R-E-S-P-E-C-T — We need more of it

Was anyone else as embarrassed as I was at the level of rancor and rudeness on display at last week’s State of the Union address? I simply cannot understand how members of Congress, people who should be among our nation’s best and brightest, choose to denigrate themselves and their office by such childish behavior.

I fully understand the level of polarization in our government and society today. And I will readily admit I find the policies of certain political groups difficult to fathom. I may even grumble under my breath about the absurdity of their beliefs. But I would certainly hope that I could bite my tongue if I were seated in a joint session of Congress when the president of the United States, regardless of his or her political party, is speaking.

What does such behavior say to the world about America? What does it say about us as a people as blessed as we are to live in this country? One would think we were some sort of banana republic. Or a member of the British parliament. Places where such outbursts are all too common. But that’s a low bar. We should be better than that. 

It’s said that familiarity breeds contempt. I would submit that contempt only breeds more contempt. And I’m afraid that is where we are in this country today. 

Show some respect, people! 

Maybe if there was a greater sense of pride, and trust, in our institutions, more tolerance for alternative viewpoints, and less rancor toward those who hold beliefs different than our own, we might be able to get the real work of government accomplished.  

With apologies to John Lennon, “You may say that I’m a dreamer. But I’m (hopefully) not the only one.” Or in the words of another prophet of the musical world…

Sing it, Aretha:

“(Oo) All I’m askin’
(Oo) Is for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)”