I miss Miss Manners — and a little common sense

Robert Roe

Now the latest from North Carolina, the land of tar and turpentine. A student at North East Carolina Preparatory School was recently punished for calling his teacher “Ma’am.”

His discipline? Write “Ma’am” numerous times on a piece of paper. Countless repetition: The perfect way to make a polite fifth grader forget manners. Well done, Socrates. The child’s fate, no doubt, was preferable to conversing with his instructor as they no doubt opined about sexism or some other “ism” oppressing someone somewhere.

Out of curiosity, how did the teacher prefer to be addressed: Honey? Big Daddy? Sweetie Pie? Commandant? The Teachernator? Did the adult in question view it as sexist? Ageist? Politest? Remember, class, these are the people who are molding our children’s minds.

It’s Trial by comportment. Just when a child actually starts to pay attention to their parents and treat adults with respect, this hapless chap runs into one of the few social justice whack jobs in the world who sees a term of respect as a signal of condescension.

It goes without saying this is not a castigation of the teaching profession. As with any job, there are those who believe theirs is a higher calling and do their jobs well.

Then there are the others who see their profession as a platform from which to change the world (molding it in their own image, of course).

Such as the poster boy for the mistreated, Colin Kaepernick. As a result of becoming the Kim Kardashian of the sports world, Nike is rewarding him by making Colin the marketing face of the company. The Nike ad spouts some platitudinous garbage about sacrificing everything for a cause in which one believes.

Cute. Now, Colin, take a knee and listen to a tale of real sacrifice. In the wake of the September 11th attacks, Arizona Cardinal safety Patrick Tillman walked away from professional football and enlisted in the military. He was killed in the mountains of Afghanistan, a hero sacrificing everything for what he believed.

Do a quick compare and contrast. A mediocre quarterback taking a knee during the National Anthem to protest the entire profession of Law Enforcement due to what he believes is systemic inequality, versus the athlete who gave his life in defense of his country. Forget Nike. The only shoe Kaepernick should be concerned about is attached to the foot in his mouth.

Let me proffer my usual disclaimer about my opinion being my own. You are invited to believe what you’d like. Yet I contend that as much as the mouth-foaming media who would have you believe Colin’s windmill tilting is part of a righteous crusade, it is more of a media stunt in an effort to demonize an entire country of first responders due to the actions of a few bad actors.

Kaepernick’s protests were, after all, not a First Amendment nor a Civil Rights issue. They were an employment issue. He was paid millions of dollars to do a job. Instead, he caused an uproar that is still being felt by the NFL three years later. How do you parse that on a job performance review? About the same way an educational system does when a teacher oversteps the bounds of common sense and punishes a student for being polite. The school said the issue was a “personnel matter which has been handled appropriately by the K-7 principal.” That is Administration Speak for sweeping an embarrassing issue under the rug and hoping it goes away.

An issue with which the National Football League is still grappling.


Robert Roe