Aretha Franklin is the Queen of Soul. In 1967, her big hit was a song titled, ‘Respect.’ It was a fantastic song, as were most of her songs. My favorite Aretha song was, ‘You Better Think.’ Even though it was released in 1968, it really hit popularity when she sang it in the 1980 movie, ‘Blues Brothers.’ The movie and the song are some of my all-time favorites.
Even though ‘You Better Think’ would be an excellent subject for this blog, today it happens to be about RESPECT. Not just the song, but the character trait. Do you have respect for anything in today’s world?
When I was young, I was always told to respect my elders. If an elderly person entered a room, I was taught to get off my duff and offer my chair. Recently, Grandma P and I were visiting some of our grandkids. I was making a move toward the chair with the best view of the TV, when my grandson, Spike, decided it would be hilarious to run around me and plop his butt into this chair before Grandpa T could nestle his posterior comfortably in the aforementioned chair. Coercion and threats did not work to move Spike. Finally, it became physical. Spike and I would arm wrestle for the chair! I cheated and won! I had to cheat as Spike is one pretty tough nut for a 6 year old. Anyway, we decided to compromise. We both sat in the big comfy chair and watched TV together. I made sure (as the elder!) that I got the biggest portion and most comfortable spot. He just wanted to jerk the chain of his Grandpa and spend time with me, and I respect him for that. Now whether he respects me is a whole different ball game. Time will tell as we have plenty of time to mold his little body into something respectful.
Do you respect authority? I would like to limit this portion specifically to teachers and law enforcement. Do you know how many officers have died in the line of duty so far this year? The answer is 99 officers. In 2015, the number of officers killed in the line of duty was 130. Of the 99 officers that have died this year, 44 of them were killed by gunfire. Does that show respect for law enforcement? Growing up in a small town as I did, I knew all the local policemen, most of the deputy sheriffs, and practically all of the local highway patrolmen. They were all great people with wives and kids just like everyone else, just attempting to do their jobs in the best possible manner. They were all respected as law enforcement and they were all respected for being contributors to our community.
As I was growing up, we were to respect our teachers…..or else! Three of my six elementary school teachers had husbands that worked with my dad, Big Daddy G. Big Daddy G did not have to attend any parent-teacher conferences, because the drums of misbehavior beat often and loudly in our small town. Between Big Daddy G knowing all the policemen, and working with the husbands of my teachers….I could not get away with diddly squat!! If I went to a drive-in movie 12 miles from our hometown (there were two in opposite directions) on a Friday night, by Saturday noon he knew where I had been, who I was with and what movie was playing. I digress. I could not be a teacher today and I admire those that are. Some of the school districts across the nation are not only turning out substandard students unwilling to learn, but the teachers are at risk of bodily injury. Every day, an average of four teachers are accosted in the Baltimore school system. From all indications, this is not uncommon. If I would have ever been brain dead enough to attack a teacher, I would have had to call the police to protect myself from what Big Daddy G was going to do. The teachers were right, no questions asked. The student was wrong.
How about that media! You know who they are. Their job is to ‘report the news fully, accurately, and fairly.’ As I am writing this, the latest Gallup poll indicates that only 32% of the population either has a ‘great deal or fair amount of trust’ of the media. That’s less than 1/3 of the population! It is also the lowest rating ever given to media in terms of trust since Gallup began polling this question in 1972! The level of trust has dropped 8% from last year. I am using trust and respect somewhat interchangeably as the New York Times and the Washington Post have slumped to levels only achieved by the National Enquirer and The Star publications.
I witnessed a perfect example of misrepresentation recently. Donald Trump was making a speech in Ocala, Florida. Early in the speech, the TV networks were flashing one of those banners at the bottom of the screen while the speech was still going on, saying that Donald Trump said, “If you are not registered, get the hell out of here.” What he really said was, “If you are not registered, get the hell out of here and register!” If you did not see the beginning of the speech, you would have been resigned to reading the banner that was flashed numerous times during his speech telling perspective speech listeners to get out if they were not registered. How can you respect a media that omits pertinent information, adds fictitious information or generally massages a story to express their political beliefs for personal gain? You can’t, as the Gallup numbers indicate. The media is suppose to be the ‘society truth filter,’ and sadly they are anything but that.
For all twelve years of elementary and secondary school, we all began the day by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Whenever we heard the national anthem, we sang it with gusto and reverence. In our town, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion were large and very much respected organizations. We had three generations of my family that all belonged to the American Legion. My grandfather and uncle were members of the VFW. Grandpa had fought in WWI. Never, ever, would we have ever thought of disrespecting these veterans by disrespecting the flag under which they all fought and served. When I see these people that do not stand for the national anthem and pay homage for the privileged life they lead in this country, because of the sacrifices of others….it makes me sick….and angry. I have often thought that this country should institute a policy of mandatory military service for males, just like the countries of Israel (includes women), Switzerland, most of the Scandinavian countries…22 countries in all. Why? An opportunity to gain maturity, responsibility and direction in making future life decisions. A dose of discipline does not hurt anyone. But more importantly, it is difficult to disrespect your flag and your country if you saluted the flag every day, and fought for your country. In other words, unlike a certain spoiled NFL quarterback, a veteran has ‘more skin in the game.’ While the NFL QB is sitting on his ass and collecting millions, there are military people fighting and sacrificing to keep his freedoms secure for 2% of what he makes in a year. But, why has the media dubbed him a hero? What kind of demented media would ever impart one word of praise on anyone that is a selfish, self-serving dickwad. And now…college teams and high school teams are following this idiot’s example because they feel they are victims of an oppressive society, too.
Do you like the direction our government is going? According to the 2015 Pew Research report, only 19% of the respondents feel the government is doing a good job, ‘just about always (3%) or ‘most of the time (16%). This is a far cry from say, 50 years ago when in 1965, about 65% of the people thought the government was doing a good job. Do you know the last administration that achieved over a 50% approval rating? That would be between 2000 and 2003 during the George W. Bush years. My, how things have changed. This country faces some real problems and some real enemies, and we are focused on political correctness and what bathrooms everyone can use – depending if you feel like a man or woman on any particular day. How can you respect a government that appears to be lost for direction and unable to establish priorities. How can you respect a government full of people more focused on getting reelected than of doing what is right for America? This includes accepting money from special interest groups whose interests are nowhere near to what would be best for the country. I have said it in previous blogs, Grandpa T’s Rule #2, “A politician in power is most concerned about getting reelected, rather than in doing what is right for the country.”
So there you have it, readers. Why are so many organizations losing respect? The media and the government are less trusted and respected than a crooked used car salesman. Our teachers and law enforcement personnel are attempting to function in areas that approach combat zones. We have millionaire athletes disrespecting our flag and national anthem because they feel America is an oppressive country. These are our children’s role models.
After all is said and done, I do know this; respect is earned, not granted. If you have lost respect, then you are failing in your job, such as the government and the media. I am determined to earn my respect, even if it means arm wrestling Spike one more time for the comfy TV chair.