“And all I’m asking in return honey
Is to give me my propers…”
R-E-S-P-E-C-T – Aretha Franklin
Respect. It’s been on my mind a lot lately. Seeing it. Not seeing it. Giving it. Getting it. Deserving it. Earning it. Losing it.
I think some of it is my generation’s fault. Maybe each generation’s fault. Each generation, the level of respect goes down. Things that my kids say to me, I never would have said to my parents. And not only do I not take offense, some of it I find quite funny.
Then there’s times when I’m just appalled. Things that I hear my kids friends get away with, things that they do. Hell things that my own kids get away with sometimes. But it’s the environment we, as the previous generation, built. We get the respect we demand, I guess. And we really didn’t demand that much apparently.
It’s funny, you hear it all the time. “Respect your elders.” “Respect authority.” “Respect your parents.” “To get respect you have to give respect.”
I think the one I like the most, the one that’s the truest to me is, “You don’t get respect because you want it. You get it because you earn it.”
But still, even if you’ve earned it, you still may not get it.
Look at the logo above. Seriously. Who equates respect with brass knuckles? “Might makes right” is an expression that should have fallen out of favour decades ago.
And yet, we still have countries that believe this is the way to get respect. We have leaders that believe this. We have parents. We have spouses. Anyone that equates brutality with respect deserves only our pity or our utter contempt.
Lately, I’ve seen respect beaten and bleeding and on the ropes.
I’ve seen a woman that has bent over backwards for another, helped out again and again and again, and, like Charlie Brown with that damn football, constantly have it yanked out every time. But when that woman brings someone into her own home to help them, and have them bad-mouth her? Someone that should be thanking God that she’s even there? Where’s the respect?
I watched another woman, someone who lived a long and obviously impactful life, have it all brushed aside and spit on by someone with so little respect for her and themselves that they didn’t know when to just shut up. I think they loved her. They maybe even respected her. But I don’t think they respect themselves. Or anyone else, for that matter. Where’s the respect?
I have been attacked again and again for a decision I made years ago to cut someone out of my life. They lied and stole from me, and they endangered my family. And they simply didn’t care. And yet. And yet. I’m the one that gets attacked. Where’s the respect?
I’ve had two (thankfully only two) bosses that knowingly overlooked employees’ criminal behaviour to attack me for their actions. When someone stands in the middle of a workplace floor and proclaims that I’m only popular because I sleep with all the women on the team that I support, then I get in trouble because I’m “a big boy and should just suck it up” I question the respect. And the sanity. When a boss tells me they’re “coming after” me to fire me due to a false rumour started by someone else, I question not only the respect, but the ethics.
I’ve seen people who can’t handle others who are a different colour of skin from them. Or a different sexual preference. Or simply a different way of thinking.
I’ve seen one person, who I’m supposed to be nice to, because they are a relation. But when that person throws out shit like, “Niggers are great, everyone should own one,” and, “the only good nigger’s a dead nigger,” they will not be getting any respect from me. I will not be nice to them.
I’ve seen people who feel they deserve respect simply because they have a pulse. They’ve done nothing but barely survive in the world, sponging off others, lying, cheating, stealing, hurting others. Never a care in the world for the swath of destruction and pain they’ve left behind them. Yet still, excuses are made (or manufactured) for them, and more chances given. Why? Why do we do this?
Is it because we believe, deep down, everyone is basically a “good” person that truly, on some basic level, deserves respect? Maybe we do. Maybe it’s that hopeful side of us that needs to believe that.
I think I’m past believing in that now.
There’s many that get my respect. Most have earned it, most deserve it, others get it unconditionally.
But I think I’m at a point now where I find I don’t just give respect freely anymore. I guess I’m a little more jaded, more wary.
You can only take so many punches to the face before you automatically flinch. Or raise your guard.
I apologize for the above blog. Maybe I’m coming across as a whiner. Maybe I’ll catch hell from some people about things I’ve said in this blog. And maybe that’s me not respecting them enough.
Or maybe it’s just that they expect the respect that they have not yet earned.