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The ugly American just doesn't appear other places

By RICHARD SHAW
Sun Advocate reporter

In the last four years I have spent a lot of time sitting through meetings in this county, listening to many opinions on many issues and just generally observing the demeanor of citizens in our county.

For the most part I have found people, despite their strong opinions on certain matters, to be civil, regardless of the heat of the moment. However, lately I find that is changing. It seems rudeness and crudeness is entering more and more into local political and government sessions.

Within the last month I have witnessed some pretty uncivil behavior from audiences gathered at public meetings in Carbon at least twice.

Now I for one am all for public debate, and for questioning public officials about the direction of government. But that questioning should always be tempered with courtesy.

I recently talked with one government elected official who told me that he wondered if he would even run for his office again, when his term is through because of the way people sometimes treat him and even his family because of his stand on certain issues. "It's bad enough when they call up my house and yell at me, but when they start in on my wife and kids, that's another matter," he said.

I can tell you from experience, by the comments I sometimes get from those who want to criticize what I have written, those that call like that seldom have the guts to give their name.

Few people in leadership positions are opposed to hearing from the people. Most, in fact, want to know how the population feels about matters before they have to make a decision. Criticism is part of our system, thank goodness. Without it we would be just like so many of those countries that hold elections with one candidate on the ballot and call themselves a democracy.

However, somehow, somewhere, we need to eliminate the ugly American attitude that puts credence in the belief that rudeness equals intellectual power. In actuality, I find it is often just the opposite. The rudest people are most often the ones who know the least about what is really going on.





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