Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's a matter of Respect...Part 1

When I grew up, I was taught to have respect.  Respect your parents and elders.  Respect your teachers.  Respect public servants.  Treat everyone you meet the way you want to be treated.  Lying, cheating, stealing, and bullying were all forms of disrespect toward those around you.  The insidious part is that those things are also a form of disrespecting yourself.
There is no perfect human being.  We are all born with flaws.  We are taught to hate.  We learn bad behavior.  We learn prejudice.  We become hypocritical, professing to have Christian values while harboring vitriol and treating others in a way Christ himself would condemn.  We reap what we sow.

This was clearly demonstrated by the congressional aide who criticized the Obama children for acting like the teenagers that they are, and told them, in essence, that they were dressed like bar-hopping bad girls on the prowl, and that nothing better could be expected from them because “your mother and father don't respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I'm guessing you're coming up a little short in the "good role model" department.”

This aide is a perfect example of how to be disrespectful.  The fault she found in the Obama children is a reflection of her own self-loathing.  The fact that it took her “hours” of prayer and reflection and the counsel of her parents before apologizing leads me to believe that, like a typical self-absorbed teenager, she really was sorry…that she was caught in a quagmire of her own making.  She never really expressed remorse to the Obama girls for insulting them and then twisting the knife by insulting their parents.

We are guaranteed freedom of speech by our constitution.  That constitutional right does not give anyone a license to insult other people or be hurtful toward them.  Respect is a two-way street.  If you want people to respect you, then you need to respect them.  You don’t have to like someone to treat them with respect.
I find the blatant disrespect heaped on the President and his family to be unacceptable.  The insulting cartoons and obvious untruths that show up in my email or on Facebook are irritating in the extreme.  I delete them all.  I don’t pass trash on to other people.  The disrespect has to stop somewhere, or it will pull us down a rabbit hole from which there is no extradition.  Just to be clear, I didn’t pass on the Bush insults or the Clinton insults either.  Like him or not, Barack Obama is the President of the United States and deserves the same respect that Presidents Bush Jr, Bush Sr, Clinton, Kennedy, Ford, Nixon and all the others were afforded simply by virtue of taking on the responsibility of leading this nation.  It is a thankless, incredibly stressful job.  Anyone willing to take it on has my respect, whether I personally like them or not.

Perhaps those who insult the First Family should take an honest inventory of their actions and motives.  What kind of example do they want to be for their children?  They may find that their own children lack “good role models” if they are letting their likes and dislikes, their hatred, their prejudices, and their lack of respect for others, take the forefront in the example they are setting for their kids.  They may find that they are perpetuating the worst of themselves.
In the words of the Harry Chapin song “Cat’s in the Cradle”

"And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me.
My boy was just like me."