Perhaps I overdosed on Anderson Cooper’s frenetic chatter or four extremist heads arguing political nonsense or Sarah Palin and Levi the tattooed opportunist jawing at each other. Anyway, I came up with the feeling that the greatest problem we face (apart from Peace in Our Time) is a lack of civility. Courtesy. Politesse. Good manners. How could I have overlooked this bit of dialogue I wrote several years ago that encapsulates my argument?
[The school teacher tells her lover,] “You know what I believe? Anti-social behavior is the biggest, most major problem now. Before 9/11, but more now. Anyone who doesn’t think so just ain’t serious.”
“What’s the solution?” he asked, admiring this reflective side of her. “Do what your brother [the police officer] does?”
“No, of course not.” She propped herself on an elbow and tapped his chest with the pack of cigarettes. “Love ’em. I love people, but just the ones who deserve it. I can love them even though I don’t like them. Certain people…well, I also make love so they know that I care.” Her tongue rotated lasciviously around her lips.
He felt a laugh gurgle up. “You can’t make love to the whole world! It’d take forever.”
“Well, for evil people, there’s another answer.” Her large eyes twinkled. “Throw all the guns in the ocean. Barring that, castrate all the sociopaths. Gotta be an answer there somewhere.”
This is an extreme dichotomy--and I’ll overlook the sexual intimations--but it's all there.