It seems that in today’s dysfunctionally diversified society that I hear the word ‘Respect’ used so often that it has now become synonymous with the word ‘Tolerate’….
Growing up in the Midwest in a very small Southern Illinois farm town, being raised by a German/Irish Catholic dad and a Spanish/Pilipino Catholic mom and attending a parochial school full of nuns flailing metal edge rulers at anyone batting an eye to authority established the foundation for who I have become today. Right or wrong… it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the fact that I did learn the ‘True’ meaning of the word ‘Respect’, and I also learned the true meaning of the word ‘Tolerate’………… I learned to ‘Respect’ the ruler, and ‘Tolerate’ the nuns…….
This morning I read a quote from Penn Jillette who stated, “For all you weird kids out there, democracy without respect for individual rights sucks. It’s just ganging up against the weird kid, and I’m always the weird kid.”
Although I can totally understand what Mr. Jillette was expressing (hey, I was a weird kid too), I cannot however agree with his use of the word ‘Respect’. You see, unlike Mr. Jillette, I gave seven years of my life serving our country in order to help preserve our nations constitutional rights – one of which is to be ‘weird’… Mr. Jillette on the other hand has spent his life as a ‘Magician’ trained in the art of deception (hmmm… sounds a little like a politician to me). I do enjoy ‘watching’ his magical talents much more then ‘listening’ to them though…..
One of the very first things that I learned in the military when I joined the Navy back in February of 1971 was that I was required to respect only two things….
- Our American Flag for what it represents.
- The ‘Position’ of my ‘Superiors’ including my ‘Commander in Chief’
Nothing anywhere says that I had or have to ‘Respect’ anyone, or their personal rights. I don’t have to ‘Respect’ the person, or anyone else for that matter. You see, ‘Respect’ is an ‘Earned’ thing, and no one has the right to force anyone to ‘Respect’ them or what they may believe to be ‘their’ truth. No one should have to ‘Force’ anyone to believe the way they do by using the word ‘Respect’.
I have ‘Tolerated’ many things in the 65 years that I have survived here on planet earth and have lived all over this great nation interacting with all sorts of lifestyles, cultures, religious beliefs, races, and economic classes. Over this time, I have expanded and grown to ‘Respect’ not just two, but THREE things in life…….
- Our ‘American Flag’ for what it represents.
- The ‘Position’ of my ‘Superiors’ including my ‘Commander in Chief’.
- The ‘Relationship’ I have with my wife Connie who:
- Does my laundry
- Cleans our house
- Cooks our meals
- Washes the dishes
- Fake laughs at my jokes
- Shoots guns with me
- Helps mow our lawn
- Goes camping with me
- Gives 110% to our kids and grandkids
- Holds our family together like glue
- Who loves me ‘Unconditionally’
Sorry Mr. Penn Jillette, I don’t have to ‘Respect’ you or anyone else’s individual rights, your weirdness, or your belief’s in what you perceive as democracy – I only need to ‘Tolerate’ them – now THAT Mr. Jillette, is true ‘Democracy’.