Saturday, February 25, 2012

Is Decency really that uncommon?

For those of you on Facebook, I've been having a little debate with a man who seems to think he is entitled to be judge, jury, and executioner for a woman who was arrested for DUI and several other offenses after running into the One World Cafe at the corner of University and Main a couple of nights ago. Somehow, he doesn't seem to understand that prejudging that woman is wrong. Yes, she was arrested for DUI, and yes, she drove a car into a building near the college. But what he doesn't seem to get is our ability to judge based solely on the account of the media is limited, at best. If fact, Decent people do not judge others without ALL the facts

So we are all on the same page, this is one definition of Decency found on the web. (There are many others, but basically they all contain the same information.)

de·cen·cy n. pl. de·cen·cies
1. The state or quality of being decent; propriety.
2. Conformity to prevailing standards of propriety or modesty.
3. decencies
a. Social or moral proprieties.
b. Surroundings or services deemed necessary for an acceptable standard of living.

Now, I am probably just flapping my jaws here, but being decent means I don't prejudge another's actions until all the FACTS are in. I wasn't the arresting officer, I wasn't on the scene, I wasn't in the car, and I wasn't a witness. To my knowledge, neither was the individual who is assuming the woman is guilty without all the facts beyond the media. And that is not only a mistake, it is Indecent.

Indecency is when you prejudge without all the facts. It is a lot like prejudice or discrimination. In this case, it is akin to being a vigilante, a person with no regard for the rule of law or the system of government under which we live. A person who, unwittingly or not, is advocating "Lynch Mob" mentality instead of letting the system do its job is a person who would be willing to set fire to a neighbor's house if they were caught dealing drugs. Granted, it is a tempting thing to do, but doing it make you an arsonist, and perhaps a murderer.

Indecency is a slippery slope, just like prejudice or discrimination. Once it is "okay" to prejudge some people and not others, once it is okay to obey some laws and not others, like say walking in the street instead of using the sidewalk, or walking across private property without the permission of the owner, the individual begins to think, "Well, its not really that important." Once the law is not important, the police become just another thing to keep you down. Once the law is not important, you begin to think society is not important. And the end result is what we have in many areas of the country today. People who respect nothing and continue to justify anything.

At the end of the movie "Bonfire of the Vanities", Morgan Freeman addresses an unruly courtroom and tells people that decency "is what your grandmother taught you. Its in your Bones!". I think he was addressing something I was taught by my parents many, many years ago. They used to call manners Common Decency. Perhaps it is uncommon now, but I would like to think it is still there.

No comments:

Post a Comment