Recently Jack Freed posted this on his blog, Jack’s Winning Words – “Anyone can ride in a spaceship or serve as a politician, but class is rare—something lacking in this crassest of American eras.” (Ted Rall in Forbes) Jack went on to write – John Glenn was classy! He was humble, well-mannered, intelligent, who never tried to build oneself up by tearing others down.
I grew up in an era where there were classy role models in Hollywood and in Washington. These days one would have to search long and hard for actors or politicians that one could call classy. It seems sometimes like crass has replaced class in both places.
From the Urban Dictionary comes this definition of classy –
1) meaning very stylish and elegant.
2) not crude or disgusting or dirty or depressing
2) a deeper, more meaningful word for ‘cool’
Yes, we also used the word “cool” a lot back then, too. In today’s political and entertainment worlds it seems the second definition is getting harder to find. George Clooney is often mentioned as a modern classy actor, although the ultimate classy Hollywood actors will always be Carey Grant and Gregory Peck; and actress Meryl Streep might be called classy today, though not on the level that we used to think of Katherine Hepburn.
One must really work at trying to find a politician that one could label as being classy, especially when using the second definition as the measuring stick. In fact the term classy politician may be an oxymoron. I suppose that many people would say that JFK was a classy politician. He certainly met the requirements of the first definition and many thought him to be cool; however, history has revealed cracks in his classy facade that some find disquieting. I tried to find current political examples, but even Google couldn’t turn up a classy current politician or even an honest one. Maybe John Glen was one of the last of that classy era. Both John Kasich and Bernie Sanders rank fairly high if you just search for an honest politician.
I suspect that there are many politicians at the local levels of government who might deserve the label classy, but it appears that those who aspire to higher levels of government (even county or statewide positions) quickly abandon the traits that one would use for that label in their pursuit of political power.
At a local level, from what I’ve seen, there remain classy people in the school systems, the business community and in the clergy (Pastor Doug McMunn leaps to mind in Milford). While many of these people don’t make enough in those jobs to afford to be called classy in the sense of the first definition, they certainly meet the requirements of the second definition and most are considered to be “cool” people in the local community. You see them in the local newspapers doing good deeds and helping out in their communities. They run or work at non-profit volunteer organizations, like Community Sharing or the Village Fine Arts Association. They support local civic projects. Many are leaders in youth organizations like the boy or girl scouts or in organizations focused upon youth, like the Optimists Clubs. Without these “classy” people our local communities would be dreary places indeed.
The good news doesn’t stop with being able to find classy people in your local neighborhoods. The really good news is that you too can be thought of as being a “classy” person by jumping in and helping, too. There is no shortage of needs at all local volunteer organizations, so pick one or two and volunteer. Soon people will be talking about what a classy guy or gal you are, because you care and give of your time and effort to make a difference. It’s not enough to just send in a check. No one ever said, “what a classy giver his is”. They appreciate the donations of money, but they see real class in the donation of time and effort.
We may be in for more politics at almost all levels that lack class, but that doesn’t mean that we can,t find class all around us or that we can’t be thought of as being classy ourselves. So, be cool. Jump in at your local level and do the right things to help. It’s the classy thing to do.