Are all vestiges of politeness and decorum beginning to vanish?

The Way I See It

Fr Michael Commane

Is there anyone who does not have a radio in their house? It's doubtful. Every car is fitted with one. Radios are ubiquitous. It has been a great invention.

With the arrival of the internet we can listen to radio stations from anywhere in the world. You can either download the appropriate app or buy an internet radio. The advantage of an internet radio over an app on your computer or tablet is that there is the facility to pre-tune stations. Perfect if you are in bed and are turning on or off the radio in the dark.

It must be two or three years since I tuned in to Patriot Radio. It is a station based in Phoenix Arizona but it seems it has affiliates right across the United States. Many of the programmes are syndicated. Millions of Americans listen to Patriot Radio. Regularly I make a promise not to tune in anymore but curiosity gets the better of me and I'm back listening to it. No words can accurately describe how right-wing it is. It is wall-to-wall vitriolic bile against everything and everyone who espouses views that are not ultra right-wing. Donald Trump is their darling.

Last week I heard a presenter say that left wing people cannot be good or happy. Presenters have called the sacked director of the FBI James Comey, among other things, a liar. They have fired incredible insults at the former CIA boss John Brennan and have no trouble calling him a traitor. It constantly repeats that conservatives are genuinely and intrinsically good while liberals and those with left-wing views are nasty and evil. It pays homage to Donald Trump and despises Barack Obama. These presenters are educated people, lawyers, some have been advisers to former US presidents.

The world seems to be in the strangest of places. Last week it was reported that after the murder of the UK Labour MP Jo Cox it was agreed between the leavers and the remainers in the Brexit vote that there would be a pause in campaigning to honour Jo Cox. The leavers did not keep to the agreement.

We all seem to be shouting at the other side and most of the nastiness appears to be coming from the right-wing. But am I saying that because I consider myself to have views and opinions that frequently concur with a left-wing or liberal view? Are all vestiges of politeness and decorum vanishing off the face of the earth? What's happening? It seems we refuse to listen to those with different opinions and ideas, instead we are sneering at them and dismissing their thinking.

We are seeing how angry and dysfunctional the world of politics has become. It's been raising its ugly head right across society, on all continents. It is also evident in the churches. Church right-wingers make an art of being secret and sly.

Jesuit priest Richard Leonard has written a piece in the English Catholic weekly 'The Tablet' that ideology is the enemy of discernment. These days too many seem to be ideologues or culture warriors and self-righteously convinced right is only on one side.

Tune in to Patriot and hear for yourself but please, don't leave the dial stuck there. It appeals to the nastiest side of our humanity.

The world urgently needs empathy, kindness too.