This seems to be the ‘word’ for 2017, the mantra for this year.
Respect is late Middle English: from Latin respectus, from the verb respicere ‘look back at, regard,’ from re- ‘back’ + specere ‘look at.’
Respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by abilities, qualities, or achievements. Respect is esteem, regard, high opinion, admiration, reverence, deference, and honor. Respect is due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others. Respect is politeness, courtesy, civility and deference. Respect is to admire (someone or something) deeply, as a result of their abilities, qualities, or achievements. Respect means esteem, admire, think highly of, have a high opinion of, hold in high regard, hold in (high) esteem, look up to, revere, reverence, honor.
Respect is feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of. Respect is to show consideration for, have regard for, observe, be mindful of, be heedful of while avoid harming or interfering with. Respect is to agree to recognize and abide by (a legal requirement).
Respect your elders. Respect your mother or she will smack the crap out of you. Respect your teachers. Respect the word of God. Respect your father’s wishes (how did that work out?) Respect the law. Respect your country. Respect the flag that is placed on so many headstones.
What about ‘respect’ your children? It doesn’t seem to work this way.
From what I see the precious bundles of joy that hold a special place in your heart are merely extensions of your bias, anger, prejudice, and limited understanding of ideology or knowledge.
Sure the kids are photographed and cuddled and clothed and pampered then fed into the acceptable educational training requirements of regurgitating teachings. They are divided by gender and color and size and instructed on what is ‘good’ and what is ‘bad’. As they grow and assimilate the propaganda they are reintegrated for diversity but segregated in thought.
At the point when basic training is completed and possible visions and motivations and innovative thoughts start to form the parents pack them off to a camp with uniforms, discipline, conformity, and weapons.
For all the headstones are someone’s child or brother or father or sister or mother. Row after row as far as the eye can see in every country all over the world marks our failure to accomplish the simple task of ‘respect’.
Respect for another’s thoughts, opinions, speech, physical abilities, appearance, background, size, beliefs, and sexual preference.
Instead we, the elders, form paranoid positions of distrust and bigotry. We then push our children off as fodder of ever-growing war machine that keeps us all afraid.
So on this holiday we take off our hats, put our hands over our hearts, salute the flag and praise our God for these heroes, patriots, warriors, freedom fighters who went into harms way and came back in a box. They were the children sent to force an ideology on others by brute force and made the ultimate sacrifice.
And of the other sons and daughters and brothers and sisters and fathers and mothers who also perished due to our consistent bickering, their graves are unmarked and forgotten. They get no salutes or fly over’s or fireworks or hot dogs on the grill or speeches or the playing of taps. They were just innocents trying to scrap out a life on this troubled planet.
Tomorrow the offices will open, banking transactions will happen, lunches shared, schools will let out, dogs will be walked, babies will cry, domestic squabbles will take place, and people will die to age, drugs, accidents and anger.
And next year about the same calendar date the old soldiers will arrange their medals, honor guards will march, flags will fly, wreaths will be laid and for a moment our children’s meaningless sacrifice will be honored. There will be more headstones and names etched in monuments to the fallen and families will cry.
Thank you for your service?