Where have all the polite and respectful people gone?

Tom Andrew

“What ever happened to ‘Please may I?’ and ‘Yes, thank you’ and ‘How charming!'” Late lyricist Fred Ebb wrote those lyrics for the song Class that is from the musical Chicago in 1975 and sadly things haven’t gotten any better. In fact they’ve gotten worse from what I can see.
I’m just a college student who was taught old-fashioned values I guess. My grandparents, and my parents, just gave me a few pointers on what they thought was polite. Through the years I have continued to do them. But the more time passes, the less I see others doing those things.
The 1940’s was a bad time for some, but it was also a time when people looked at going to the movies, or to live theatre, as an event. It was something to get dressed up for. Nowadays, and I am just as guilty of this, people will often wear shorts and a t-shirt. A sign of the times most will say.
What we wear may not sound like a big deal to some, and honestly it really isn’t, but respect of others is.
We have all been there, we have all seen it, in fact we may have even participated in it knowingly, or not.
When was the last time you crossed the street and actually waved thank you to the drivers you were holding back? Or said excuse me as you passed in front of someone in the isle of a grocery store, knowing you were blocking them as you passed by? The most famous sign of respect is to hold a door open for the elderly, or to apologize when you’ve cut someone off on the road.
These are all things that we instinctively know, but seemingly do less of.
The law requires that you not use your cell phone in the car, yet I can’t tell you how many people I see on the phone while driving, the many people who cut in front of you without a turn signal. So, why do we do it? Why do we not seem to care for our fellow man?
This world has plenty of great things, and the more time passes the more wonderful things we seem to have to look forward to. Thing is, how can we really enjoy those things if we can’t take a few seconds to give something back?
A silent thank you, a wave, an excuse me, holding a door open, respecting those on the street along side you, those things cost nothing, but in the long run, have many benefits.
Try it. It can’t hurt.

Tom Andrew is a City Times staff writer