State tackles lessons on civility, courtesy

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Two bills are crawling through the Missouri Legislature that would add an interesting new twist to driver-education classes in our state.

If approved - and don't count on it - new prospective drivers in Missouri would learn about driving safety, traffic signs and how to play nice with law enforcement if you are asked to pull over.

Read this quote slowly to allow yourself ample time to grasp the intention of these legislative proposals.

"The proposed laws are aimed at improving interactions between law enforcement and motorists, particularly those who might feel targeted because of their race."

Because of this distrust on the part of some within our society, the state hopes to mandate civility, courtesy, respect and recognition of law enforcement's purpose.

Just to be clear, we have reached a point in our declining social order where some new drivers must be instructed to follow the requests from those in authority.

We have witnessed all too often the lack of respect for teachers and school administrators which is part of the problem with public education. Parents, too, are increasingly guilty of relinquishing their role in the development of a child.

But now, through legislative actions, we hope to teach new drivers to obey the law. And the first step in that direction is to teach new drivers to comply with requests by law enforcement officers.

When and where and how in the world did this train called society jump off the tracks? Seriously, have we reached the point where obeying the valid requests of those in authority is something that has to be taught?

Don't misunderstand. The intentions of these two legislative measures is a noble quest. If somehow, mandated respect keeps interaction with law enforcement civil, then we hope it works.

But the deeper question is why government is forced to seek ways to teach what should be a clear understanding of the role of authority in society.

You don't have to agree with authority to be civil and respectful and, above all, compliant.

This state-mandated attitude adjustment lesson may be necessary but on so many levels it's a sad commentary on the state of social interaction with authorities.

When a young adult reaches the age of 16 and is eligible to drive, it should be assumed that they understand the role of law enforcement in protecting some sort of social order.

Yet these two well-intentioned legislative actions tell us otherwise.

Once again, government feels it necessary to teach the basic elements of social interactions that should have been taught in the home.

Michael Jensen

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