Fred Henneke, Attorney & Counselor-At-Law
“Nancy and Donnie, you both have been very naughty in class today. Now go stand in the corner with your face to the wall until you can behave like proper children.”
Here in Texas, we teach our children to shake hands firmly and look the other person in the eye while doing so. If your worst enemy comes up and sticks out their hand, you shake it. It is a symbol of respect and proper breeding. Not to do so reflects poorly on you, not your enemy. Also, it ties up their gun hand and keeps the enemy from reaching for their gun. Finally, you don’t want to turn your back on that low-down varmit.
We also teach our children Respect. Respect for our elders and respect for the important symbols and leaders of our Great Nation. The person occupying the Office of the President of the United States is ALWAYS entitled to respect because of the office that person holds and the symbolic nature of that Office. Whether the varmit holding that Office is worthy of respect doesn’t matter; you pay due RESPECT to the Office.
Likewise with the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives. After all, should something happen to the President and he or she be unable to serve, the Speaker is the second in line to become President. Even if the person holding the Office of Speaker is entirely unworthy, the Office still commands RESPECT.
The President’s refusal to acknowledge and shake the out stretched hand of the Speaker, and the Speaker’s premeditated tearing up of the copy of the State of the Union address were both appalling acts of Disrespect. Personal animosity, regardless of how deep and heartfelt, could never justify such total lack of Respect on both parties. They were childish and totally uncalled for. I was ashamed of both persons.
Unfortunately, these acts symbolize the state of today’s politics. It is not enough to win the vote; it is not enough to make sincere efforts to have your ideas carry the day. Unless you ridicule, demonize and humiliate the fellow citizens who disagree with your position, you do not feel vindicated. You must make them out as disloyal buffoons who have the express goal of destroying America or you have not prevailed. And we wonder why there is NO, NADA, NOT A SCINTILLA of cross-aisle cooperation and compromise in order to effectively and permanently address the serous issues facing the United States!
I hope parents hid the eyes of their children just like they did during the halftime show of the Super Bowl.when those two poorly brought up children chose to disrespect the office the other holds during the State of the Union Address Both were equally uncalled for and just plain wrong.
Remember, “Respect is something you have to have in order to get”. (The Fixer by Bernard Malamud.).