Many of you know I lost a husband to cancer. He was born and raised in Nashville and I learned a lot about the way people in the South thought and felt through his family and him. His mom was an orphan, raised by a family in West Virginia. His dad was raised in the mountains of southwestern Virginia. He quit school to join the CCC and after WWII, earned his high school diploma. He worked hard all his life, working their small farm before heading off to work at the Air National Guard. On weekends he also worked for an auction house. He wasn’t an intelligent man, but my father-in-law was one of the Salt of the Earth. His word was his promise. He always did the best he could, for his family and friends and for his community. He was an ornery old coot in his last years and he definitely earned my love and respect.
We’ve heard it all our lives but here is Merriam-Webster’s explanation:
Definition of respect
1: a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation <remarks having respect to an earlier plan>
2: an act of giving particular attention : consideration
3a : high or special regard : esteem
3b : the quality or state of being esteemed
3c respects plural : expressions of high or special regard or deference <paid our respects>
4: particular, detail <a good plan in some respect
Some of us were taught to respect our elders. We learned the Ten Commandments dictate us to Honor Our Father and Mother. This is the 5th Commandment, the first after the four that deal with a person’s relationship with God. Christian doctrine teaches even if the relationship is abusive, one must learn to love that abuser by forgiving their transgressions or acting kindly towards them or writing a tribute about them or praying for them.
First off, I am not a Christian. Good thing, because this will not exactly be a tribute. And I don’t think I can pray this one away.
I am Jewish and based on rabbinical interpretation of the law there is no strong requirement to be respectful of an abusive parent. There is, however, a careful examination of respecting the position, not the person. I can live with that.
I am not talking about my parents, by the way. I had issues with them and managed to resolve them and reach understanding. That process was one of respect.
I am talking about another authority figure: our incoming President.
Some of my most conservative friends on Facebook tell me I MUST respect Trump because he will be President. I can not. He has not earned it. Perhaps he will. But when he says things like this, he has dug himself a hole, not only with me but with the majority of voters in this country.
Right now I will respect the office of the President. I will respect it so much that I will continue to hold a high expectation of the role the person in that position holds. Here are a few quotes about the Office by some of our past Presidents.
Notice the difference?
By the way, those conservative Facebook friends also believe spanking instills respect. One finally admitted she hated her father for hitting her. Her behavior modified because she wanted to stop getting beaten. That is not respect. That is fear.
It concerns me that the people who support Trump are ones who have had a strong authoritarian parent. They are used to listening to nonsense and accepting it. They are used to shutting down their own reactions to try to keep the peace. I guess that makes them conform to the Christian concepts mentioned above. If only they didn’t express hatred so much.
Meanwhile, the rest of us poor sinners will keep working to remind Trump that he has to rise to meet the responsibilities of the Office.
Grimace or grin, Helen Thomas said it well. And any President who tries to muzzle the Press will clearly be hiding something.