Thursday, December 12, 2013

BEING AWARE OF OCCASIONS AND SURROUNDINGS

I use to love going to see a movie on the big screen.  I love movies and like to find myself engaged in the one I am watching that I don't really notice my surroundings.  These days, the only way to watch a movie with undivided attention to get the most out of it is to sit and watch it at home.

It is the same thing when I go out to the theatre to see a play.  I want to be able to get involved in the play without distractions and enjoy it no matter if it is silly and frivolous or serious and deep trying to get a message across.  Unfortunately, I can not bring the play to my house to watch it, I have to endure rude patrons that distract me from the play or movie as the case may be and not get all that I could get from the play.

People are rude at times.  This is the reason I don't go out to movies much anymore.  There are those people who chat amongst themselves during the whole of a movie or make comments on the movie as it is being shown.  It is rude.  I pay good money to see a movie and I should be able to sit and enjoy it, but most of the time I can't.

It isn't any different with a play although much more irritating.  To see a play at a local theatre is usually twice as expensive as seeing a movie and it is a one shot deal.  The play is performed, it is over and it will never be the same as it was on that one night.  Yet people all around sit and talk, often repeating lines that were just spoken on the stage causing the missing of the few lines coming from the stage after the line that was deemed so important it bore repeating it for the rest of those around these people.

Then there are occasions when people can be rude when the whole of the occasion calls for a decorum that is above what is required at a movie or a play.  The best example of this is a funeral or memorial service for a lost loved one who people have gathered together to remember and to celebrate the life that has passed.  As for myself, I can not remember any funeral or memorial service that I have attended where the people were not respectful of the occasion and the surroundings that brought them there.  I need to correct that last statement.  At my Uncle Melvin's funeral I had the feeling that a lot of people there attended because it was seen as an important event and was the place to be and weren't there because they necessarily knew my uncle and what he was like while he was living.  Sure, there is and should be some laughter at a funeral because everyone's life has it's moments that are remembered at such times.  But it is a short laughter and not a distraction from the reason why all of the people had gathered to remember the loved one.

A funeral or memorial service should be held with the highest respect of those attending.  The crowd that gathers are people who knew and loved the person being remembered.  They respect what the life that was had represented when the person was still walking the earth.  There is no constant chit chat during the service.  People gather at these events to remember a life.  The service is not a party and it shouldn't be.  It can be proper to have a party after the service to celebrate the life but during that time when the service is progressing and the life is being remembered in the minds of all those gathered, their thoughts should not be distracted by rude people who talk and act out and makes you wonder why they are even there.

Most of the more somber days of my life have been when I attended a service for someone who had passed.  I was at that service because the person had effected my life in a very real manner and I had great respect for them.  During these services if someone had been sitting and cracking up and making small talk during the service, it would have offended me, hurt me, and made me angry and that one time shot at being in one place with all the people that the service was paying respect to would have been ruined and not remembered as a day of celebration and remembrance.

And so now we come to the Nelson Mandela memorial service earlier this week.  I don't need to go into Mandela's life and who he was and what he accomplished.  Every one should have knowledge of that, and if you don't then educate yourself on the man.  He was a great man.  A man who stood by his beliefs and paid a heavy price for his beliefs.  He was a man who had some effect everywhere around the globe.  He was a man that shows up in history too seldom.  He was a man who deserved all the respect from all of the world.  He was a man that will never be forgotten.

If ever there was a memorial service where the mood should be somber, and reflection on a life and the changes it brought be thoughtfully considered, Mandela was the one.  Thinking over my short amount of history knowledge, I can think of few people that come close to having earned the respect that Mandela did.  Winston Churchill comes to my mind first.  I would feel like Presidents Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Lincoln along with possibly Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. would be about on that level.  Tolstoy, Orwell, Dickens, Faulkner and Steinbeck would come close to that level for the social changes that their writings brought about.

I have watched a few state funerals on television.  Funerals and memorial services of men that do not come close to the level that Nelson Mandela set.  Just taking funerals of President's lately here in the United States.  I watched, of course, President Nixon's funeral.  I saw Reagan's and Ford's.  Never have I seen the level of disrespect at any state funeral as was shown by Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt and, sadly, the President of the United States Barack Obama.

Photos were taken of the three joking around, laughing, taking photos of themselves at "The Event" during what should have been one of the most somber times in history.  It is, or should be, an embarrassment to all Americans.  I have already documented a few things that this President has done to embarrass the country and to cause us to lose respect and our place in the world.  His domestic policy is destroying the economy and his foreign policy has shifted the world's opinion of who is leading the world politically from the United States to President Putin of Russia, or at least the illusion that Putin is more of a leader than Obama.

There isn't a lot to say about what went on in South Africa.  Presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush (42) were all there and apparently they behaved as world leaders should behave.  The current President however acted like a high school kid in an assembly late on a Friday afternoon in spring.  Instead of listening and being serious at a time where it was called for, horseplay became the agenda for the day.  The President should have shown respect to Mandela by showing respect to those who were commemorating his life.  Foreign leaders and dignitaries deserve to be listened to with respect at an event such as this.  Just like he does at home though, the President did not listen to those he should be listening to.

As a citizen of the United States, the President has embarrassed me once again, but more important than all of the other times he has embarrassed me, this time he embarrassed himself.  Well, he should feel embarrassed but I doubt that he does.

The photographer who took the pictures was surprised that they caused such a fuss.  That alone stuns me but he has now moved on to trying to defend the photos that he took as a moment in time that wasn't a bad as the pictures make it appear to be.  The Liberal press , and CNN, have jumped on this story now and no long print the offending photos nor talk about how inappropriate the President's actions were during the service.  Soon we will be expected to just forget this ever happened like so many other events that have happened in this administration.

The President has shown a new low in how the world views him and along with that, how they view the United States.

Mr. President, How many more times are you going to embarrass the country and myself?  How many more situations can we endure before losing all respect from the world?  Mr. President, please grow up, read a civics book and learn how to be the President of the United States, leader of the free world.  It would do every one good if you could do that for just three more years.

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