Bill O’Reilly and Civil Discourse

Growing up, for reasons I cannot recall I was taught to respect every older human being (except my brother).

As I reflect upon it, I mean that I was to respect everyone: Neighbors, teachers, policemen, school crossing guards, etc. It was “Yes, sir,” or “No, sir.” I learned very early on to have, as dictionary.com defines it, “polite or kind regard; consideration: respect for people’s feelings.”

I also learned many years ago that civil discourse is intended to enhance understanding. A conversation differs markedly from an interrogation.  

In my “post military” employment, I learned that civil discourse had only a small space with most people of power who primarily decided that this type of discourse was only required when dealing with one’s superiors.

I expect that you all will agree with the following: Children observe and model the behaviors from what they see on television.

I can only speculate on the number of “children” that watched FOX and observed the O’Reilly interview. Is it unreasonable to assume that many of them would have “picked up” on O’Reilly’s disrespect of the President?

Would any of you like to show your children of grandchildren the O’Reilly interview as a lesson for them as to how to deal with an authority figure?

I think not!

It was a long time ago that I had occasion to admonish one of our overseas managers for being verbally abusive to her staff. She justified her behavior by saying that she was only doing what her superiors had done to her.

I believe that respect and physical or verbal abuse is a “learned behavior,” as is “civil discourse.”

Respect and civil discourse is better.