Several weeks ago, I shared my story about “Red Mercedes Lady,” a grown woman who verbally berated me with profanity for supposedly not using my turn signal (after she was riding my bumper for half a mile.) I was shocked and appalled that an adult old enough to be my mother could behave in such a way.
Well now I’m back, but this time, in response to one Linda Marlene Conley, who submitted a piece titled “Rebutting ‘clueless 21-year-old’” from the Nov. 28 edition of The Citizen.
In her article, Mrs. Conley launches a heated assault against a young man named Seamus Murrock that would make Red Mercedes Lady proud. Apparently, she vehemently disagreed with some of his political opinions that he submitted … in a public opinion column.
Now, I’m not here to talk politics or debate who is “correct” in their stance.
Rather, this is yet another piece on humanity, and how we as human beings and neighbors in this great community treat each other.
Mrs. Conley makes statements such as, “Mr Murrock most likely has never even held a summer job as a bag boy,” and calls him a, “spoiled and clueless 21-year-old” before finally concluding her piece with, “I hope your parents have a basement in their house because with your ‘sociology’ degree and far-left, thumb-sucking line of thinking, you’re going to be living in it for a while.”
Mrs. Conley includes her “B.S. Ed.” credentials in her signature. Is this how we want our educators to react to our upcoming generations? Verbally assaulting those whose beliefs don’t align perfectly with our own? Sounds a lot like fascism to me. I always held the belief that institutions of higher learning were intended for discourse and debate among bright, young minds who shared different opinions and ideas … at least, I think that’s what Plato intended when he founded the first university in Athens, Greece in 387 BCE.
This isn’t about right-wing or left-wing. This isn’t about who is “right” and who is “wrong.” This type of behavior is the epitome of what is wrong in society today — the inability for people to respect other’s opinions, and to disagree respectfully without belittling the other side.
Mrs. Conley, like everyone else in America, has every right to state her own opinion and voice her beliefs in response to Mr. Murrock’s. But can’t that be done without the childish ad hominem and name calling? If anything, I believe resorting to such illogical tactics only makes a person look foolish, and weakens their argument. Perhaps Mrs. Conley wasn’t required to take a logic course during her pursuit of an education degree. Pity.
Towards the end of her piece, Conley dictates the powerful and moving story of her father, who enlisted in the Army in 1940 and bravely served in the Pacific in WWII. While this anecdote is both admirable and humbling, its inclusion was intended to further belittle Mr. Murrock, and to highlight the vast differences between the lives of 21-year-olds in 1940 and 21-year-olds today.
I find this ironic, because all of our veterans who have ever served in America’s armed forces dating back to the 18th century have all been fighting for one purpose — to uphold the Constitution and all of the freedoms that America represents. The foundation of the Constitution — the 1st Amendment — states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
I wonder how Mrs. Conley’s late father would feel upon reading her response to a young man simply exercising his own 1st Amendment rights to freedom of speech? The very same rights that he, and countless other brave souls throughout American history, have fought to defend?
I said it last time, and I will say it again: Treat every person you encounter with kindness and respect, regardless of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, favorite color, hairstyle, sports team of choice, preference of cats vs dogs, or make of automobile they choose to drive. The most basic principles of love, kindness, open-mindedness, and humility are the most basic fibers that bind out beautiful community, our great nation, and the entire human race together as a whole. Only once we lose sight of this does society begin to break down in turmoil.
“Make it a great day, or not. The choice is yours.”
Peachtree City, Ga.