How in the world did we end up with two Presidential candidates who cannot muster respect among the majority of the electorate? Does anyone really like or respect these two?
“Lock her up!’ “Those damn emails!” Crooked this, nasty that. “What difference does it make?”
What’s happened to “civilized disagreement?”
I did a little research and discovered a letter that captures my feelings as we approach November 8, words I wish our politicians and voters would take to heart and mind.
The letter starts: “Civilized people must, I believe, satisfy the following criteria:
1) They respect human beings as individuals and are therefore always tolerant, gentle, courteous and amenable. They do not create scenes over a hammer or a mislaid eraser.
2) They have compassion for other people besides beggars and cats. Their hearts suffer the pain of what is hidden to the naked eye.
3) They respect other people's property, and therefore pay their debts.
4) They are not devious, and they fear lies as they fear fire. They don't tell lies even in the most trivial matters. To lie to someone is to insult them, and the liar is diminished in the eyes of the person he lies to. Civilized people don't put on airs; they behave in the street as they would at home, they don't show off to impress their juniors.
5) They don't run themselves down in order to provoke the sympathy of others. They don't play on other people's heartstrings to be sighed over and cosseted — that sort of thing is just cheap striving for effects, it's vulgar, old hat and false.
6) They are not vain. True talent always sits in the shade, mingles with the crowd, avoids the limelight. The empty barrel makes more noise than the full one.
7) If they do possess talent, they value it. They take pride in it, They know they have a responsibility to exert a civilizing influence on [others] rather than aimlessly hanging out with them. And they are fastidious in their habits.
8) They work at developing their aesthetic sensibility. Civilized people don't simply obey their baser instincts. They require mens sana in corpore sano.”
Those words are from a letter written in 1886 by the Russian writer Anton Chekhove to his brother Nikolai. They make more sense to me than the stupid stuff I’m hearing morning, noon and night on cable news shows.
And a note about my new blog photo! Just getting ready for a Maine winter.
To quote another great writer, Henry Thoreau: “Every man looks at his wood-pile with a kind of affection. I love to have mine before my window, and the more chips the better to remind me of my pleasing work.”
Bring it on!