Is vul­gar­ity and rude­ness now the norm?

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - OPINION - Fr Michael Com­mane

IWAS wash­ing the dishes when my at­ten­tion was drawn to the ra­dio. Sean O’Rourke was in­ter­view­ing Maria Bai­ley. I could not be­lieve my ears. It was be­yond words, in­cred­i­ble ar­ro­gance.

It was an­other P Flynn mo­ment. Read­ers who are too young to re­mem­ber the P Flynn road crash - it was the night the Eu­ro­pean Com­mis­sioner was on ‘The Late Late Show’ mak­ing a com­plete clown of him­self, ex­plain­ing to the na­tion how he was find­ing it so dif­fi­cult to keep all his prop­er­ties in shape on his EU salary.

Pol­i­tics is a strange game but as a for­mer MEP said to me if we don’t have pol­i­tics we have war. How true. We seem to be liv­ing in un­char­tered waters, in­deed, dan­ger­ous times too. In the back­ground there is enough arse­nal to an­ni­hi­late all of us.

Before Pres­i­dent Trump got off Air Force One in Stansted he in­sulted London’s Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan and then ridiculed the mayor on grounds of his stature. The more ou­tra­geous his com­ments the more plau­dits he gets from his fol­low­ers.

I’m re­minded of the hor­ror days of the North­ern Ire­land Trou­bles. The more grue­some and deadly the IRA atroc­i­ties were, the more sup­port they re­ceived from their sup­port­ers. When Trump sup­port­ers scream, ‘lock her up’ when he men­tions Hil­lary Clin­ton’s name one can feel the ha­tred and vi­o­lence in the air.

Angli­can Bishop of Liver­pool Paul Bayes con­sid­ers Trump’s way of do­ing pol­i­tics as ‘toxic and dan­ger­ous’...‘He says he is a Chris­tian but Je­sus said you know peo­ple by their fruits,’ Bayes said. He doesn’t be­lieve that Trump’s ac­tions are Chris­tian. The bishop is also critical of those who sup­port Trump.

Mr Trump lies. He lied to Eng­land’s Prince Charles when he told him last Tuesday that the US has one of the clean­est en­vi­ron­ments in the world. Pres­i­dent Trump is per­ni­cious. Pres­i­dent Michael D Hig­gins used the word ac­cu­rately when talk­ing about Pres­i­dent Trump.

In the Philip­pines Pres­i­dent Duterte in a speech he made in Tokyo last month told his au­di­ence that he was gay before he cured him­self. He said: ‘I be­came a man again! So beau­ti­ful women cured me. I hated hand­some men after­wards. I now pre­fer beau­ti­ful

women.’ In 2016 Pres­i­dent Duterte called the US am­bas­sador to the Philip­pines a ‘gay son of a bitch’.

Closer to home there is Boris John­son and Nigel Farage. Can one add our own Peter Casey to that list?

What’s the ge­n­e­sis of all this vul­gar­ity and rude­ness? A friend of mine, who is in­volved in pol­i­tics, ar­gues that with the fall of the Ber­lin Wall, world or­der col­lapsed and it be­came the norm for peo­ple to say and do any­thing.

I’m in­clined to think that the Catholic Church was ahead of politi­cians on this one. Un­der the pon­tif­i­cate of John Paul II a divi­sion be­gan to ap­pear in the church, where op­pos­ing sides saw each other as the ‘en­emy’. Right now in the church the op­pos­ing sides find it ever so easy to speak in the nas­ti­est terms about their op­po­nents. Last month I read about two English Do­mini­cans re­fer­ring to the Pope as a heretic.

There is a pal­pa­ble vi­o­lence in the ether. Look at so­cial me­dia. The world needs to calm down. On the scale of things, the Maria Bai­ley story is a bit of fun, though cer­tainly not for her.

What about if we all made a gen­uine ef­fort in re­spect­ing one an­other, even those with whom we dis­agree. Politi­cians take note.

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