enforcement officers have been shot and killed, others wounded, an unprecedented trend. America's world-record prison population is further tribute to our lawlessness. Disrespect for law.

- The National Rifle Association is trying to derail studies linking guns and violence, apparently fearful of results, while politicians wilt under NRA pressure to avoid discussing gun controls. Disrespect for public safety.

- Major financial institutions connived to breed obscene profits on the backs of the national economy and customers. Disrespect for corporate responsibility.

- Major textbook publishers have bowed to Texas conservative school board officials by producing modified studies on America as a Christian country, the influence of communism on the U.S. government and the positive values of conservatism. Because of the large Texas textbook purchases, other states will be forced to accept the Texas political influence on student learning. Disrespect for history.

- MTV, founded as a fun TV channel for young people, denies that its new program "Skins" is teen pornography, and defends the racy programs as merely trying to cultivate a new young audience with flesh plots. Disrespect for taste.

American values?

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