Monday, May 09, 2005

Opinion - Respect and Honor

Ok, over the weekend I watched a favorite movie - just the last 90 minutes - The Last Samurai. Acknowledging for the moment that an overly dramatic and sanitized version of Samurai honor is portrayed, I do have a problem with the COMPLETE LACK of either respect or honor in today's society.

I like having a door held open for me damn it. Is it so much to ask for some respect in conversations? I am a firm believer in the idea that respect is earned, but a lack of even basic respect when you first meet someone is DISRESPECTFUL. And I am not talking the 'dis'ing that people complain about....most of those people are looking for others to fear them, and anything less than abject debasement is considered dis'ing.

Our daughter is in karate. She has attained black belt status after years of working for it. Black belts are called Sir or ma'am. Even lower belt adults must use the honorific when addressing a child black belt. Respect, earned. We bow when we enter or leave the dojo, even us un-belted parents. Respect and honor.

I served my country. I volunteered at 19 back when it was very unpopular to do so. I felt I had a moral obligation to serve. My nephew is serving in Iraq, he joined last year because he felt an obligation to serve. Honor, respect.

For my entire adult life I have tried to consider the opposing viewpoint. I have considered even things said in anger might have a basis in truth, and I have tried to see what that truth was (no matter how small). I have not always been successful, but I have tried.

This weekend I was asked what I wished for from people (it was more specific but you will get the point) and I said, more thank you's. We are a less polite people than when I was growing up....and that is a lack of respect too...for ourselves.

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