BY DON NELSON
The word respect has many uses – to hold someone in esteem, to have admiration for, to have high regard for, to honor. In all cases the word points to a person having earned the recognition of respect.
Perhaps I am guilty of holding too narrow a view but, for me, there are certain attributes that must be evidenced before “respect” is awarded.
The ability to act in compassionate ways, to behave toward one’s fellow human beings in ways that show humaneness rather than callousness.
Reaching out to the unloved and rejected that share the same hopes and aspirations that everyone has, not seeking to place them outside the walls of the comfort zones people work so hard to build.
Standing up to the dehumanizing lack of understanding of those who are different. Yeah they are different – get over it. We are not all the same, we do not all think the same, look the same or have the same preferences.
Standing up for those who either cannot or do not have the strength to stand up for themselves is a requisite.
Working to establish a just life experience for any who are denied. Striving to provide the basics of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for those who would be denied by those seeking self-justification, the calloused, the ludicrous self-righteousness of the self-absorbed.
Complaining that the poor get all the breaks, single parents are enabled and dependent, homelessness is a character flaw, the unemployed are lazy, children born into poverty are just unlucky, the common worker deserves his or her station in life, whites need the jobs, people of color [pick a color] need to work harder to be accepted, unwed mothers or pregnant out-of-wedlock women are a burden on society – the list can go on.
Complaints serve but one purpose – they show the level of callousness, the hardness, the lack of humanity of the complainant.
If you expect to be respected, if you expect others to hold you in high regard, you have to earn that position.
Honestly, I have little, if any, respect for any humanoid that suffers the little children to remain in poverty, that sees as their purpose in life to support large corporations at the expense of education, health care and serving the neediest of our numbers.
Do not waste your breath trying to convince me that you are right to be a reprobate, a greedy self-absorbed purveyor of blatant self-serving greed while there are those you could be working to help.
Oh, yeah, I’ve heard it all, you know how it goes – I don’t want kids suffering but or I’m not trying to hurt anyone but. In this case the buts do not win the argument. You do not get respect when you have not earned it.
– Don Nelson lives in Lawton, OK and is a frequent contributor to The Oklahoma Observer