Friday, October 21, 2011
Forget Reality television, the real motherlode of televised incivility these days appears to be presidential debates. This week's GOP debate in Las Vegas showcased would-be world leaders behaving worse than mean girls at the junior high lockers. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Texas Governor Rick Perry, interlocked in a verbal wrestling match over fact versus fiction, did little to demonstrate their gentlemanly side, but spun the 'impolite' ball around the room like a roulette wheel. Perry couldn't wait to finish Romney's sentences; Romney found Perry irresistable apparently. Evidently Romney decided it was time to show America, and his challengers, that he really is a 'hands on' sorta guy. What a guy! Now they can add 'poster boy for rudeness' to their political resumes. A person's public personal space should always be respected. It is a golden rule in business and professional settings. Keep your hands to yourself. It was condescending of Romney to place his hand on his opponent's shoulder just as much as it was disrespectful of Perry to continually interrupt his neighbor. It wasn't as if these two 'buddies' had just finished shooting hoops and were headed out to grab some cold ones. Nor was this the warm, touchy-feely exchange of a few years ago between First Lady Michelle Obama and Queen Elizabeth, with each woman genuinely patting the back of the other, inspite of centuries-old protocal. The gesture had Fleet Street up in arms, but was never really viewed as anything other than an expression of sincerity. This week's behavior by men who aspire to be the next president of the United States was embarrasing, juvenile and uncalled for. Next time these guys get together, make sure they are separated by lucite panels and Anna Post is the moderator. After all, it really DOES 'Manner A lot'.