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The Politics of Respect

A recent editorial in the Los Vegas Sun- entitled “Respect Missing in GOP Campaign”- elaborated upon the increasing “disrespect” that Obama supporters feel is directed at the President by the GOP candidates. This commentary echoed sentiment expressed in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post on September 1st of this year.  The article points out how the President is fighting for respect from not just his opponents but also from his constituents. The left is quick to point out the “disrespect” they see inherent in criticism directed at the President, but they rarely investigate why this lack of respect is so pervasive.  In reality, respect is not something given when unmerited.  Unfortunately, for President Obama and his followers, he has done little to earn respect the office deserves.

The widespread lack of regard in which President Obama is held, may be due in part to his own attitude toward Americans at home.  Last year, the President claimed that votes are driven by “fear and frustration” because “we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared.”  Is it any surprise that Americans are afraid; our foundational principles are under assault and the Constitution based upon them, is in danger of being neutralized. Yet, the implication that we’re not “thinking clearly” is insulting.  Most people want to be treated like rational, capable human beings.  Obama’s condescension is palpable. Evidently he perceives that the problem is with us, not with him.

And that is exactly the point. This president is unable to accept responsibility: President Bush did it; ATMs cause unemployment; Americans are too frightened to think clearly.  His apologists, taking a cue from the president, want to ignore  substance and label anything critical as disrespect. Yet, President Obama does not  extend rudimentary courtesy either at home or abroad.

It’s not just Americans who have been affronted.  The United States and Great Britain have long been close allies, but this tie has frayed since Barack Obama was elected president.  As a deliberate insult, Mr. Obama began his administration by returning a bust of Winston Churchill, loaned by the British government in a show of solidarity after the September 11th attacks.  Great Britain offered to let the United States retain the bust, but the offer was rejected. Churchill, and a good deal of Britain’s respect, were sent packing.  Such churlish behavior has been repeated over and over again since this President took office.  In July, the Commander in Chief repudiated the “special relationship” America has always had with England, claiming that France was our nation’s greatest ally, disregarding years of cultural precedent.  Based upon President Obama’s disrespectful attitude towards our traditional allies, it’s not difficult to see why the United States has lost stature in the world.  America cannot afford to lose the respect of its allies.  The impact of President Obama’s actions will last far longer than his time in office.

Up until this point we’ve said nothing about the irony inherent in the complaints of the left about the widespread lack of deference shown to President Obama.  Many on the left are blithely unaware of their hypocrisy.  They conveniently forget the utter disdain they displayed for President Bush, throughout his entire presidency.  While respect must always be accorded to the office of the President, for decorum is necessary in the public sphere, one has to ask if Obama’s continual degradation of the office may be exactly what’s fueling the mounting disregard in which he is held.  Many people are concerned and wish to conserve values not shared by this president.  It is difficult to respect the office when the man in charge seems determined to destroy the principles upon which it is based.

Respect is earned and should be given and not just acquired. He and some of his allies on the left continue to expect accolades and acclaim as his rightful due, regardless of his actions.

The United States is built on the premise that the government serves the people and not the other way around. How are Americans to show President Obama the respect he thinks he deserves if he is perpetually looking down his nose at us (sometimes literally)?  It’s no wonder; therefore, why Obama supporters claim to see  what they call “disrespect” among their ideological adversaries. Their premise is wrong. Every president has been subject to criticism (think of what Lincoln endured)  cartoons, Saturday-night-live lampoons, and political humor come with the job.  This one apparently thinks he should be immune.  He is not king and we are not his subjects.  We do not genuflect.  If Obama and his acolytes want to escape censure,  they could start by examining the policies that provoke it. That would be treating the American people with respect.


1 Matthew { 12.27.11 at 8:05 am }

You’re absolutely correct, Amy. The president does sometimes seem to forget the Golden Rule. If you want someone’s respect, respect them.


2 Jeff Edelman { 12.28.11 at 9:07 pm }

You forgot to mention the lies. All the lies. So many of them. Hard to respect someone whose word means NOTHING! If the media told the truth about the depth and breadth of this man’s and the other democrats’ disingenousness, deceit, deviousness, calculation, manipulation, unscrupulousness and psychosis, the game would be over for them.


3 Bob Mack { 12.28.11 at 11:36 pm }

The premises of the Left are generally always wrong.


4 Mike Schapiro { 12.29.11 at 8:54 am }

Must dissent. Criticism and disrespect are two different things. Disagree but do so respectfully. Everyone should be fine with respectful criticism but when you have a commentator call the President “a jerk,” for example, or another call Laura Ingraham “a slut,” they’re way over the line. Those are extreme cases but the nonpartisan has many others. Part of the gridlock is caused by the personal disrespect shown by both sides to the other. Pres. Obama’s comments about France were a poor choice of words, in my opinion, but he didn’t say France was our greatest ally. He said we don’t have a greater ally than France. Seems to me his intent was to point out that France and England are equally great allies. Sadly, misstatements and falsehoods occur on both sides.


5 Marcia { 12.30.11 at 10:57 am }

Must dissent from your dissent, Mike. It is the president and his supporters who cannot distinguish between criticism and disrespect. They seek to abolish the former by confounding it with the latter.


Mike Schapiro Reply:

Thanks for the comment, Marcia. I don’t see how any person or group would even try to abolish dissent in this day and age. If you get time, peek at and the problem it sees on both sides of the aisle.


Mike Schapiro Reply:

Sorry, it’s actually


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