To the Editor,Often, I lament the direction America is heading and wish for reasonableness; a return to a spirit of compromise and partnership, which I feel is sorely lacking in our current political system.
As a political and cultural news junkie, I have read commentary and watched videos of Americans treating each other horribly; of people ratcheting up a spirit of separation fueled by hateful rhetoric. Yet, two events of the summer have reminded me that America is basically good, and that the loudest among us are not indicative of the true spirit of this country. As the mother of three young children, these events have bolstered my hope in the future of this country.
When New York bus monitor Karen Klein was verbally abused by a group of preteen boys who were so proud of their abuse that they posted the video on YouTube, the country responded with outrage at the actions of these young boys.
In support of Ms. Klein, $650,000 in donations were sent to her by the people of America. In doing so, individuals across the country showed their appreciation of Ms. Klein’s gracious behavior in the face of such mistreatment by these children. In the end, Karen Klein can retire from her job as bus monitor because of the generosity of Americans.
In July, Dan Cathy, owner of Chick-Fil-A, came under fire for stating that he supported traditional marriage. As a result of stating his personal opinion, Boston mayor Thomas Menino sent a letter telling Dan Cathy that he was no longer welcome to open a Chick-Fil-A store in Boston.
On Aug. 1, Americans across the country lined up at Chick-Fil-A’s restaurants to support Dan Cathy’s right to free speech. There were people who waited in line for hours to buy a chicken sandwich, because Americans will not tolerate politicians denying the right to free speech of individuals.
During the Aug. 1 show of support, Adam Smith, a man who supports gay marriage, waited in the drive through of a Chick-Fil-A and proceeded to verbally abuse the young girl who was working there. He then proudly posted this video on YouTube, telling the young girl who politely waited on him that he felt “purposeful.”
As a result of his actions, the company for which he worked as a CFO fired him. The company had gotten hundreds of phone calls from their customers, who expressed outrage at Smith’s actions toward the young girl working the drive-through at Chick-Fil-A, and it no longer wanted an association with a man who would publicly act this way.
Based on the outrage of Americans, Menino has retracted his statements and Smith has issued an apology video.
These situations have shown that most Americans do not tolerate public abuse of individuals. As Americans, we will disagree on social and political issues, but that is no reason for nastiness and abusive treatment. I am very proud to be a part of a country which recognizes bad behavior and calls those individuals on it, be they children, politicians, or private citizens.
That is the true America, one that is often overlooked. I’m glad that I have been reminded this summer.
AMANDA O. KESTERSON