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Rowdies in Washington DC, March 20, 2010

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Message Margaret Bassett
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Talking Points Memo published vicious slurs against John Lewis and Barney Frank during tea party demonstrations at the Capitol on March 20. That's exactly what I've been thinking about in regard to this fall's midterm elections. If it weren't medical insurance reform something else would be the impetus for hot words which could inflame the campaign process.

At the age of 12 I recognized that there were no allegations too strident to hurl against Franklin Roosevelt. Is there any wonder I do not take political polemics seriously? Now, 76 years later, I don't think there are any phrases which I have missed to date. The only ones which rankle are the ones so-called bloggers engage in. The serious modern cyber pundit knows that webpages and YouTubes do not evaporate. So why such a lack of couth?

Tea Party aficionados and others of paranoid stripe leave us with one big worry. If they sat at home and hurled accusations, we could look the other way. However, in public space and with public persons, I have to wonder if "anarchy--which was the worry of New Deal days--is not rearing its ugly head. To harken back to Viet Nam, I never saw such a boorish exhibit on Mayor Daley's city hall lawn. Some proctors, mostly instructors from the University of Chicago I learned, laid down the ground rules ahead of time. If persons became rowdy, they would ask the police to remove them.

Have Americans lost their manners? First, why a lot of physical confrontation? What is the point of being hauled off? What was appropriate with TV cameras as the only means of communication may have been valid in the Sixties. Would there not be better ways now of convincing legislators of their hurts than by engaging in schoolyard brawls?

In the meantime, all of us citizens are suspect, especially if our names are associated with forward looking policies. It behooves us to come up with methodology to bring reason to unreasonable partisanship. The name is conflict resolution. The question is how to find those who can teach us, whether we write or march. There are times when blowing the whistle on each other--similar to the proctors of years past--is necessary for the good of our community.

To keep one's cool while holding onto one's ideals! What think the OEN members?

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Margaret Bassett passed away August 21, 2011. She was a treasured member of the editorial team for four years.

Margaret Bassett--OEN editor--is an 89-year old, currently living in senior housing, with a lifelong interest in political philosophy. Bachelors from State University of Iowa (1944) and Masters from Roosevelt University (1975) help to unravel important requirements for modern communication. Early introduction to computer science (1966) trumps them. It's payback time. She's been "entitled" so long she hopes to find some good coming off the keyboard into the lives of those who come after her.
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