Sunday, January 18, 2009

Remembering Your Manners

As I type thousands of people are returning from We Are One, the Lincoln Memorial Concert that featured everyone from Beyonce to Bruce Springsteen. But instead of being a joyous celebration, for many people it turned into a testy and heated few hours.

People yelled, accusations were made, there were a few fights, and numerous individuals seemed to have forgotten their manners.

Given that inauguration is a large public event, there is bound to be security and traffic personnel. Rudely speaking to such personnel and not following their directions not only detracts from security measures but also fosters a negative atmosphere. Many personnel are volunteering their time, and are entitled to the decency and respect that they deserve.

Understand that this weekend’s events are going to be crowded and small spaces will be full of people. As a participant do everybody a favor and don’t get bad-tempered if people accidentally bump into you. If you’re sitting on a blanket don’t be surprised if people inadvertently step on it.

For those of you who try to bypass people who have camped out, please walk carefully. Yes, you have a right to participate in inauguration, but you don’t have the authority to trample over everyone. “Excuse me” and “sorry” need to be a part of your vocabulary.

Once you’ve reach your chosen spot act politely. Long hours of standing in cold weather are part of the inaugural experience, so it’s not an excuse to be grumpy. Use the extra time to bond with your fellow crowd members. Cattiness and name-calling aren’t acceptable social norms, and inauguration weekend is no exception. Yelling and shoving is not a part of the inaugural tradition, and participants should aim to keep it that way.

This country is facing some dire times, and for a brief weekend we have the chance to renew the nation’s spirit. In honor of this opportunity, try to remember your manners.

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