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A big thank-you to all the decent people out there

Let us take some time this Sunday to be thankful for certain types of people.

Let us thank those who are polite and courteous, even when everyone around them is rude and obnoxious. Those who maintain etiquette and decorum even though that doesn’t get you anywhere in this increasingly ugly world. Those who say “please” and “thank you” even though no one says it to them.

Let us be grateful for those who maintain road discipline and manners, even when every cretin around them is mounting pavements, overlapping obscenely, cutting in rudely and overtaking dangerously. Let us thank those who still give way, dip their lights, use their indicators, and wait patiently for the traffic to clear.

Let us express our gratitude for those who still try to run their businesses honestly. Those who don’t evade taxes, who try to create a genuinely good product or service, who compete legitimately by offering better value. They are a dying race, surrounded as they are by dodgers, scammers and corrupters masquerading as businesspeople.

Let us record our debt to those few remaining civil servants who still work with a sense of public duty, who do their jobs to a high standard and hold the fort against the networks of patronage all around them. They are in there, deep in the heart of the system. They are underpaid and undervalued. But they matter.

Let us recognize those honest, public-spirited brave-hearts who go to the polls every 5 years to try to become councillors and members of parliament, presidents even. These courageous crusaders haven’t got a hope in hell of winning, as they actually campaign on issues and integrity rather than tribal vitriol and cheap handouts. They will finish in fifth place at best, whilst known drug-runners and tribal overlords are re-elected. Because our unsung heroes do not give out tee shirts or arrive in large convoys, they will never be voted in. But they keep trying. And thank goodness they do, otherwise the only voices heard would be of loudmouths and hate-speakers.

And finally, let us sing a word of appreciation for those who just smile. It is hard to do that in this brutish, uncouth world, where customers are rude and arrogant and bosses are worse. It is hard to smile when scowlers get every promotion and win every prize. But there are many who smile in greeting and smile in farewell, and smile in between. Thank all that is good for their presence, for without them we would all live in a snapping, barking hell.

We must thank all these people because they are the only ones holding on to the cloak of civilization, whilst the rest do their damnedest to descend back to jungle rule. Without decent, honest and considerate folk in our midst, we would be no better than grunting beasts killing each other for every scrap of self-gain.

Why do they do it, these decent folk, when there is nothing to gain from it? The answer is simple. They do it for themselves. They do it because they have dignity to protect, values they believe in, a standard they will not drop. Their behaviour does not depend on the behaviour around them. Just because everyone is a boor is no reason for these good-hearted folk to be the same.

Good people don’t descend into the mire, they rise above it. There is great peace to be had in personal dignity.

And so, please join me in thanking all the good people. They make the world still worth living in; they keep hope burning; they give everyone a reason to carry on. If they didn’t exist, neither would anyone else, for the world would be in flames. This week, remember to thank one of the good people in person.

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