Have we stopped teaching our children basic manners and how to behave as "ladies" and "gentlemen?" Where women (and girls) were treated kindly, and with respect by the male gender. Where there was not the constant competition between the genders on who was "better" or "stronger" than the other. Common courtesy was taught as a virtue, as was mutual respect. Over the years this competition overcame common sense and the result has become the total mess we find ourselves now experiencing.

Etiquette and proper manners were also taught. Good behavior was not only encouraged but expected. Rules of society were followed as were the laws of our communities and our nation. "Innocent until proven guilty" was part of our culture and legal system. Today this is no longer true.

What ever happened to "innocent until proven guilty?" How many people (men and families) have been adversely affected by accusations of improper behavior in recent times? Celebrities, politicians, candidates, news people, entertainers and even some who are not so well known. Reputations, careers and families have been torn apart and jobs lost, all due to vague allegations and accusations often years, even decades old. Again, what ever happened to "innocent until proven guilty?"

I find it interesting that these accusations usually come at a time when the accused is in the news for some reason or in a heated contest for election or re-election. Despite denials, suddenly those accused are "found" guilty, not by a court of law, but by the "court of public opinion," which has no legal basis. What happened to "innocent until proven guilty?"

When these events occurred, why didn't the victims say or do something then? Were they really afraid of losing their jobs? Or was it intimidation by the perpetrators? (See first paragraph.) Might there have been some other reason, perhaps embarrassment? Or could innocent flirting have gone too far and been misread by the accused? There are many other "maybes" that could explain what really happened and why.

Besides memories can fade over time -- years even decades. Has the media sensationalized these allegations and accusations? Another thought -- why are the these accepted without proof? And why are the denials rejected?

We need to get back to reality, the way things were when we were taught common courtesy, respect and how to act like ladies and gentlemen.

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Herb Dettmer is a retired BG resident, U.S. Army veteran and writes this monthly column representing the viewpoint of "Joe Average" citizen. He is a freelance writer and author of "Others," a devotional book. Comments? Call or text "Joe" at 419-494-4641.

Opinions expressed in "Joe Average" are the writer's own.

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