Tax The Rude, Not Me!
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Let’s face it: the Golden Rule is tarnished...

Common courtesy doesn’t exist anymore. Civility, manners, and politeness are nostalgic memories. We’re more mean-spirited than ever.

At concerts, in the air, in supermarkets, in business dealings, at sporting events, everywhere, people are selfish, angry, rude and crude (doctors are even being cited for rudeness in malpractice suits).  And former President Clinton convened the National Commission on Civic Renewal, after citing a “toxic atmosphere of cynicism" back in 1997.

The media has been taking notice of our bad manners and bad attitudes and some of the statistics, insights and suggestions are politely offered here for you to access:

In a July 18, 2000 report, researchers confirm we’re in the midst of an anger and rudeness epidemic. “Going postal” – there’s even a catchphrase for our hostility and uncivil behavior. This USA Today piece by Karen S. Peterson helps us understand what contributes to today’s short tempers.

If you've ever suspected that the multitude of "gross-out" movies and technological empowerment can turn us into rude, self-centered, mannerless creatures, this masterful and thought-provoking article by writer George Will will send chills up your spine!

An ABCNEWS/World News Tonight Poll confirms that most of us (85%) feel that a simple “thank you” and “please” would make the world a better place. And more than 8 out of 10 Americans “say the failure of parents to instruct their children in good behavior is a ‘major cause’ of bad manners” -- adults with kids are “as likely as those without to say that bad parenting is a major cause of bad manners."

The evidence is in: most of us work in a "toxic" environment. Workplace incivility, is rampant -- rude, petty, mean, bullying, back-stabbing, and disrespectful co-workers and bosses are responsible for job stress, low morale, and more. Here's The Washington Post’s take on this troubling trend.

Did you know that rude people at work are three times more likely to be in higher positions than their targets? And that almost one in four of us experience chronic anger in the workplace?

Desk rage -- or more to the point Cubicle Rage -- has people feeling pushed over the edge and hurling flying objects and abuse at co-workers.  Fewer people doing more work crowded into smaller spaces is taking its toll.  A new national survey finds that 42%  said yelling and verbal abuse took place at work.

Workplace rudeness affects your work, your enthusiasm, and your loyalty and relationships.  Sandra Ford Walston offers some thoughts on rudeness in the workplace and some tips for surviving offensive co-workers.

What are the costs of rudeness to business?  Here are the results of a survey conducted by ETICON, Inc., which include  revealing quotes from some of the respondents!

American kids are scared, real scared.  The Sesame Workshop studied youngsters ages 6 to 11 and two out of three had a "surprising fear of violence."  They vividly depicted worries about guns, death, and violence.  Among kids aged 9 to 11, 3 out of 4 share the same fears.

If you’ve experienced impatient, inconsiderate, disrespectful, incompetent, rude and nonexistent "customer service", author and behavioral researcher Dr. P.L. Frank proves it’s not your imagination.

Do sales clerks ignore or mistreat you? Do rude, untrained, and distracted salespeople make your shopping experiences unsatisfying? This Reader’s Digest feature seeks to explore why we get poor customer service.

The Chronicle of Higher Education addresses classroom rudeness -- insubordination and intimidation. A professor asks the class to solve an equation and a student shouts, “Who gives a s---?” A teacher refuses to change a grade and a student screams, “You godamned bitch..”  Courses are hijacked by classroom terrorists who are simply not civilized.

Schools are awash in bad behavior.” In a Washington suburb elementary school, an 8-year-old threatened to burn down the building, a fifth-grader told his teacher to shut up, and a first-grader exposed himself.  Worst of all, “arrests later in life can be predicted by a child’s elementary school infractions.”

Four girls aged 11 to 13 allegedly tried to kill their teacher by pouring drain cleaner into her water bottle -- because as one girl put it, the teacher was picking on her.  Where are the parents of these teenage would-be killers?  Experts probe for answers here.

Is there such a thing as childhood innocence?  The Parents Television Council sees a lot more foul language and violence aimed at kids during the so-called family hour than most parents realize. Coarse language is up 78% since 1999 -- some 10 million kids on average watch TV from 8 - 9 PM.

Parents are at the forefront of helping to nurture a spirit kindness and in this “mom to mom strategy” feature, “Teaching Kindness in Schools” looks at how school administrators and teachers can also instill a kind atmosphere in the classroom.

We must move toward or return to a more civil society…Respect not rudeness is key to violence reduction,” says the American Bar Association. In fact, “the average child entering 5th grade has seen hundreds of thousands of acts of violence on television...and many psychologists believe the overexposure to violence has a numbing effect, a desensitizing of youth.”

Cuss is a four-letter word.  These days, swearing in public is pervasive and foul language has become a habit for many -- with role models like sports stars, rock stars, celebrities, and cartoon characters leading the cultural decline.  But some are swearing off swearing according to

Frustration, anger and rage are appearing at restaurants, too.  We're going over the top, flying off the handle over minor irritations, and going ballistic over the beef stew at the drop of a hat.  Why is that?

Yes, adult rudeness trickles down to the young. Here’s one mother who wants to teach her child manners, and considers herself “responsible for shaping the character of a child into a young person who (I hope) will never imitate the rudeness she is hearing all around her.”

It had to happen -- the technology that enables the boorish and rude to punish the rest of us in restaurants, doctors’ offices, theaters, buses, elevators, and even public toilets is provoking cell phone rage nationwide.

A patron at a jazz club shushes the singer to take a cell phone call.  Actor Laurence Fishburne is a hero for quieting a cell-toting miscreant during a Broadway play.  And when Susan Golding, Mayor of San Diego, asked about cell phone  use on her web site, 73% of those who responded favored restricting cell phones in public places.

“Bare your soul in private. TURN OFF THAT CELL PHONE!” Commonweal’s Sidney Callahan says that second-hand intimacy, your “involuntary immersion in other people’s intimate lives, audibly broadcast in trains, buses, planes, elevators, or on the street, is a subtle form of battery.”  And “if there are laws against boom boxes, car alarms and leaf blowers, why not against cell phones?”  Agreed.

The Bermuda Sun reviews the problem and asks questions about private space.  A cell phone user arguing loudly with a spouse across from you on a train considers you the intruder. Whaaat? A Zagat's online Diners' Bill of Rights survey shows 95% want a separate smoking and cell phone area -- over 9 out of 10!

Electronic rudeness is rampant, and it’s not just cell phone abusers taking calls in a church during a sermon!  It’s also pagers, video-conferencing cameras, hand-held computers, e-mail, and more. With rude behavior so prevalent, Gannett News Service asked 7 etiquette experts to compile a guide to high-tech manners.

It’s about time -- the terminally rude, hopelessly obnoxious, and chronically self-important are banished to their own “cell phone lounge” so the rest of us can enjoy our dinners in peace.

Anyone’s who’s taken a flight lately can relate to the bad behavior of fellow passengers, unruly brats that parents don’t control, arm wrestling for the armrest, etc. – you’ll hardly believe these true stories.

A writer for the Los Angeles Business Journal examines the rudeness of air passengers and airline personnel toward each other – uncivil behavior that’s at an all time high.  He says, “The environment at airports is more hellish than heavenly.”

Crabby, ill-mannered flight crew treating you rudely? It's not your imagination.  They're being mean and the rumor is that they refer to us as "the enemy."  Check out this story before you press the call button.

A mother and her son share their views and issue a call to action for African-American women to “wake up and face our reality…If we want respect, getting it is on us.  This impassioned feature points out “Black women’s tremendous power” to fend off the epidemic of disrespect that “compromises our quality of life.

There’s nothing cute about high-energy kids who are rude in public.  This mom  understands -- so here’s a letter from the parent of a “spirited” child to other parents in which she advises, “Spirit is not an excuse for rudeness.”

With hostile and violent drivers everywhere, chances are you've witnessed some aggressive driving incident up close and personal.  For insight, help, and traffic safety resources, stop at this excellent site on driving behavior and road rage.

We’re alarmed and concerned -- a meanness epidemic pervades everything we do and the signs point to America "sliding down a slippery slope toward a cesspool of misbehavior." This excellent feature, "Rude Rage," discusses our incivility and offers some good advice.

In our pressure-cooker world, is there any chance for civility, moral values and polite behavior to survive?  “Closer to Truth” helps creative and thoughtful scientists, scholars and artists explore these issues on public television, and you can tap into the transcript of Whatever Happened to Ethics and Civility?

Former ill-behaved students at an elementary school in San Gabriel, CA, are courteous, volunteer to clean up the cafeteria, teach computer skills to younger pupils, learn ethical values, responsibility, and compassion in an education program called Values in Action -- here's a school with a safe, caring environment.

Changing things for the better is what this column in the St. Petersburg Times is all about, and says that “Each of us has the power to bring back civility”, by Douglas Spangler.

Rudeness takes many forms. And many people practice downright rudeness daily.  So here’s something to keep in mind: a rude encounter is remembered for a lifetime.  Let’s think about how we want to be remembered -- and maybe try to be worth remembering.

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