I’ve noticed lately that fewer and fewer people know how behave in a respectful manner while in public. I know I must not be the first person to make this observation and I’m willing to bet that a great many others have made the same observation in recent times.
There was an incident this past weekend at the Woodstock Fair, in Woodstock Connecticut that prompted the writing of this article. I was sitting in the second row of seats that were set up for audiences in front of one of the stages. I was with a couple hundred other people who were there to listen to a particular concert. Unfortunately very few of us were able to hear the music because there were so many groups in the audience that insisted on carrying out loud conversations during the entire hour and a half concert. The sound system was more than adequate and so was the volume of the music. It was just that the groups were so loud and obnoxious. There were five different loud and obnoxious groups in my immediate vicinity, including a couple sitting in the front row that were the loudest. I was there to listen to music but instead was forced to listen to a lengthy and detailed discussion about every single painful dental procedure one of the women experienced.
If this was just an isolated incident I don’t believe it would be worth doing an article about it. That incident however is a symptom of problems our society is facing right now. Other symptoms of these problems include college students shouting down everyone that has a different viewpoint, members of the Trump Administration being harassed and bullied by mobs when they show up at restaurants, and Antifa physically attacking a group trying to hold a prayer meeting.
Morality, discipline, manners, and respect for others are concepts that are no longer taught in public schools. Feeling good about yourself and the belief that you are the most important person in the universe have replaced those old fashion concepts. None of those ten or so loud individuals, just in my area, gave a second thought to the far greater number of individuals who sat there for the sole purpose of listening to the concert.
Schools have stopped teaching us the important truth that every individual has a responsibility to exercise their right of freedom of speech, along with every other right, in a manner that does not interfere with the rights of anyone else. Responsibly coexisting with others while we are exercising our rights was a frequent topic preached by those who wrote and ratified the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Those loud individuals do have freedom of speech, just like each and every other individual. Every individual in that audience however had the right to listen to and enjoy the concert. Since the audience was sitting in an area designated for them, their right to listen trumped the free speech rights of the loud individuals. The loud individuals had the rest of the fair grounds to talk. They could have sat in a different area and conversed while listening to the music and not pissed off a lot of people.
Every symptom I mentioned earlier in this article could be solved if every individual exercised their rights in a manner that did not interfere with the rights of others. Colleges used to be bastions of freedom of speech for everyone, where everyone could have respectful back and forth dialogues. If everyone respected the right of everyone else to dine where they choose would people be harassed into fleeing restaurants because of who their boss is? There is never an excuse for violence against anyone. It should be repulsive for everyone to hear that people are being taught that words can be violence and that this supposed violence must be stamped out by real violence.
The message that we must exercise our rights with responsibility is a crucial message that all schools should impart on their students. Since schools are not spreading that message I believe it is vital that we spread it ourselves.