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Reaction to Mudslinging: When is the nasty cycle going to end?

Friday, September 5, 2008

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  • We have rights, but responsibility too.

    We have rights, but responsibility too.

Written by Kristina Feher

Booing.
Hissing.
Mocking laughter.

It didn't matter which electoral candidate was speaking, each got a nasty slap in the face with some of the aforementioned reactions from our very own University of Guelph students.

Sitting in the third row, I found myself shaking my head so much, it was sore by the end of the debate. I was disgusted and ashamed of the unprofessional and disrespectful responses coming from my fellow students.

I am not speaking of tiny giggles, disapproving whispers between student council representatives, or questions being passed between peers.

I'm talking about loud, obnoxious laughs that are meant to humiliate the speaker, booing and other unacceptable responses.

Example? For the independent candidate, the laughter in reaction to his response to a question was overwhelming to the point I could no longer hear him speaking...and I was in the third row! And at another moment, the booing for Gloria Kovach got so loud, it was impossible to hear her either. "I even heard one male student behind me say quite loudly, towards Conservative candidate, Gloria Kovach, 'then stop the war, bitch' ".

My question is directed towards the students who attended, and decided it was acceptable to throw any notion of respect out the window:

What the hell is your problem?

Why do you think that kind of behaviour is acceptable in a, supposedly, civilized society? It should not be acceptable to trash these individuals simply because they do not agree with what you may believe. This was not a discussion on an open street between neighbours. This was an organized electoral debate, and the fact the candidates made the effort to attend to present their issues and policies to us, earns them our silence! How rude is it to cut someone off while they're speaking, simply because you don't agree with what they're saying.
How ticked off would YOU get if you were talking about your latest idea, or conviction to a colleague, and he started booing in your face? Seriously, do any of you who reacted in this manner think before you open your mouths?

University of Guelph prides itself on having the image that it is "more open minded" than most, yet I saw none of that last night.

A true open minded individual would have listened and respected the speaker for his/her convictions, regardless of how "ridiculous" they may be.

We DO live in a democracy, thus all views, according to such an ideal, are allowed to be expressed openly without persecution. Furthermore, these candidates have worked extremely hard to get to where they are, and that alone deserves our respect, and our silence, when they speak.

Trash them all you want when the forum is closed, but give them the respect they HAVE earned.

A candidate said part way through the debate, "You are the future of this country". As true as this is, after what I saw, (mostly heard) in Peter Clark Hall yesterday evening, I don't see an end to the lack of civility as this generation takes over Parliament Hill if we continue this kind of revolting behaviour.

If this pathetic hollering and booing is how we disapprove of our current government, or our leadership choices, then we have to be completely ashamed of ourselves and not be so surprised when there may not be any change in the future for a "better" choice. All we do is fuel the same cycle!

It seems that these individuals have this idea that just because we have the right to free speech, that it also gives us the right to be rude and obnoxious.
We ARE free to stand for what we believe is right and free to oppose what we believe is wrong--but it's HOW we do it that separates the civilized from the uncivilized, the decent from the crude, and the cultured from the uncultured.

Perhaps it's a far fetched notion for some, but sometimes it's appropriate to get some self control, think before you speak and remember what your mom probably taught you; " if you don't have anything nice to say..."

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