Madison Ruppel: Respect needed

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We are taught to respect our elders and to emulate their wise ways. Right now it is easier said than done. People say that this election is a contentious one, but then again, aren’t they all?

United States citizens are entitled to their own opinion and the right to vote on a leader of their choice. But when did civility and respect go out the door when approaching these subjects, and why does nobody seem to care? I was at the stoplight at Lincoln Avenue and Third Street a few days ago, and as there have been several times before, there were a few political advocators standing on the corner. Among them was an elderly couple holding up Romney/Ryan signs and smiling at those passing by. As the light turned green I saw a woman drive by — a woman who I have known for several years and whose kids I have skied with — and as she went, the passenger window rolled down, her fist went up shaking a thumbs down, and I could see her booing the old couple. The look on her face was one of hate and disgust — something you’d see on a Halloween mask.

How can people be so ignorant as to say everyone has the right to share their views, and then value their own so much that they attempt to suppress and desecrate those of the opposite opinion? There is so little respect between political parties right now that some people think there is no merit to the arguments and positions taken by their contemporaries, so they resort to personal attacks and mindless anger — influencing their children to do the same. Very few seem to encourage research and investigation into the truth, so that we may look past the superfluous personal attacks and dig deep enough to uncover facts. By doing this we tend to retain individual thought and are able to form a well-educated perspective.

A quote of scripture that I think is quite appropriate to this election is from Ecclesiastes 9:17: “The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” Take that as you may, but a leader should be one who speaks meaning and truth and gains credit with the people without needing to use any forms of attack. I accept that this happens to both sides and reproach it happening at all.

On another note, I would like to validate a few teachers I have this year for being conscientious of there place of influence and knowing that it is not their job to express personal political opinions in class. When approaching the subject, they are sure to present a completely 50/50 stance and express no hint as to which candidate or party they prefer. Rather, they offer facts and evidence so that we as students may form our own views. I am 17 and recognize that the qualities of respect, civility, active thought and accountability seem to be lacking in many citizens of our great country. I hope that some day the task of respecting our elders can be one taken seriously, which will only happen when we as one nation start respecting one another.

Madison Ruppel

Steamboat Springs

Comments

Kevin Haynes 1 year, 9 months ago

Well said, Madison! Well said. I loved reading this yesterday while the election was in full swing, and even more today after reading post after political post on Facebook. It's too easy, when we don't approve of what a leader does, to not only criticize the leader, but to also demean him/her and belittle his/her supporters. That's way too prevalent in today's politics, unfortunately.

Also, I loved your quote from Ecclesiastes. It was perfect! And it's true - I will more readily listen to someone who quietly and earnestly wants to express his opinion than I will to someone who just screams insults and derogatory comments.

I can see you're going to be a leader in a new political atmosphere that I hope we begin to embrace soon. Thank you for seeking to lead the way.

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Robert Dippold 1 year, 9 months ago

Wow! From a 17 year old!

Madison, I had thought that politics had only recently turned nasty but my 17 year old son informed me that the Jefferson vs. Adams race for President was among the worst of our history. However, your point is about how the people react to each other and I couldn't agree more. I do hope that your generation can be more civil to each other than mine. We are setting a horrible example, but people like you can reverse the trend. Speak out and be strong. Great job!

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Brian Kotowski 1 year, 9 months ago

I think you probably meant Adams/Jackson in 1829, and it was a doozy. The Adams campaign claimed Mrs. Jacksons' divorce wasn't legal and that the Jacksons were adulterers as a result. The Jackson camp retaliated; charging that Adams pimped girls to the Russian Czar while serving as our ambassador there.

On the other hand, the Obama campaign charged Romney with murder. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

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Robert Dippold 1 year, 9 months ago

Brian,

You very well might have been right about 1829, but I believe I am correct.
It just surprised me because it was not the fairy tale that I was taught in grade school.

1800: Jefferson hired a writer named James Callender to attack President Adams. He wrote that John Adams is “a repulsive pedant,” a “gross hypocrite,” and “a hideous hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensiblity of a woman.”

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Steve Lewis 1 year, 9 months ago

Thanks Madison. A well-written letter. We need to hear more from you, if you don't mind.

I don't think Madison intends to accept our history of uncivil politics as sufficient reason to bear more of it. And why should the rest of us? Her letter speaks in part about the national discourse, but I read it to be largely about her neighbors.

Let's do better.

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