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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Call It "The Obama Effect"

I am starting to notice at least one positive effect of having a President Barack Obama. I've noticed a shift towards civility in our public discourse. We are starting to address one another with a degree of politeness and deference. The shift is not universal. There is plenty of nastiness out there. (Just journey over to the "Free Republic" forum to get your daily dose of invective.)

Of course, one would expect liberal discourse to take a term for the better since we have gotten the change which we so long have sought. But even among conservatives like Rich Lowery and Cal Thomas, I have seen a somewhat grudging acknowledgement that Pres. Obama is intelligent and sincere. That his policies, so far, have been positive and beneficial.

So, to do my part, I have added a new New Year's Resolution to keep my political discourse at a higher level. I have been guilty many times of "snarkiness" and have ventured the occasional petty insult. But I want to begin the process of changing that.

Basically, I wish to be able to disagree without being disagreeable. After all, as Mom often reminded me, my words reveal more about me than they do about anything else, or as I tell my students, "Trash is as trash talks."

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