ROSE NOLEN: Political parties must behave responsibly

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | 12:01 a.m. CST

The old women in my family had many ancient sayings. One of them was that "class tells."

I always think about that one when I hear people referring to the new federal government health care law as Obamacare. The use of the president's last name in that disrespectful manner always tells me that these political leaders are not in the same class with people like the late R. Sargent Shriver, who passed away recently. Mr. Shriver will go down in history for pioneering the Jobs Corps and heading the War on Poverty. His legacy of serving others touched the lives of millions. The current congressional leaders who wish to be noticed for their bad manners and disrespect for the president will also go down in history on a different page.

And I'm sorry some of these people think it's helpful to bring up our notorious political history as if that somehow justifies behaving today in a less-than-civil manner. Most of us learned in school about the duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton in 1804 and about the severe beating Sen. Charles Sumner underwent in the halls of Congress in 1856 at the hands of Rep. Preston Brooks. That's like saying that because man hopped around on all fours before he learned to walk upright it's OK for him to revert back to hopping around today. Some of us believe in the theory of evolution, and we actually look forward to becoming better than we were. When we resort to being uncivil it means that we are devolving rather than evolving. While some may be proud of that, most of us are not.

While we are on the subject of political leadership, ultimately Americans are going to have to decide what kind of information can be put on the nation's airwaves. I realize many believe there should be no restrictions on that information. However, it seems to me when people deliberately distort and fabricate American history and distribute it over the airwaves as facts, some kind of penalty should be extracted.

Unfortunately, we understand that all of our technological progress will not be used to advance our civilization. There are many Americans devoted to evil. They have no interest in doing good work. They put our technology to use to produce and distribute pornography, to steal personal information to use other people's identity and to contact others to rob them in dishonest scams. Use of the Internet for questionable purposes is clearly out of control. How long this will be allowed to go on in the name of First Amendment rights is anybody's guess. Somehow, we Americans tend to carry everything to the extreme.

But it's when leaders of our federal government begin to behave irresponsibly that we should really be concerned. Most of us realize that our country is falling behind other countries in too many important ways for us just to sit back and allow our government officials to spend their time on their re-election campaigns instead of the public's business.

Our public education system, for example, is virtually in shambles. While students in other parts of the world are getting world-class educations, too many of our young people are falling by the wayside. This cannot continue if we are to take our place as world leaders. And the disgrace of it all is that we use our freedoms as an excuse for abandoning our responsibilities. We are quick to point out that we have freedom of choice in every area as if that lets us off the hook for fulfilling our obligations as citizens.

We can only hope that either the two political parties begin to come to their senses and realize that they are destroying the country or we Americans find a way to change our system of governing before it's too late. As it is, the manner in which our leaders are playing with our children's future is criminal.

A brief examination of the two parties' daily agenda informs us that this is all a game to these people. They are only working to get elected or re-elected for another two or four years. What happens to the country in the meantime is anybody's guess.

It's time to wake up and smell the beans. They're burning.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or e-mailing her at

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John Schultz February 1, 2011 | 9:44 a.m.

We can only hope that Ms. Nolen's hoped-for technological blocking of the First Amendment might keep Joe Biden from dropping F bombs at open mics.

(Report Comment)
Ellis Smith February 1, 2011 | 10:49 a.m.

Other than those items, Rose, do you detect any problems? By the way, our public school systems are locally and not federally based. Should they be administered by the federal government?

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 1, 2011 | 11:08 a.m.

A quick google of Sargent Schriver showed him, as I suspected, the founder of Peace Corp. Nothing about the Jobs Corp.

Ms. Nolen, Pres. Reagan's economic plan for our country was referred to by Democrats as "Reaganomics", but then the plan started working and the sarcasm quickly diminished. Perhaps President Obama will enjoy the same relief, assuming he can get his plan out the courts.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks February 1, 2011 | 11:09 a.m.

"R. Sargent Shriver, who passed away recently. Mr. Shriver will go down in history for pioneering the Jobs Corp"

I thought Sargent Shriver was the founder of the Peace Corp not Job Corps. Huge difference.

(Report Comment)
frank christian February 1, 2011 | 11:12 a.m.

Sorry, Corey.

(Report Comment)
Michael Williams February 1, 2011 | 11:17 a.m.

I guess I would have appreciated Ms Nolan's comments on verbal civility if she had been as critical of the epithet "teabagger" as she was of "Obamacare".

There's lots of words used in a "disrespectful" manner, but I guess "Obamacare" was the only one worth mentioning.

Or, perhaps it's just a one-way verbal street.

Otherwise, well-written article.

(Report Comment)
Greg Allen February 1, 2011 | 10:15 p.m.

It's an interesting point, that we keep digressing into incivility. I saw on a local TV website today that the Ark. GOP is asking a county official to resign because he participates in a 'pro-white' organization. The official declined to end his participation. (Sorry I don't have the details of the official or the organization, but the org's CEO is quoted as saying that they aren't racist, they're just pro-white and against mixing races. The distinction escapes me). Although equal rights are supposed to be guaranteed by law, in the last decade or so I keep seeing evidence of quiet organized racism popping up. I hesitate to make this comparison because others in history have gotten in trouble for it, but when you see one cockroach then there are hundreds in hiding. We're moving at the speed of mud, and it seems that there will always be people who fight to drag us backward. But at least we're moving.

(Report Comment)
Corey Parks February 2, 2011 | 11:47 a.m.

LOL beat me by {---------) that much.

(Report Comment)

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