A Crisis Of Conscience 6 comments

A Crisis Of Conscience

How many of you share my crisis of conscience? Growing up, I was taught to respect the office of the President of the United States. How can I do that when I don’t respect Donald Trump as a human being? Why don’t I respect him? His behavior is petulant. He shifts his narrative regarding any issue (WikiLeaks, Russia, pick a topic, any topic) like a manual sports car without a clutch. His whining of mistreatment is incessant. Even Presidential Counselor Kellyanne Conway can be found hitting the talk show circuit bemoaning the public’s disrespect for the PEOTUS. I don’t understand how she can champion that fight when the man she counsels posts things like this (courtesy of @Craigipedia):


A Crisis of Conscience

Kellyanne entreats us to respect the Presidential office and the President-Elect? If he doesn’t respect the office, why should we?

Looking over these tweets, I have to laugh. Earlier tonight I was recalling how much I didn’t care for GWB as President, but at least I respected his position. I can’t say that about the PEOTUS. Earlier tonight I also thought I’d have to go to Trump’s Twitter page to pull individual tweets for reference. Thanks to @CoreyRittmaster and @tbinkc liking @Craigipedia’s tweets, I found the images above and below.

Presidential Disrespect

Long ago I was also taught that respect is earned, not given. The Presidential office should inherently come with at least a modicum of respect. Is it possible to respect the position, but not the person?

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6 thoughts on “A Crisis Of Conscience

  • Chris Wurst

    A simple resolution to your crisis is to realize that any institution, including the Presidency, does not inherently come with any level of respect. “Respecting the office of the President of the United States” only makes sense to the extent that the office is serving the interests of the people who are being asked to respect it. As you say, respect is earned, not given.

    • Randman

      I’ve taught this to my son. You may not respect the person, but treat then with respect due to the office.

      I didn’t agree with much of what the current president did. My son told me he would tell off the president. I immediately corrected him. I told him if I had the chance to meet him, I would act with respect and courtesy. I would count it exciting to meet a president. You don’t have to agree with someone to treat them correctly. VP Biden is a great example. We are very different politically. But I would be thrilled to meet him, because I respect him. I don’t like his politics, but I admire him as a person. The mere fact he passed on running for president showed me his character.

      Trump is hard to swallow. I hate that he stoops so low. He has the ability to do great things, but he can’t get out of his own way. So, I completely understand that he is not respecting the office.

      However, why drop to his level? Treat the office with respect, more than he is showing. Realize also the tremendous pressures and sacrifices that come with it. Set the example. Be better than he is. Someone else will hold the office in four to eight years. Don’t allow him to diminish the office to you.

      • Chris Wurst

        My point was that there is exactly zero respect due to the office of the Presidency. It is not correct to presume that just because Trump is the president he deserves respect. This applies no matter who is occupying the office (and applies to any institution, as I mentioned.)

        • Peter Calderone Post author

          As I’ve aged and witnessed the breadth of humanity, I’ve tried to treat everyone the same – respect-neutral, if you will. Their actions and words then guide how much respect they gain or lose. It’s an ever-changing scale. The problem I have with this PEOTUS is that he hasn’t even taken office yet and he has lost so much of my respect. To Randman’s Charlie scenario, I wouldn’t have to worry about it because I would decline the offer to meet him. Unless something radically changed, that is. Unless the next President somehow manages to be worse than Trump, s/he will automatically have more of my respect than he has earned.

          To Chris’ point, I would agree in theory, but hesitate to deal in such absolutes. What about teachers or the institution of marriage? Is there no one you believe should automatically have respect? I’m not trying to be difficult, just curious what your thoughts are.

          • Chris Wurst

            I feel like you’re right on the verge of agreeing with, or at least understanding, my point. An ever-changing scale of respect is exactly what I am advocating. If, say, respect is graded on a -100 to 100 scale, everyone starts out at 0. Nobody gets a head-start or default level of respect.

            The entirety of human history is littered with people being taken advantage of precisely because institutions are able to operate with default levels of respect that allow them to perform atrocities. Even institutions that feel like should be obvious candidates for default respect are not immune. The police? Check out the DoJ report on the racism in the Chicago Police Department from last week. The church? Watch Spotlight. For these reasons I can draw no other conclusion than the one I have advocated: nobody and no institution gets an inherent level of respect. Even teachers.

            I would also draw a distinction between institutions populated by people that are intended to serve others (i.e. businesses, political offices, public service departments, etc.) and “institutions” like marriage. But, of course, marriage is simply a social construct and as such does not have any inherent level of respect as part of it. That’s probably off topic, though.

          • Peter Calderone Post author

            I understand your point and I’m closer to agreeing than you think. Your scale describes what I meant.

            When I speak of parents or teachers, I am, of course, speaking from my own life experience. I can’t speak for others, but I understand not everyone shares my experiences. If so, we wouldn’t have some ugly things like child abuse, teachers having sex with students, or even uglier acts. You’re right, those people deserve no respect.

            I do have a problem if you (the royal you) don’t respect your significant other. Why are you with them if you don’t respect them? I’m sure someone might say because the sex is great, but that’s just not how I’m wired.