Observations on Respect and the Intrusion of Hate

by | Nov 19, 2022 | Opinions

Photo by Suzy Brooks

Observations on Respect and the Intrusion of Hate

by | Nov 19, 2022 | Opinions

Photo by Suzy Brooks
It is healthy to respect others and find some quality in them that you appreciate—this is a very healthy viewpoint for humanity. You can readily respect your enemies but it makes sense to not underestimate them.

What do you see when you walk out the door? I see remnants of humanity at every corner. I see people walking their dogs. I see some old codger driving very slowly down the street. I see an elderly lady straining mightily with her walker to move a few steps. I see teenagers carefree laughing and cajoling each other. I see flowers, plants and trees vying for sunshine and smiles from innocent pedestrians. Trees especially are of interest. They can be quite somber and yet magnificent in their bearing. There is much to see and experience in life some good, some not so good.

But you are probably not interested in my musings. You want cold-hard facts rather than the blathering of a poet. Well perhaps you expect some poetry, some verse or even a haiku or two. Heaven forbid some kind of rhymey thing. No, today is not a day for poetry or musing. Today is a day for observation. For seeing the unseen.

I continue my walk looking for laughter in all the wrong places. Ah, now I see the scowling pickup truck driver with the message blaring from his tailgate: IMPEACH BIDEN! I wonder a couple of things about this intrusion of my fine space. It is not so much the thought of such an activity that disturbs me or the hate dripping from this man’s face. I finally deduce it is the lack of respect. I was always taught to respect our presidents even if I disagreed with them. The writing on the tailgate should at the very least say IMPEACH PRESIDENT BIDEN (tongue in cheek). Then all else would be forgiven. But no, it simply says what it says, and I am supposed to act for this activity proclaimed from this man’s pickup truck.

Respect, now that is a most interesting word. The dictionary has several definitions, which I will cherry pick to suit my notions. Respect as a noun means esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability. As a verb respect earns a most gracious definition: to hold in esteem or honor or to show regard or consideration for.

Those are some delicious words as they roll off the tongue. Sometimes you respect someone even while not liking them. It is healthy to respect others and find some quality in them that you appreciate. Me thinks this is a very healthy viewpoint for humanity. You can readily respect your enemies and it makes sense to not underestimate them.

So, this all goes back to the missive on the back of a pickup truck. There is no sign of respect for the President of the United States, and I find that dismaying. When did we decide that this courtesy should be abandoned? Lord knows I never liked Richard Nixon and was never overly fond of Ronald Reagan or any of the Bushes. I cannot say I liked Jimmy Carter. As for Bill Clinton, I enjoyed watching him wail on his saxophone after his inauguration. I cannot say I was very fond of his politics. Nevertheless (one of my favorite words), I had respect for the Office of the President. This is how I was brought up.

Today, respect for our Presidents seems to be a forgotten term. I think in recent history it started with Barack Obama. I could not believe the things said about this man. In my wildest dreams I could not imagine dredging up such a catalog of insults from his “birth” to his “ignorance”. There is nothing gracious about criticism, nothing gracious at all. So why this case of virulent hate? It taints our birthrights and violates the Declaration of Human Rights in so many areas.

I refuse to hate people who are different than me or disagree with me. I may shake my head in wonder at their actions and activities, but no, I refuse to hate them. Why? Because that is not how I was brought up. I was brought up to respect others and care about others. I was brought up with manners and to treat people with dignity. You may want to impeach President Biden (I am not sure why, but you are allowed to voice your thoughts) but damn it, respect the office, respect the Constitution of these United States of America and not the least respect yourself. As Aretha plainly sung and Otis Redding wrote!

This is just one man’s observation!

Lawrence George Jaffe

Lawrence George Jaffe

Lawrence George Jaffe is an internationally known and an award-winning writer, author, and poet. For his entire professional career, Jaffe has been using his art to promote human rights. He was the poet-in-residence at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, a featured poet in Chrysler’s Spirit in the Words poetry program, co-founder of Poets for Peace (now Poets without Borders) and helped spearhead the United Nations Dialogue among Civilizations through Poetry project which incorporated hundreds of readings in hundreds of cities globally using the aesthetic power of poetry to bring understanding to the world.


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