Marks of a Gentleman

I’m glad President Trump chose not to attend the White House Correspondence Dinner. I usually watch it on TV. The jokes and comments are supposed to be caustic, cynical and extremely overstated—akin to trash talk. It has ceased to be funny.

Last year the camera focused on Donald Trump as the “comedian-host” and President Obama ‘roasted” (excoriated) Trump who was in the audience. I watched Mr. Trump—the first few zingers were funny and he smiled. Then the comments got personal and cruel. He stopped smiling and made some decisions. I’m glad Trump will not be there this year to receive the trash comments. I’m also glad he will not be near a mic. His comments, intended to be humorous, sometimes miss and come off as personal attacks. Sometimes they are! It is just best for the civilized world that our POTUS stay home.

I felt many of the comments directed from the podium toward and about President Obama last year were also way out of line. Crude, vicious, stupid and totally disrespectful of anyone, let alone our president. Such talk in some countries would get the speaker taken immediately to the gallows.

In his current leadership podcast (https://www.andystanley.com/podcasts) Andy interviews Horst Schultz. Schultz is seen among the best of hoteliers. He was the trainer at the Ritz Carleton when it became the example of hospitality. Twenty-three years ago, Andy sat in on two orientation meetings as Schultz (in a 3-piece suit) trained bus boys, waiters, dishwashers, bellboys what it meant to work for the Ritz-Carleton. Andy says he watched the man do “magic” and it changed Andy’s life.

Horst Schultz worked with the minimum wage people with a goal he emphasized:

“We are not servants. We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”

Orientation included defining what a gentleman and lady looked like. That standard and behavior worked for the Ritz as it became the standard for service.

Would a gentleman say the things we hear at the Correspondence Dinner? Where would our culture learn how a “gentleman” acts, talks, treats people without being a ultra-Victorian? William Wilberforce said,

“God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the Slave Trade and the reformation of manners.”

He was influential and effective in both. Lord, teach our culture manners.

©2017 D. Dean Benton

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