Provided by Patricia Jones
“At the bottom of Niagara Falls, patches of brownish-white scum float on the water, teetering back and forth on the surface of the Niagara River. … It’s time for Americans to slow the flow of scum in our country’s lake of civility.”
At the bottom of Niagara Falls, patches of brownish-white scum float on the water, teetering back and forth on the surface of the Niagara River. The globs of scum actually resemble the chocolate and marshmallow goo that campers carefully slide between two graham crackers as they gather around the campfire. Even with the thunderous, massive cascades of Niagara Falls in the background, it is difficult to ignore the s’more-like byproduct of 150,000 gallons of water pouring over the rocks per second.
Tourist guides say the floating scum at Niagara Falls is the result of erosion caused by the pure weight of the water plummeting down and pounding the shale and limestone rocks. As I inquired about details of the scum, park employees reported that they “don’t even notice it anymore.”
Since our country was founded in 1776, our country has been like the beautiful cascades of water at Niagara Falls — swirling, flowing and inspiring; on the move even in the frozen, bitter air of winter and in the sweltering heat of summer. Like Niagara Falls, our country has witnessed turbulence, but there has been a constancy and predictability about America. To us and much of the world, we have historically been like the solid rock of Niagara Falls.
But erosion of civility is breaking up America’s solid rock, leaving patches of scum in its wake. Profanity, verbal abuse and entrenched partisanship are skimming the meat off the rocks. Like the tourist guides that live with the Niagara Falls scum every day, people just don’t seem to notice it.
Not only is the current U.S. president complicit in accelerating the erosion of civility, he is modeling it. Such was the case in Trump’s recent speech to 30,000 Boy Scouts — including at least 2,000 Scouts and leaders from Utah — at their National Jamboree in West Virginia. The speech was laced with profanity, self-promotion,…