It seems the news is full of stories lately about Americans who have behaved badly. And this isn’t Lindsey Lohan and the cast of Jersey Shore; but politicians, football stars, newscasters, and a navy captain. In other words, smart people who should know better.

Are we being over sensitive? Or have we lost our sense of decorum?

I want to believe that Americans share a common interest in the rights of all human beings, living creatures, and the atmosphere that we cannot survive without. But I’m not sure that we do. We say we do, however, if you belong to the opposite political party, worship a deity by a different name, or find love in non-traditional relationships, we can make you too miserable to care about living another day. Pundits on news stations fuel the growing divide. Books are written to discourage unity and advice is given on ‘how to talk to a democrat if you are a republican’. Authors deliver death wishes to senators. Name calling ensues.

Sexism, racism, size-ism, (yes, I do think abusing fat people is still very fashionable among the size zeros), flourish in our society. We feed it with reality tv, pointing and laughing. Have we lost all compassion and dignity?

Oprah succeeds because she emotes passion and desire for living the best life possible. She encourages us to read and think and follow our bliss. And she does this without degrading another social class, economic sector or religious affiliation. ‘Whatever you call God,’ she says whenever she refers to spirituality. All inclusive, leave no group out, target audience. OWN, or Oprah Winfrey Network, should be wildly successful as it seems like a party we are all invited to. It will be refreshing to see programs that are dedicated to the enrichment of our higher purpose instead of the quick appeal of base emotion.

Jerry Springer’s show put the lowest form of entertainment into the atmosphere. I thought about it as I watched the Enterprise Captain playing three roles, all as offensive as humanly possible. And that was the short segment that could be aired! What was the rest like, I wonder. And he called it entertainment for his crew. Amazing. If this denigration is what has befallen us, then I cannot imagine that we will remain the strong, proud, great nation that is our birthright.
Can we rise above the political nastiness and harsh criticisms of anyone who looks unique, thinks differently or practices a philosophy that isn’t the norm? I think we can, but it will take patience, open mindedness and a return to ethics.