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Jay Greeson

Do you remember graduating? From high school or college?

Heck, if you are of a certain age, you may remember graduating from second grade and taking that big step into third grade.

Good times.

Personally, I remember driving away to college more than graduating from high school. It was a page-turning moment, at least for me.

Those life milestones are forever, and in truth are one of the few connections among extended generations.

For our grandparents, graduating high school was frequently the educational goal. For a lot of us in our 40s, college became the expectation.

For the future generations, extended degrees and experiences likely will be the baseline that elite employees will seek.

So goes the curve, and that's OK.

But a recent graduation kerfuffle gave me pause.

As our society needs educated professionals with myriad abilities, there is an undeniable skill that we all are short on these days.

When did we forget to be polite? Can we ever get that back? Is polite dead, in the era of political posturing when loud is more important than listening?

We ask this in the aftermath of the University of Notre Dame graduation that featured hundreds of graduates walking out during Vice President Mike Pence's commencement speech.

Yes, he's Donald Trump's No. 2. Yes, you either love Trump or hate Trump, and that's fine. But should the freedom of speech be a freedom from decency?

If you hate the vice president that much, why go at all?

What would the reaction be if conservative graduates walked out on say, Michelle Obama? Here's betting it would be viewed more as racist than protest.

And that doesn't make either right, and each should be as rude.

So ask yourself this: Can we ever have a discussion on relatively anything of merit that delivers anything of merit until we can be civil to each other?

Contact Jay Greeson at jgreeson@timesfreepress.com and 423-757-6343.

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