Monday, December 15, 2008

Sole Respect

When I first heard about the reporter who threw his shoes at President Bush I rolled my eyes and thought "gimme a break - what is wrong with people?"

I saw the video of it and was impressed with Bush's reflexes...not impressed with security. I've noticed the media talking about how upset this guy was, and excusing the behavior by saying that in his culture that behavior is meant to be insulting.

I just want to say... bravo for exercising the freedom you have currently, to throw a shoe at a President... bravo you brave, brave... size 10 male. Way to go...chuck a shoe at the hand that feeds you...bravo. Should Bush ask "Now, what would Saddam do?"

A lot of people in the media, and folks on the "bash Bush at every expense bandwagon" are giggling... giggling so hard they can't see straight. And I have to ask - why? Even if you don't agree with someone, even if you don't like them, are we really that base to think this is acceptable, funny and warranted? Really? Are we that low?

I remember when I was in Israel and how willing and attentive we were to all the customs and rites in that area. When we visited the mosques we all left our shoes outside. We wore modest clothing - and in some areas weren't even allowed to wear shorts. We felt a deep respect for the holy places, even if we weren't of the same religion.

I wonder... were we respectful because it was demanded there... or because that is our nature? It makes me wonder if the people of this country (even the loud, obnoxious ones) would be more respectful, and grateful for the blessings we have in this country - if other countries would follow suit.

If we don't respect ourselves - why should anyone else?

My favorite statement from the author of Wild Swans is found on page 14:

It was at York that one night the thought of writing a book about my past life came to me. I was invited to talk by a professor who had just been in China. He showed some slides of a school he had visited, where the pupils were having lessons on an obviously freezing winter day, in classrooms with no heating but roundly broken windows. "Are they not cold?" the kindly professor had asked. "No, they are not," the school had answered.

After the slide show there was a reception, and one woman, perhaps struggling to find something to say to me, began: "You must feel very hot here." This innocent remark hurt me so badly that I left the room abruptly and had my first cry since I came to Britain. It was not so much a feeling of being insulted, but an overwhelming pain for the people of my native land. We were not treated by our own government as proper human beings, and consequently some outsiders did not regard us as the same kind of human s as themselves. I thought of the old observation that Chinese lives were cheap, and one Englishman's amazement that his Chinese servant should find a toothache unbearable. I was infuriated once again by the many admiring comments of Westerners who had visited Mao's China that the Chinese were extraordinary people who seemed to enjoy being criticized, denounced, "reformed" in labor camps -- all things that would seem sheer misery to Westerners.
It seems there's a pervasive loud speaker in our country - a shrill droning of how worthless we are. How dare we have all these blessings... how we must loath ourselves. This is so sad to me. Instead of debasing ourselves to help other people feel good about themselves, or for those that can't reconcile who they truly are - why can't we all just be grateful. Why can't we appreciate what we have? Why can't we funnel our pent up energy into uplifting others, rather than belittling everything around us? Who knows, the next time a shoe is thrown - it could be at you - will you be laughing then?


AzĂșcar said...

I'll admit it, I giggled.

Listen, I cannot stand the man.

I like think I've moved past my anger, my utter and complete lack of regard for him, but here my fingers are shaking with fury as I type...huh, I really thought I was past it.

Anyway, you know I've always been a proponent of respect in civic discourse, but even sometimes the baseness creeps in and I delighted in seeing that (pause to remove offensive adjectives; self edit) man having to duck.

I didn't hate him when he was elected, but almost every action he's executed in office has made my adequate respect for him fall commensurately.

I guess what I'm saying is that I wish it had been my shoes (but we Spaniards are well known as being shoe-throwers.)

AzĂșcar said...

p.s. Do I feel a little bad that I want to hit him with a shoe? Sure. Then again, my tendency to engage in schadenfreude is not my best quality.

glittersmama said...

Queen- I couldn't agree more.

I've got lots of things swirling around in my head right now that I'm not good at putting together cohesively.

The cliched phrase "What would Jesus do?" Is that really ever a bad way to conduct yourself?

What about the 13th article of faith? Especially the "doing good to all men" part.

Just because I don't agree with or like someone doesn't give me the right to physically attack them.

People can use whatever excuses they like to justify what happened, but I think the whole thing was juvenile and obnoxious.

It's easy to point fingers and laugh, but I am going to choose to subscribe to the what would Jesus do philosophy.

b. said...

I love what you have to say here....and I agree.

I don't think G-dub can be blamed for everything that went wrong.

The best part of me says all things will be worked out in the end. And that I must behave well.

La Yen said...

Azucar would SLAP THE TABLE with her shoe, not throw it, because it would be confiscated and she would have to wear prison flats. :)

I thought it was hilarious, but because when I saw it I saw the Texan in him going "WTF? Shoes? Seriously? Shoes?" And then when the other one came flying, I thought he was going to burst out laughing.

But, yes, it takes a lot of guts to do some sort of civil disobedience when you are NOT going to get shot and your family is NOT going to be raped and burned.

And I know it is unpopular, but I really do think that in twenty years from now President Bush will be seen in an entirely different light, and I think it will be interesting to see critics understand things a little differently.

Queen Scarlett said...

La Yen - I agree with you. So many people are so quick to be short-sighted. They are so intent on winning power and popular opinion that they don't see the bigger picture - the perspective of wisdom is lost. I also believe that too many people are ignorant on the amount of power a President has. The office is 1/3 of the government. The role is to enforce laws - not create them. Last I checked our Senate and House who make the laws...lean left. And have been that way for far too long. Anyone that believes one man as President is a magic genie to solve all the ills of the world... needs to share some of whatever they're taking. Reality is a B.

b. - I agree... some people have class... and some don't. The same hypocrites that cry foul on others - refuse to admit it themselves.

glittersmama - there's a lot of do as I say...or else pervasive in our nation. Take a look at Prop 8 response and Al Franken. Power is all they want. They don't want democracy - they don't care that the will of the people has been heard... they only care about their agenda - freedom be damned.

Azucar - Would you throw a stiletto? I think for some, it's easier to blame all the ills of the world on one person. It's harder to see the complexities and to realize there's no such thing as an easy fix (a non-white president for example). I believe there are very few people who are truly, defined as evil. I think it's attitude displayed by us, citizens that allows other nations the "courage" to piss all over us. If we aren't respectful of ourselves - no one else needs to be. Countries are not destroyed from without - they are destroyed from within. And at the rate we're going... the destructive forces within are mean-spirited, and like a cancer that won't stop. In a country as blessed, and as talked about in the Book of Mormon - that is sad. A helping of humility is on the agenda...and all of us are going to pay the price for those that are destructive.

Amy said...

Wow, great thoughts here. Love all of the insight. Of course... I'm joining a TAD late. So I'll leave it at that.