I recently had a discussion with another blogger about respect. He pointed out that he believed respect was earned. In some ways, I agree with him, but in other ways I disagree.
Wikipedia defines respect as "esteem for, or a sense of the worth or excellence of, a person, a personal quality, ability, or a manifestation of a personal quality or ability." What a mouthful. It gives an example a salute in the military as a sign of respect.
But a salute in the military is based on the number (and type) of stripes the person is wearing. If a man approaches you with more stripes than you, you had better salute.
The same goes for the job world. On Monday, I start a new job (in the same company). I haven't worked for my new manager before and when I've worked with him, it's been on a peer level. But I have to respect him. When a decision is made, I have to respect the decision. Whether I think it's the right decision or not, I have to respect it (or go find another job).
Politicians deserve a certain degree of respect. In my last post, I quoted a congressman from Florida who made some pretty stupid statements. I don't know the man, and while he said something stupid, I still owe him some respect. When he speaks again, I'll listen carefully to see what value he might have. He represents the people of his district and he deserves to be heard.
A couple of our former presidents are low on my respect list. One lied on television to all Americans, told our daughters that oral sex didn't matter and then only told part of the truth when he knew he would get caught. But he was still elected by the American people (twice) and I have to respect that. When he speaks, I listen carefully to what he says.
The other president I refer to was never a "bad" president (he was never accused of any crimes that I know of), but was pretty lack-luster. The only military action during his term ended in failure. But I still listen to him. I was greatly disappointed when he spoke badly of a sitting president, something no other former president has done except during an election. But the next time he's on TV, I will listen to him again. He deserves that respect.
I've made no reservations in showing the areas I disagree with the current president. But I've read his speeches in detail and understand why he does the things he does. And I respect his opinion. And respect that he was elected by the American people. I may disagree with his actions and I may even "lobby" against them here in my blog. But I respect him and I respect his position.