re·spect[ri-spekt] –noun

1. a particular, detail, or point (usually prec. by in ): to differ in some respect.

2. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a personal quality or ability, or something considered as a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I have great respect for her judgment.

3. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, or someone or something considered to have certain rights or privileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment: respect for a suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for the flag; respect for the elderly.

4. the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held in respect.

–verb (used with object)

5. to hold in esteem or honor: I cannot respect a cheat.

6. to show regard or consideration for: to respect someone’s rights.

7. to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with: to respect a person’s privacy.

There has been, and perhaps still remains to some extent, an unwritten contract between government and the people.  I almost wrote “governed” but that isn’t appropriate in the United States.  We are not governed as are those elsewhere.  Here government exists solely by the will of the people.  We are not governed because of that unwritten contract that says government is a partnership with the people.

The Preamble to the US Constitution begins with “We the people…” and gives legitimacy to the government created by that document. The contract is written in mutual respect.  It can only remain in effect while that mutual respect continues.

We have reached a point in the history of this country where that mutual respect has been damaged.  It is too soon to say whether the damage is irreparable.  The actions of the democrat lead Congress since they took control in 2006 has shown no respect to the people and has all too often ignored and acted against the interests of the people in order to affect an agenda that has been contrary to the wishes of the people.  The actions by democrats in the summer of 2009 and the creation of the Tea Party movement illustrate this divide and the loss of respect.  When democrats actively move to exclude a portion of the country from communicating their desires, when democrats denigerate their political opponents, the government does not show respect to those who they view as “the governed.”  That viewpoint is incorrect and perilous.

The democrat leadership, and unfortunately a number of republicans as well, has violated the contract.  When non-governmental agencies, such as SEIU, are used to intimidate members of the public, when racist groups such as the New Black Panther Party actively intimidate voters at the polls, and when the officers of the federal government refuse to act as required by law, that contract is further damaged. The actions by Att’y Gen’l Eric Holder in suing Arizona for daring to act to protect the national borders when the government refuses to do so, damages the contract.

With mutual respect there is trust.  The actions of the current government does not respect the people of this nation as shown above.  The people of this country, as illustrated by the actions of Virginia, Louisiana, Arizona, and probably Missouri after next Tuesday is proof that the people and the states are losing respect for the federal government.  With no respect, there is no trust and when trust is lost, recreating respect and trust is a long, difficult and dangerous road.

The contract must be re-formulated, perhaps this time in writing if this nation is to survive.  It may not do so in its current form.  Whether the “Great Experiment” as viewed by Alexi de Tocqueville continues is unknown. Another cogent quote from Walter Lippman says…

Walter Lippmann : In making the great experiment of governing people by consent rather than by coercion, it is not sufficient that the party in power should have a majority. It is just as necessary that the party in power should never outrage the minority.

We have already reached the point where the people are outraged.  We are close to the point where the majority of the people are enraged.  When that point is reached, the contract is broken, there is no trust and no respect by the people for government.
I pray we do not reach this point because the greatest danger is that the United States will no longer be united and with that, the Great Experiment ends.                   

2 thoughts on “Respect

  1. It reminds me of what Ben Franklin once said to a woman after signing the Constitituion.

    A republic if you can keep it.

    I think we are at the cliffs edge of it being lost.

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