Life is hard. It’s getting harder day by day because the baseline for acceptance, appropriateness and civil discourse has been greatly diminished in America.

Why is it so difficult to be kind? Why is it so difficult to stand up to wrong when we clearly recognize it?

This isn’t a problem born over the past two and a half years. Certainly, the ready, fire, aim rhetoric constantly flowing out of the White House does not help. The current inability to be kind has devolved to a point where, unfortunately, some are becoming immune to outrageousness.

This can’t be who we want to be.

These are not innate behaviors. They are learned. Which means people are still teaching others, even in the 21st Century, to hate.

We do this by yelling something from a car window at someone walking down the street who doesn’t look like us.

We do this by telling someone to “go back where they came from.”

We do this by refusing service to someone who loves someone you don’t think they should.

We do this by using the anonymity or distance that social media allows us to hide behind.

We do this when we prejudge someone because of the way they are dressed or their hair is cut, how they talk or where they worship.

We do this by not telling someone to stop or saying something, anything.

And if you think those things are not happening here, in Danville, Selinsgrove, Lewisburg, Sunbury, Middleburg, Mifflinburg, Watsontown, Milton, Shamokin and other locations in the Susquehanna Valley, you are wrong.

They happen here daily. In our workplaces, downtowns and on our college campuses. They happen everywhere.

Unfortunately, people may not recognize they are teaching it, passing it on to the next generation.

You teach it by not stopping it, by seeing something inappropriate, uncalled for and even disgusting, and responding with silence.

“If we don’t plant the right things, we will reap the wrong things. It goes without saying,” Maya Angelou wrote. “And you don’t have to be, you know, a brilliant biochemist and you don’t have to have an IQ of 150. Just common sense tells you to be kind, ninny, fool. Be kind.”

It shouldn’t be that hard.

NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher and top newsroom executives. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.

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