Coffee is the staff of life, and ever since Blue State Coffee opened up Iâ€™ve been stopping by there once or twice a week. I think it would be cool if it became one of those places like the coffee houses of England and France where modern democracy was born, but so far itâ€™s too early to say. The coffeeâ€™s good, though.
Being a fan of the place, I got a little defensive when I saw a letter in the ProJo that I knew was aimed at Blue State Coffee. The name of the writer seemed familiar. Then I realized that Carol Dragon and I work for the same employer, but at different offices. Thatâ€™s Rhode Island for you.
I had to calm down then, and really read her letter. Whatâ€™s more, I have to admit that she makes a good point. The entire letter is hereâ€“
Two articles of interest in The Journal, Aug. 14: One announced that Cal Ripken is a U.S. envoy â€œas part of a program to help burnish Americaâ€™s image abroad.â€? Mr. Ripken will use his new position to improve understanding among youths worldwide. The other article announces the opening of a coffee shop on Thayer Street, in Providence, that sells dog treats in the image of President Bush. Some of the proceeds from the shop will be donated to People for the America Way. If to â€œburnishâ€? means to make shiny or lustrous, Mr. Ripken will need to explain why the American people do not show respect for the leader of our nation. No matter how we feel about the president, we should not tolerate disrespect.
If we are role models for our children and grandchildren, what values are we passing on? If the president is an object of ridicule, is it then okay to ridicule school and church authorities? Classmates? Parents? If we as adults cannot resist being mean-spirited, how do we discourage that behavior in our children? Letâ€™s give Mr. Ripken a hand by stepping up to the plate by being kinder, gentler and by being the best Americans we can be.
I have to appreciate her argument on behalf of civility. Without civility thereâ€™s no way we can talk to one another. Sheâ€™s got a point, too, about respect for the office of the President and all our elected officials. It is more telling to show respect for the office, respect for our common responsibility. From that perspective we can see how bad things really are.
Secondly, hating George W. Bush is a waste of time. Thereâ€™s an infinite line of empty suits and washed-up movie actors ready to take his place, and we’ll end up with one of them if we don’t vote in someone better. We have to stop acting like peasants. We have a Constitution that lays out the process of impeachment for high crimes and misdemeanors. Is taking our country into war on a false pretext a high crime? Is the abandonment of New Orleans a misdemeanor? Counting down to â€˜Bushâ€™s Last Dayâ€™ doesnâ€™t do it, because another year is too long. Our government will be as corrupt as we allow it to be. Empty gestures and blowing off steam wonâ€™t get us anywhere, but letters, phone calls, and protests add up to real power when enough people get involved.