NEWS

Amanda Jacobs: News of the rude

Amanda Jacobs

Several seemingly unrelated news stories have served to remind me of one thing: This country seriously needs to acquire some manners.

Our nation is fighting two wars and entrenched in economic turmoil, but the subject that has captivated  everyone is Tiger Woods’ infidelity, and news outlets seem intent on sniffing out every single sordid detail. Yes, Woods is a very famous athlete, but that doesn’t make his private life anyone else’s business.

I wish the media would focus on more important things and leave Woods alone to work out his personal issues, but I doubt that will happen. Like I wrote last week, this country is obsessed with celebrity.

The quest for fame is what drove Tareq and Michaele Salahi to crash a state dinner at the White House. I thought they had reached the height of rudeness, but now they plan to plead the fifth when they appear before the House Homeland Security Committee in January. If you’re going to show up somewhere uninvited, the least you can do is give the host an explanation when you get caught.

Also in Washington, senators have been bickering like brats over the proposed health care overhaul. During a debate about Medicare cuts, Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn delivered this lovely statement to seniors: “I have a message for you: You’re going to die sooner.”

I’m sure that comment and all the rest of the bile that senators have been spewing has really done a lot of fix this nation’s broken health care system. Maybe the illustrious members of the Senate should stop scaring the American people and attacking each other and focus on getting their work done.

In Illinois, state health officials have announced that H1N1 vaccinations are now available to everyone, not just people in the “priority groups” designated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Unfortunately, this announcement could not come soon enough for some people, and many showed up at vaccination clinics even though they weren’t members of a priority group.

I had the misfortune of running into such a person when I got my shot last month. As a worker went down the line ensuring that everyone was in a priority group — I qualified because I have asthma, if you were wondering — the woman behind me unapologetically declared that she wasn’t in any of the groups but that she intended on getting a vaccine anyway. “I get sick a lot,” she said angrily. “What difference is one shot going to make?”

Well, ma’am, your getting a shot stops someone who really needs one from getting it, and all the people who think their one shot won’t make a difference are bound to add up eventually. Plus, you are extremely unpleasant and rude, and everyone in the line would like you to leave.

Even though I was extremely annoyed that this woman was allowed to stay in line and get a shot, I didn’t actually say any of those things to her. Why? Because I consider myself to be a polite person.

I say “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me.” I hold the door for people. I don’t hang up the phone without saying goodbye, even on telemarketers. I mind my own business, I don’t show up places where I’m not invited, and I don’t try to cut others down or intimidate them to get my way.

I’m not saying I’m perfect, but I really do a make a conscious effort to be considerate.

That’s why it’s so shocking to encounter so many people who are nosy or petty or just plain rude — both in person and in the news.

But I guess it’s not polite to talk about people, so I won’t say anything more.

Contact Amanda Jacobs at ajacobs@pekintimes.com.