It is easy to lose perspective and cloud your judgment when you are passionate about a subject. Sometimes when the opportunity arises to make a point, civility is set aside and respect falls to the wayside.
Ronald Reagan when running as a candidate for president made it a point to refer to his opponent with respect. His reference to his opponent was always “Mr. President” or “President Carter” yes, he had a difference of opinion, but he also showed respect for the man and the office.
President Reagan was often called a great communicator but few noted the respect he gave his audience and his opponents. There was no teleprompter to remind him what to say or how to say it but he delivered speeches with clarity and conviction leaving the audience with an understanding of exactly what he believed.
Today we have a lack of respect from leaders in Washington with President Obama praising James Hoffa after a profane call for an attack on opponents. Then we have a couple of Republican members of Congress that will not attend a joint session of Congress to hear the President speak.
Respect for an opponent will not increase the federal debt, it will not weaken a position but it will reflect on character. It is time for leaders of both political parties to bring back civility and respect. When the president speaks, out of respect for the office all of us should respectfully listen.
Remember back in 2008 when the campaign rhetoric included a conciliatory tone about reaching across the aisle to be inclusive and respectful. When the words faded to echoes we had a healthcare bill without bipartisan input and the nation became more divided.
Grassroots America was offended and stirred to react in response to massive federal spending for bailouts. We are more divided as a nation today than we were four years ago.
Who among us thought in 2008 we would see another “tea party” response to government in America. Today we have a grassroots activation of protests that are in large measure fostered by a perceived lack of respect for the people, for the Constitution and for the beliefs of our founding fathers.
The lack of respect shown by Democratic leaders in Congress and the White House has done more harm for their agenda than any Republican member of Congress. The large swing away from support of our President in the last congressional election was not from what Republicans did as much as it was a response to what Democratic leadership had done. They disrespected the American people.
Aretha Franklin spelled it out R-E-S-P-E-C-T and our leaders would do well to practice it. While we all can have a difference of opinion it is not an excuse to show a lack of respect and civility toward one another.