Manners are the external expressions of our reverence or lack thereof. I was raised to respect, elders, public officials, and all authority figures. My childhood friends and I addressed each other parents, as Mr. and Mrs., and we watched our words in front of them. Our families honored our community by looking out for their neighbor's offspring. The public and law enforcement had a courteous relationship. Even if you disagreed with a government official you always spoke of them respectfully because of his or her position. Our culture was racially mixed, but we honored each other as Americans for the most part. In the sixties that all started to change. It was a time of social revolution by a generation without a clue. Our manners towards one another has degraded because our mutual respect has faded. From my childhood, till today our nation has gone through a paradigm shift from a community focus to a self-focus, that has altered our manners towards each other in our personal, professional, and public lives.
Our relationship with lovers, family, and friends are not as intimate as they once were, because we have forgotten the art of putting the needs of our loved ones above our own. As a child I watched my father's generation, raised in the fifties, constantly put their wants aside for their families. They believed that their true legacy was not based in material possessions, but in the longevity of their posterity. However, their children, raised in the sixties did not embrace these ideals. Rather, they followed the drug induced ideologies presented at the Woodstock festival of 1969. This was a time of cultural transition from community focus to self-focus. Now, partying has become the main pursuit of lives, and the family unit has suffered greatly because of it. In large numbers, children are being abandoned by one or both parents, due to personal gratification having priority over family relations. Manners are taught in the home first, and the break down in the family unit has created a void in mutual respect, that has affected the broader area of our manners in the work place.
In the broader arena of our vocational relationships we no longer practice, swallowing our pride for the good of the group, but do much damage in the insistence of our own way. One of the greatest assets of being raised by loving parents is learning humility. In my father’s days the businesses ran on a simple premise, which is, if management is good to labor, the workers will watch out for the company. At that time this was an overall standard of cordiality in the work place. Unfortunately, the Woodstock festival instilled in the next generation a spirit of rebellion to authority. To add insult to injury the labor unions used this rebel mindset to dehumanize management for the purpose enlisting loyalty from the workforce, installing in the workers that an idea that they need ban together to force their employer to yield to them. This has done severe damage to worker, and employer relations, and has added to the national tensions in the public arena.
In the broadest sense, in our public gatherings we no longer respect the authorities that exist, but rather demand that they submit to us. My parents honored law enforcement, and the military as those that put their lives on the line daily order in to protect our freedom and liberty. Restaurant owners used to feed the police for free as a thank you for their service. During the during the war in Viet Nam of the sixties and seventies that began to change. The returning soldiers were not treated as heroes by the American people, but as criminals. They were shunned, Alienated, and slandered. Today the police are openly threatened and attacked. If they pull out their guns to protect the public and themselves from violent arm criminals, we treat the police like felons and actually defend those that mean harm to the public. I see this every day the worse manners of all, the defacement public property to make political statements. In the pass all points of view could be presented in public, and debated with civility. Today, we do not exercise the proper manners to listen to the opposing argument, with the understanding that no man has all the answers. Disagreeing we an established authority is one thing, disrespecting the authority's humanity is another. In the public arena we exercise the horrible manners of being too proud to listen, and being hostile to those that does not agree.