Lance Scranton: Grow up!
The recurring messages coming out of the mouths of many of our elected leaders are embarrassing. I’m never going to defend what happened during the election, but the inauguration of our 45th President is just days away and many of our role models of civility are severely lacking. The election of Barack Obama in 2008 proved that the color of your skin would never again be a hinderance for gaining the highest elected office in the land. I wasn’t a big fan of his politics but he inspired hope when he positioned himself as a transformational leader.
Four years later he won the White House again, and I liked his politics even less and really felt the tide of civility was being washed over by the rise of political bullying. We all know about the bully, what they are really about and why they do what they do. It was the professional political class saying that any objection to the policies of our 44th president was tantamount to racism.
But still I taught students that respecting the office of those in authority was an important part of our tradition as American citizens. We might not like or agree with certain people, but their position came with certain privileges; most importantly that we respect them and understand that, as President Obama once famously said, “elections have consequences.”
Lately it has been difficult, and my teaching on the western philosophical tradition doesn’t seem to gain as much traction because it’s more difficult to find oppositional representatives who haven’t blown a mental or emotional gasket. Some have gone as far as threatening people who call into question the legitimacy of our next president.
Part of growing up is realizing that you don’t always get your way, that you have to ask some tough questions at times and more often than we like, things might not go our way. Seems like it’s time for some adults in our country to revisit the tenets of Seneca, Aristotle, Plato and Epicurus who all taught that the world doesn’t revolve around our wants, whims and desires. Teachers try really hard to teach children that they don’t always get their way and that just because they don’t isn’t permission to cry, whine and behave like a baby.
But why not, when that’s what they see all around them especially in the places of power, which are supposed to represent our most mature examples of citizenship and dignity. Time to grow up adults, and we better do it fast because I have classes to teach!
Lance Scranton teaches and is a coach at Moffat County High School.Lance Scranton teaches and is a coach at Moffat County High School.Lance Scranton teaches and is a coach at Moffat County High School.
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