Email Ken Stallings   The Death of Civiliy

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Civility has died in America.  Today far too many people tie up everything in their lives around politics.  They choose their friends based on politics, shun people based on politics, and it appears many now even choose their sports teams and favorite athletes based on politics.

What's that?

Yes, as witnessed by a virulently angry reaction by many fans of the Seattle Seahawks football team, even a visit to see the sitting President of the United States is enough to warrant death threats!  This is no joke.

Seahawks stars Matt Hasselbeck and Mack Strong, starting quarterback and running back, decided to attend a luncheon featuring President George W. Bush.  This luncheon was in connection to Bush's recent visit to Bellevue, Washington.  At this event, the two Seahawks players presented the President a Seahawks players jersey.  This wasn't the first time athletes presented a sitting President with a team jersey.  Indeed, it has happened many times.

However, this may be the first time that scores of fans turned in season tickets, telephoned two star athletes to make death threats on their answering machines, and write letters of pure anger and vitriolic hatred.

So nasty was the reaction and widespread, that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer assigned one of their columnists to write about the details.  In Jim Moore's September 6th column, Hasselbeck commented on death threats left on his answering machine with incredulous "Huh?  Seriously?" 

Yes, they were serious.  They really wanted to murder a professional football quarterback because he visited a President he twice voted for and gave him a shirt.  One wonders what special reaction is reserved for truly evil men who wince at the smell of a soiled diaper, fail to open a door for a lady, or refuse to put the lid down on the toilet after using it!

But on a more serious note, Hasselbeck demonstrates an astuteness clearly absent by the virulent angry left wing in America.  "Politics can be very mean and dirty.  The things politicians say about each other, and what activists say, I had a brief glimpse of that for a couple of days.  If I ever had any questions about whether I wanted to run for office, I now know the answer -- I don't."

Mack Strong echoed the incredulous reaction when he said, "Any time you have a world leader come to your city, you should welcome him whether you like the person or not. That was the right thing to do."

Matt Hasselbeck and Mack Strong are by all accounts good men of character.  They are the type of responsible professional athletes who are loyal to their families, keep their noses clean, and strive to be good citizens of their community.  And that civic mindedness means they have visited Democratic political leaders such as then Vice-President Al Gore.  Of note, that visit did not find death threats left on their answering machines.

It's been said that politics is a blood sport, but that's always been considered a metaphor.  It appears there are now many who take the metaphor as a literal endorsement.  How much further from their intents lies outright violent revolution the next time an election fails to go their way!

"Democracy is the worst form of government save for all others," said Winston Churchill.  As was normal of this man, he reveals much wisdom.  When people turn their backs on democracy because they can't have the world precisely the way they want it, then dangerous times lie ahead for all of us.

Threatening quarterbacks with death for visiting with the President is a road sign on the path of national ruin.  Wise people pay attention to such signs and work to tear them down.  They work to put society back on the path of mutual respect.  Step one is for people to accept that there are things more important than political ideology.  Respecting the right to chose one's path in life without threat to life counts as one!

It is time for those who accept that truth to make it known we won't tolerate those who cannot, or at least won't tolerate their outright threats.

-- Ken Stallings

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