Yesterday's Lesson Today
by Bob Rugg
May 22, 2014 02:45 PM | 3921 views | 0 0 comments | 444 444 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bob Rugg
Bob Rugg
At Pepperdine, where I attended 60 years ago, one of the campus icons was College Dean E. V. Pullias. He was a soft spoken man from Tennessee who had the mannerisms and demeanor of a true Southern gentleman. If a discussion or debate tended to get a bit off track while he was present, one would likely hear him say, "Now, we don't want to be ugly." The admonition was soft but pointed.

While it seems like we have joined the Election-of-the-Month Club here in Cherokee County, each election cycle appears to be more rancorous than the one before. It is almost at the point to where even Dr. Pullias would find it difficult to bring it back to reasoned debate. Of course the advent of social media has contributed to that rise in acrimony. No longer does one have to wait for the mailman to deliver your angry response to something someone said. You can deliver it yourself, immediately.... while you're still seething. No need to count to 10 or take time to carefully think out a reasonable response... just drop the hammer on 'em.

It used to be that if some malcontent hung a huge sign on a pasture fence post decrying the honesty or integrity of a candidate, or worse, advertising near libelous lies, the only people who'd see it would be those who drove by the pasture. Today the Facebook post has replaced the fence post. Maliciousness can widely and instantly run amok. And while the peddlers of dissention and venom are not totally anonymous, they are very much insulated, often spewing their pedagogic punditry while sitting at home in their pajamas.

The computer, along with its social pages, has allowed some to sharply hone their skill at insulting and verbally abusing others. At the same time it has allowed others to reciprocate with derision and rudeness. All of this feeds upon itself, becoming worse with each election.

As we grew up we were cautioned about the care that needed to be taken when using a sharp knife. The knife had a useful purpose. But, used carelessly or maliciously, it could easily cause a great deal of harm. The tools at hand through modern technology should carry the same admonition and warning. The parental caution about the knives was intended to keep us from hurting ourselves. Dr. Pullias's admonition was meant to keep us from hurting others.

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