Believe it or not, this is NOT a post on race. It's a post about decorum, or lack thereof, that seems to be getting worse and worse in today's world.

Hopefully you saw yesterday's post on the image of President Obama as a monkey, as wel as other negative caricatures and pictures of him that occurred last year while he was running for the office of president. The way I see it, that's only a step towards trying to dissect where all the meanness and intolerance of others has come from.

In my opinion, it started getting worse with the advent of online communications, and the allowance for people to hide behind anonymous names. I remember the days of bulletin boards, which was my initial foray into fake names online, where people first started exhibiting more antisocial behavior with others. Suddenly, a person could get a phone number, have a fake name, and pretty much say whatever they wanted to say, however they wanted to say it.

And man, did many of them need the outlet. People who used to be scared to say anything for fear of being physically attacked relished the opportunity to go after people, to express themselves in ways that they would never dare to do in person. I feel I can attest to that; I have had people say some things to me online that I know they would never say to me in person. I even took the opportunity to visit someone who said something negative to me, just to give them the opportunity to say the same thing to me to my face; they quickly declined, and apologized profusely. It's sometimes nice being a big guy.

Earlier today I was reading a local news story online about an overly obese man being ordered by the judge in his county to appear in court, or at least on the courthouse grounds, to answer to charges in a sealed indictment. This man hasn't left his house in years, and is close to 600 pounds. This online newspaper allows people to comment on the news, and every single comment made a negative reference to this man's weight, not taking into consideration that they might be medical reasons for his weight gain. And every single person was hiding behind a fake name, because it's easier that way to be mean and thoughtless towards others.

Of course, in today's world, one doesn't have to be anonymous to be mean. Last week on Fox News, Juan Williams said Michelle Obama looked like "Stokely Carmichael in a dress", then offered a very weak apology saying people took him out of context; just what kind of context would a comment like that be expected to look like? And Nadya Suleman, the mother of the newly born octuplets, has been receiving death threats; how adult that seems to be, eh?

I have always tried to go out of my way to be more than tolerant and less than mean. I certainly don't have to be, but it's how I was brought up, and I'm a product of my time. There were ways we talked to and treated our parents, and that carried over to how we talked to and treated others. We need to try to get back to that kind of standard, especially if one wishes to be considered as a leader, peer, or friend. Others will always listen more to a prudent speaker than an intolerant one.