Today’s global landscape seems sadly bereft of respect, across all walks of life and in so many societies. Political correctness too often perverts respect; be it left or right politics or issues relating to gender, colour, creed, sexual preference, disability or nationality, among others. Self-righteousness and intolerance of individualism pertaining to lifestyle, behaviours or beliefs however harmless to self or others, permeates popular perspectives.
Illustrated recently by French President Emmanuel Macron who rebuked a teenage boy for disrespecting his presidency by calling him “Manu” and for publicly promoting socialist politics perfidious to him, Macron then insisted on the address-“Mr President, or Sir. OK..? You’ve got to do things the right way,” according to media reports.
Is respect for others intrinsic to our shared humanity irrespective of socio-economics and/or professional prestige? If not, should it be? Some people opine respect is assumed by authority, knowledge and expertise, even by race, religion or gender, presupposing a superiority conferred by status. Consequently, respect towards those not so blessed is distorted by self-deceiving delusions of importance; respect surpassed as irrelevant.
Maybe that pervasive reality engenders the disquiet about disrespect so innate in the world now with millions of people ignorantly and illusorily believing respect in relationships is dependent on one’s appearance, one’s job, where one lives, what auto you drive and all other manner of material manifestations. Being a kind, decent human being is subordinate to success as defined by one’s bank account.
Moreover, a tragic sequent of that belief system is people without those supposed symbols of success often have no self-respect either, shamed by social mores into feeling failures.
The recent suicides of people both famous and with fortune invites reflection not just on the significance of respect for others as sentient humans, but the importance of nurturing self-respect with wealth and superficial success superfluous.
Contextually all humans deserve respect; however sometimes respect becomes less warranted towards those who succumb to snobbish, spoiled and supercilious insincerity. Macron’s status, as he perceived it, subsumed a patronage of best practice; possibly disrespectful to the boy himself; shortly after pompously proposing respect has to be earned.
Faith in self-respect and respect of others demands discerning differences in people to distinguish an implicit moral integrity that is richly rewarding for self and societies around the world.
Leviticus 19:15 records respect as “You shall do no injustice in judgement, you shall not be partial to the poor nor defer to the great, but you are to judge your neighbour fairly.”