You know, I’ve been contemplating this concept of respect for a post for a while now. As has happened in the past, with my post, The Ripple Effect, the idea for writing about it was sparked by something that I read over at Writer Dad. What can I say, he makes me think.
Respect is a huge hot-button issue with me. In my opinion, respect is the basis for every single relationship that people have with each other. Respect between workers, friends, family, students, teachers, even strangers. I see a lot of people so focused on their own agenda, they forget – or choose not to – to be respectful of those around them. A perfect example of that would be that person who is in such a hurry they cut off other drivers just to get to the light first. I even believe that being “politically correct” isn’t so much about being politically correct as it is about respecting other people and their culture/belief/insert-whatever-here.
I have always worked hard to teach Monkey about being respectful of and to others. I’m working even harder trying to teach Little Man that as well. There was an instance last year that I had received a note from Monkey’s teacher that Monkey had been giving her dirty and mean looks when being corrected for her behavior in class. That really did not sit well with me because no student should be disrespectful to their teacher, just as no child should be disrespectful to their parent, or any other adult for that matter. Now, I’m not trying to say that she can’t have a differing opinion. I’m sure in a few years, Monkey will have plenty of opinions about her teachers and parents and other adults and even with her friends, but there is a proper way to disagree with someone without being disrespectful.
Which brings me to something altogether different than what I had originally planned for this post. Originally, I had planned on discussing how Monkey was disciplined for her behavior. I wanted to touch on how respect is a hot topic with many of my other friends, too. However, several things have happened this week that leads this discussion to something I swore I would never bring to my blog. It’s my belief (and it’s an old adage) that you don’t discuss religion and politics.
Well, now I’m discussing politics. GAH!
This week, President Obama has had a lot of airtime on TV. Yesterday, he had an address to the students of this country. Tonight, he talked to Congress about the Health Care Reform plan. First, I want to talk about the address to students. With all the brew-haha leading up to the speech, one would think someone in his cabinet had leaked that there would be socialist agenda subliminal (and not so subliminal) messages all through-out the 15 minute speech. Schools declined to air the address. Parents refused to let their children watch it at home or later. I was left to wonder had Former President Bush decided he wanted to deliver an address to students urging them to work hard and stay in school, would the reaction have been the same? I saw a headline that Former First Lady Laura Bush supported what President Obama had to say. Yes, I do understand that this is America and we have the freedom to choose to not watch the address but do we have to be disrespectful about it? He is the elected president of our country. There is another blogger who wrote much more about this and I think it pretty much sums up what I was thinking about this as well. If you’re curious, visit Katie Allison Granju here.
The other point of respect I’d like to bring up happened tonight during the Presidential Address to Congress. It’s already all OVER twitter. The top trending topic is #joewilson but others include #liar and #heckler. In case you missed it, SC-Rep Joe Wilson (R), during a section of President Obama’s speech where he explains that no illegal immigrants will get government health care, yelled out “You lie” to the president. Really? A congressman, an elected official in a public arena, disrespects the president by calling him a liar. Now, to be sure, there are many people in that room that disagree with the President about his health care reform plan. Shoot, there are people all over the country that disagree and I’m sure that there are many people out there that have called President Obama worse things than “liar” but to his face? Has our society really spiraled so far away from the basic concept of respect that a congressman can, during an official address, call our President names?
Sen. John McCain was quoted on Larry King as saying, “Totally disrespectful, no place for it in that setting or any other. He should apologize immediately.” I think it’s safe to say that with the military background of Sen. McCain, he understands that one should respect the Commander in Chief, even if one doesn’t agree with his policies. Actually, you don’t have to have a military background for that. The office of President of the United States of America commands respect from the people of America. It’s OK to disagree with and debate about the policies, the proposals, the ideas the President and his cabinet bring forward. I dare say it’s healthy to have debate. However, there MUST be respect.
Husbands must respect their wives; wives must respect their husbands. Children must respect their parents; parents must respect their children. Friends must respect each other. Employers and employees must be respectful. Elected officials must be respected by those who voted for and against them and elected officials must respect the people whom they serve. Strangers on the street must be respectful of those around them. When there is no respect, there is no love. When there is no respect, there is no trust. When there is no respect, civility fails.
(After I had finished typing this, I found, through twitter, the statement that Congressman Joe Wilson released shortly after the end of the address: “This evening I let my emotions get the best of me when listening to the president’s remarks regarding the coverage of illegal immigrants in the health care bill. While I disagree with the president’s statement, my comments were inappropriate and regrettable. I extend sincere apologies to the President for this lack of civility.”)