My wife comes from a Sicilian family and one of our favorite comedians is Sebastian Maniscalco. One of his recent performances was entitled “Aren’t You Embarrassed” and can be found on Netflix or YouTube. We enjoy how he pokes fun of growing up in a Sicilian family, much like ours.
However, what is not funny is how we seem to be treating each other here in Rappahannock County. In the past, our little newspaper, the Rappahannock News used to be filled with articles about the Child Learning Center, or the culinary arts program in our local high school, or the effort shown by the many teams that participated in the Relay for Life, or how the Starfish program has impacted the lives our children.
Now the front page is filled with claims and counterclaims, or the latest lawsuit, or even displays of vulgar behavior in public places. On Rappnet, it is almost impossible to have a conversation or express a point of view without being attacked personally.
We came to Rappahannock over 20 years ago because of its natural beauty and were immediately felt welcomed by our neighbors. We made new friends, supported different organizations and really felt part of the community. Back in those days, folks would wave to you as you drove by using all of their fingers, instead of one.
So what has happened?
I have a theory. It is mine alone, but I think it may have some validity. And I believe that is valid throughout the country, just not in our little county. The political dialogue that was part of the 2016 presidential election was unlike any that we have had in recent years. Political correctness was thrown out the window. Like Rappnet, the candidates attacked each other instead of the issues.
The rest of America was watching as the bar of politeness and civility was lowered and finally simply discarded. Using the model of the behavior shown by the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we have been given permission to say anything we feel without fear of reprisal. We can attack those who disagree with us and even bend the truth if it helps our cause.
What is most troubling to me is that our children are seeing how we handle confrontation and disagreement. We are teaching them that to say you are wrong or that you are sorry is a sign of weakness. We are showing them that it is impossible to cooperate and collaborate because we won’t get everything our way. Is this behavior that we are modeling what we want our children to embrace as they grow into adults?
So I ask you Rappahannock, “Aren’t You Embarrassed?” If you are like I am, what do you plan to do to change the current dialogue and direction in our county and in our country?