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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

 

Respect

An interesting word this, interesting concept. The current crop of politicians seems very interested in it. What is it? What good is it, and how do you get it if you need it? More to the point, when is it necessary and when not?

Found myself thinking thus on the daily beat pounding round as I came into contact with various members of the public. After all there’s George Galloway’s left wing R.E.S.P.E.C.T alliance. There is ‘respect’ in the context of unthinking deference to ‘superiors’. Then there is respect in the context or courtesy and consideration. Finally there is ‘Rispec’ commanded by fear of peer group violence and glorified by some parts of the media.

My Dad always taught me that ‘respect’ was a two edged sword, in that you do not generally get respect if you don’t give any in the first place. So if I had not ‘respected’ his decision that I should go out and get a job instead of going into higher education, his view was that he would not ‘respect’ my judgement in other matters. Then again, had I ‘respected’ my own judgement and gone for what I really wanted to do instead of acceding to my Fathers wishes, perhaps my life would have been better than the quirky patchwork quilt it has heretofore been. Who knows?

For my own part, having four decades of life behind me, I think I can say that ‘respect’ to me is courtesy and consideration for those I deem ‘worthy’ of it. By ‘worthy’ I mean someone who does not go out of their way, by word or deed, to inconvenience others and / or demonstrates ‘worth’ to the wider community by their day to day actions. Say someone who works for charity in their spare time without thought for their own betterment. Maybe just someone who is polite, kind, and thus helps grease the axles of social interaction, again without thought of reward. Exclusions are naturally those who demand respect without demonstrating that they are capable of reciprocating. The other exclusions are people you don’t like an awful lot, for whatever reason(s). It may not be much but it’s a definition of sorts.

Speaking from personal experience as a Parking Enforcement Officer, respect is not a very common commodity. It is a also a strange commodity that is owned the most by those who demand the least.

Respect is a noble concept, often soiled by unworthy politicians, both national and local. Especially people like George Galloway who hijack it for a meaningless party acronym title and their own dubious ends.

For what its worth, that’s my opinion. Worthy of respect or not.

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Exasperated expatriate expostulations all the way from British Columbia, Canada. As if anyone really cared. Oh, I also watch Icelandic Volcanoes and seismic activity. Don't ask me why.

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