Chris Core sig new

This is not political. Promise. This is about the coarsening of our culture. Often when I am driving or boating, I see flags that say “F--- Biden.” I continue to be stunned by this. And again, this is not political. It’s about that first word, not the second.

I appreciate that we have a vibrant democracy where political passions run high. That’s what’s great about America. But what happened to our sense of decency? Joe Biden is our president, like him or not. Donald Trump used to be our president, like him or not. Barack Obama was our president, like him or not. But under no circumstances would I or any of my family or friends display a profane sign about anybody, much less the president.

As I move about seeing these flags, signs, bumper stickers and even T-shirts, I have to wonder, whatever happened to civility? While I realize that children will eventually learn that profane word and probably use it themselves someday, would you like to be the parent who has to explain what those signs say to a 5-year-old?

I will admit to being a little bit of a prude about language. I spent more than 40 years on live radio where had some of those words escaped my lips by accident, I could have been fired. So I rarely swear out of habit. But I am horrified about how such crude language is thrown around so casually in public places. Because I live in a tourist neighborhood, I hear the F-bombs practically every day at restaurants, on the beach and just in passing on the street. It wasn’t always like this, was it?

I had a friend who tried to convince me these words that made me cringe were simply words, no more, no less. And that by regularly using them we take the sting out of them. He might have been right, but I just couldn’t get there myself.

But back to the flag in question: F--- Biden. What does that teach our children about respect? When I was growing up in Leave-It-To-Beaver, Iowa, 52732, we were taught to respect our elders, to respect our teachers, to respect our police officers and to respect our elected leaders, especially the president whose photograph was often on display in our schools. That seemed to be a good way to bring up kids. And to me it still seems like a good way even in a more cynical 2021. Also, isn’t it quite contradictory to be flying the American flag right next to one that profanely disrespects that president of the U.S.A.? And yet I see that combination often.

Let me close with the words of Abraham Lincoln who wrote these following the Civil War, but somehow also seem appropriate in today’s politically charged atmosphere: “With malice toward none and with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to bind up the nation’s wounds.”

Flags that say “F--- Biden” are symbols of those wounds. Aren’t we better than that?

Chris Core is a former Washington, D.C. radio and television personality who now lives in Pass-a-Grille. He is a winner of the Edward R. Murrow Award for outstanding achievement in broadcast journalism.