In 1954, Audrey Hepburn won her first and only Academy Award for her leading role in the movie Roman Holiday. In the movie, she plays a European princess that escapes from the repressive walls of her palace. On her first night out, she’s drowsy from some sleeping medicine her doctor had given her moments ago. As she begins talking to her co-star, Gregory Peck, she starts reciting one of her prepared speeches for him.
“What the world needs is a return to sweetness and decency.” She says, falling asleep before she can finish the speech. This is easily one of my favorite lines in all of movie history.
People need a return to sweetness and decency.
Relationships need a return to sweetness and decency.
Politics needs a return to sweetness and decency.
Congress needs a return to sweetness and decency.
Since Audrey won her Oscar, society and our world as a whole has forgotten how to be classy and kind. I see it from my high school hallways all the way to the Oval Office. We have forgotten how to present ourselves in a way that demands respect and in return have forgotten how to be respectful to others. It has become most evident in politics since the messy election in 2016. Democrats are too sensitive and Republicans try too hard to “trigger” them. It’s trashy.
The people that reside in Congress were put there by voters who believed they would be represented by certain candidates. Instead, what they got was bickering and three government shutdowns. Three shutdowns that could have been easily resolved had the opposing sides learned to compromise.
Because I’m in high school, I am influenced by the many teachers in my tiny school. The teachers that have created the most impact on my life are the ones that are passionate about what they do and push me to be the best I can be. One of those teachers, in particular, doesn’t agree with me politically. During the elections, we both supported different candidates and watched as the election unfolded. At the time, I was a snobby child as I asked her how she felt when her candidate fell. As I have attended her class in the past year; however, we have had many civil conversations about our thoughts on current events. While we disagree, our thoughts sometimes align more than we originally thought. We’re able to discuss what we think is the best route for our country without ending the conversation in an all-out brawl. We respect each other’s opinions and the other person as a whole. Our civil conversations make me respect her more and also help me understand why those I disagree with think the way they do.
I love talking with people I disagree with. Not because I want to make them mad or humiliate them, but because I want to understand why they think a certain way. I want to understand so I can better myself. But having a conversation has become almost impossible. When I wrote a piece a couple months ago about a local women’s march, I was attacked with hundreds of comments that attempted to discredit my opinion and diminish me as a whole. While hundreds of those comments were cruel, some wanted to sit down and converse. Something I was totally open to if I was completely sure the conversation would be respectful.
So when Audrey said that the world needed a return to sweetness and decency, I couldn’t agree more. I want to be respectful and be respected in return.
Sit down. Be kind. And then let’s get something done.
Savanna Graves first found a passion for politics and government on the 2016 campaign trail for her father. Since then she has been increasingly involved with Turning Point USA, Future Female Leaders, and PragerU, organizations that spread the message of small government and capitalism. She plans on attending Liberty University in the fall of 2018 to study political science and journalism. Views expressed in this column are hers and do not reflect those of The Flash as a whole.