It was the spring of 1961. Senior night for those of us in the Theodore High School class of 1961. There were skits and music and various and sundry silly things dished out for admiring parents and others.
It was the night I learned a lesson I have never forgotten.
Jimmy Sims and I were reading the “class will.” We had conjured up various things to leave to our junior classmates. At some point I came to the last name of a junior I could not pronounce. And so I tried to make light of the person’s name.
On the way home that night, daddy mentioned what happened and told me in no uncertain terms that it was not good form to belittle someone’s name. The lesson stuck and I’ve never been tempted to do the same again.
It’s a lesson U.S. Senator David Perdue of Georgia apparently never learned.
Perdue, who is running for re-election this year recently spoke of his colleague Senator Kamala Harris at a Trump rally in Georgia. However, instead of pronouncing her name correctly, he made fun of it. Perdue is 70 years old. He has served with Harris since 2017. In other words, he is old enough to know better.
But his spokesperson said, “Senator Perdue simply mispronounced Senator Harris’ name, and he didn’t mean anything by it.” This was as weak as the spokesman saying that General Sherman just marched through Georgia to admire the scenery.
Politics is a contact sport these days. And we’ve reached the point in this election year when political instincts take over for political correctness. And each time it happens, our democracy is the loser for it.