Paul Elisha: Respect And Consideration
No matter on what thoroughfare we Americans may reside, there is only one truly two-way street in this country and sadly, too many of us have forgotten its significance and lost sight of where it leads.
When the lone punch-line comedian, Rodney Dangerfield loudly complained to the world-at-large: “I don’t get no respect!” he was just being truthful. The reason was that he demanded it. Peruse any dictionary, thesaurus or grammatical reference and find the word: “respect.” You’ll find no mention of any term connoting submission or capitulation. What you will find is the word – “consideration” or some form of it. Fellow Americans, ‘consideration’ is a two-way street. One person verbalizes an opinion (on any subject) and another considers it and responds. No one demands anything and no one acquiesces. That, my friends is respect and it’s truly a two-way street. It’s also what too many of us have lost our understanding of and how to find our way there, again. For starters, it’s the simplest and easiest form of give and take.
Let’s for-a-moment forget about those who sought this destination with malice of forethought, evangelistic, pure conquest or commercial dominion. Those who came here seeking to better their lot as individuals, simply and surely learned they could succeed by working together against whatever obstacle arose; also that successful cooperation most assuredly led to social recourse and human goodwill. At their most intuitive moments, they also realized they need not agree on everything to maintain a successful response to problems or to enjoy the fruits of their efforts. As a result, they achieved wealth and happiness, that earned them the envy of the world. This, fellow citizens, is the self-respect we’ve lost and the mutual consideration we must regain, if the America in which we reside is ever again to become the miraculous ‘street-of-dreams’ on which many immigrants lived and others could still aspire to.
At the height of its Mediterranean dominance, ancient Greece was in the political grip of powerful and self-serving leaders, who were condemned by the philosopher Aristotle, who preached a new form of government, he called “Democracy,” which he said arose out of a notion that those who are equal in any respect are equal in all respects… because they are equally free. For teaching such views, the egocentric leaders ordered his death by poisoning but his ideas lived on. Today’s Greece is the bankrupt backwater of a mistrusting European continent and what Aristotle taught became a bed-rock belief of this nation’s founders. They emblazoned it on a national motto for all to see and respect, because it was meant for all: “E PLURIBUS UNUM” --- “OUT OF MANY, ONE.”
That’s the kind of thinking that can take all of us back to America’s two-way Street-of-Dreams; a thoroughfare for all its citizens --- except self-serving politicians.
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