“The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners
without seeing any.”
I was humming and hahhing about posting this today. The reason is that I’m not interested so much in Donald Trump the politician as in the character of the man, if the two can be separated in this case. Trump’s non-stop insults and threats tell us that he is full of uncontrolled malice toward others, and a bully. No wonder people’s reaction to him.
Meryl Streep’s speech at the Golden Globes yesterday was powerful and galvanizing. In particular, she commented specifically on one aspect of Donald Trump’s behaviour. Here are her words:
There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.
And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
You can watch her speech here:
Her words reminded me of other, unsavory actions and words I have witnessed during Trump’s campaign. To me he seems to be lacking in empathy and he clearly has an enormous ego. But call me naïve, Meryl Streep’s comments made me wonder if he simply just lacks good manners? The particular incident that Streep referred to sounds like something from kindergarten.
I’m not going to voice my opinions of him as a politician, but if all that was at stake in Trump’s insults was bad manners, that would still be regrettable. Good manners are about respect for other people, and surely a president should be respectful.
So, are good manners important?
For me, good manners refer to polite and good social behaviour. Good manners lay the foundation of stable social patterns and imply certain values of human relationship that keeps society alive and kicking. Good manners imply stable values. Values like respect, loyalty, kindness, concern for others or even obligation are fundamental to our social and family rules of conduct, which have been determined by our respect for such values.
Besides, good manners are an indication of the degree of refinement whether in an individual, a society or a nation.
I believe that good manners are closely linked to moral values, and that good manners are very important for success and a happy life.
It is the crux of a healthy human relationship.