Has po­lite­ness and deco­rum dis­ap­peared?

Wicklow People (Arklow) - - OPINION - Fr Michael Com­mane

IS there any­one who does not have a ra­dio in their house? It’s doubt­ful. Ev­ery car is fit­ted with one. Ra­dios are ubiquitous. It has been a great in­ven­tion.

With the ar­rival of the in­ter­net we can lis­ten to ra­dio sta­tions from any­where in the world. You can ei­ther down­load the ap­pro­pri­ate app or buy an in­ter­net ra­dio. The ad­van­tage of an in­ter­net ra­dio over an app on your com­puter or tablet is that there is the fa­cil­ity to pre-tune sta­tions. Per­fect if you are in bed and are turn­ing on or off the ra­dio in the dark.

It must be two or three years since I tuned in to Pa­triot Ra­dio. It is a sta­tion based in Phoenix Ari­zona but it seems it has af­fil­i­ates right across the United States. Many of the pro­grammes are syn­di­cated. Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans lis­ten to Pa­triot Ra­dio. Reg­u­larly I make a prom­ise not to tune in any­more but cu­rios­ity gets the bet­ter of me and I’m back lis­ten­ing to it. No words can ac­cu­rately de­scribe how right-wing it is. It is wall-to-wall vit­ri­olic bile against ev­ery­thing and every­one who es­pouses views that are not ul­tra right-wing. Don­ald Trump is their dar­ling.

Last week I heard a pre­sen­ter say that left wing peo­ple can­not be good or happy. Pre­sen­ters have called the sacked direc­tor of he FBI James Comey, among other things, a liar. They have fired in­cred­i­ble in­sults at the for­mer CIA boss John Bren­nan and have no trou­ble call­ing him a traitor. It con­stantly re­peats that con­ser­va­tives are gen­uinely and in­trin­si­cally good while lib­er­als and those with left-wing views are nasty and evil. It pays homage to Don­ald Trump and de­spises Barack Obama. These pre­sen­ters are ed­u­cated peo­ple, lawyers, some have been ad­vis­ers to for­mer US pres­i­dents.

The world seems to be in the strangest of places. Last week it was re­ported that af­ter the mur­der of the UK Labour MP Jo Cox it was agreed be­tween the leavers and the re­main­ers in the Brexit vote that there would be a pause in cam­paign­ing to hon­our Jo Cox. The leavers did not keep to the agree­ment.

We all seem to be shout­ing at the other side and most of the nas­ti­ness ap­pears to be com­ing from the right-wing. But am I say­ing that be­cause I con­sider my­self to have views and opin­ions that fre­quently con­cur with a left-wing or lib­eral view? Are all ves­tiges of po­lite­ness and deco­rum van­ish­ing off the face of the earth? What’s hap­pen­ing? It seems we refuse to lis­ten to those with dif­fer­ent opin­ions and ideas, in­stead we are sneer­ing at them and dis­miss­ing their think­ing.

We are see­ing how an­gry and dys­func­tional the world of pol­i­tics has be­come. It’s been rais­ing its ugly head right across so­ci­ety, on all con­ti­nents. It is also ev­i­dent in the churches. Church right-wingers make an art of be­ing se­cret and sly.

Je­suit priest Richard Leonard has writ­ten a piece in the English Catholic weekly ‘The Tablet’ that idoel­ogy is the en­emy of dis­cern­ment. These days too many seem to be ide­o­logues or cul­ture war­riors and self-righ­teously con­vinced right is only on one side.

Tune in to Pa­triot and hear for your­self but please, don’t leave the dial stuck there. It ap­peals to the nas­ti­est side of our hu­man­ity.

The world ur­gently needs em­pa­thy, kind­ness too.

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