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I am not writing about the current political free-for-all..I'm writing with a sincere pit in my stomach...a boil that's bugging me...a thorn in my side..here's my problem (we could go for days on the how's and why's this is happening, but what can we do to correct it?)

 

We have lost respect for the presidency.

 

We recently joined a very solid speech and debate club in my town, love the people, their dedication and goals for our children. One boy was standing up and giving directions on how to create a first affirmative case to these eager and willing club members. It got to the point about support and evidence...he said quotes are very helpful in supporting your case but make sure they come from a respected source. He went on to say that it would be unwise to use a quote from President Bush unless it was to be funny or a joke. My heart sank.

 

I have had personal opinions of each president as they serve. Some I would never have at my dinner table..but I completely and thoroughly respect the role they are serving. I have noticed how the media will refer to President Clinton as "former President Clinton" and President Bush as "Mr. Bush"...I'm all for free speech and and sharing opinions...I think this boy at the speech and debate was sharing an opinion and that to quote any president in relation to the context of the argument would hold some value. But, to completely dismiss a president because of bias and ignorance is not cool in my book. I would say the same thing if it were President Clinton and it was 12 years ago...or is it just that the current President is always not worthy of being quoted because we really have no objective view of their performance until it's researched by historians 20 years down the road. I bet if you ask any 15 year old to name 10 policies that Bush has supported, they couldn't name 5...so are they letting the media's characterization of Bush (word bumbler, cowboy from Texas) outweigh his actual work...would Clinton's transgressions in the White House out measure his efforts to lead this country 300+ days a year?

 

When will we stand up and bring back respect to the office? When will we challenge our children to know the facts before regurgitating what they hear in the mainstream? I'm not hearing policy on the nightly news....

 

Please tell me if I'm overreacting to the lack of respect for this office. I've come to a point in my life where so many are no longer outraged at the outrageous...boys will be boys, teens have a mind of their own, schools will never change, that's just the way it is...

 

I can't jump on that bandwagon...I'm a bit miffed!

 

I wanted to add that my complaint is not with as much what he thinks of this particular president (we all will have our opinions) but that he CHOSE to say it in such a way...I think the level of respect I'm seeking is that you simply don't say something that mocks such a high institution..he did not have to go there..too many kids nowadays say whatever whenever (i.e. myspace/facebook) and are rarely 'corrected'...with fewer and fewer figures of authority (teachers, parents, peers) standing up and correcting what represents a modus of decorum....are we failing our kids?

 

Any ideas?

Tara

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My perception is quite different from yours. What I see is a respect for the office of president that may or may not be extended to the person holding the office.

 

I do not watch tv. Even if I did, I probably would not notice how various people are addressed. But one possible explanation could be that the interviewer feels a need to explain who the less recognized guests are. I assume Bush's face is somewhere on TV nightly, unlike Clinton, Carter, or the elder Bush.

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Remember Nixon? (OK, maybe not. I don't.) Americans lost a huge amount of trust and respect for the office of President at that time. I don't know that we ever really got it back. Certainly we have never trusted the way people used to, but I think that's probably a good thing--I guess I don't really know, but looking at the adulation that presidents like FDR and Kennedy got, I don't think that was good for the country.

 

Anyway, the presidents are humans with feet of clay, and the clay has been showing up a lot over the past couple of presidencies. Since Nixon, only Reagan and Clinton have inspired much confidence, and then mostly only from one side of the aisle--each man had plenty of enmity from the other side too.

 

So...yeah. We've lost respect for the office, because the presidents haven't exactly been great men. I don't know if we get the leaders we deserve, but the pool of possibles is pretty depressing to a lot of people. We probably won't respect the office of President again until someone worthy of respect is in it.

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I have never heard anyone refer to him as "Mr. Bush"

 

Even Olberman when saying, "Shut the hell up Mr. President!" said, "Mr. President"

 

 

 

It really depends on the topic whether or not I would see the current President as a valid source. He has a tendancy to misspeak, which doesn't make for great quotes and he is often not well informed.

 

Rumsfield is very quotable.

 

I kind of miss the days when the VP was the target for jokes and derision. Now the VP is a source for terror and the President is laughed at.

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I can appreciate your heartfelt beliefs, but I think I see it from a little different angle.

 

Two reasons:

1. The boy commented on quoting a respected source. Honestly, Bush has been controversoal enough that perhaps using him as a source may not be the best way to convince people of something. Although, perhaps using Bush's quotes only to be funny, isn't probably the best thing to say. He may have been better off not going there.

 

2. I have sadly come to the realization that people in higher places don't necessarily deserve more respect than anyone else. I've seen too many people in "respected" positions perform poorly or for the power of it. I think respect has to be earned and evidentally in this boy's eyes, Bush doesn't deserve respect. I can't comment on his opininon, but I do know I will not automatically show respect for an office or position without knowing the person in it.

 

You bring up an interesting topic, though, and I'm curious to see what people think. Just want you to know, that even though I disagree with you a bit, I totally respect your feelings on this. :)

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I think people have respect for the office when we have a respectable person in office.

 

Although I'm a Democrat, I certainly didn't find the Monica debacle to be respectable and I also don't find Bush to be a respectable person for political reasons.

 

Give me a person worthy of respect and I'll gladly respct him/HER. :D

 

Jen

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I think when writing or speak about various presidents, there should be some kind of consistency. It also irritates me that people say (for example) Bush and then say Bill Clinton, as if just saying his last name shows their contempt for him.

 

Out of respect for the office, social custom and common decency, it is within proper etiquette to refer to others by their title. For example, while I am not a Protestant, if I met a Protestant minister, I would refer to him by his title when addressing him, though I have no respect for his religion or believe that he is a legitimate minister, I will show him the courtesy he deserves as a person.

 

I don't mean to offend anyone by my example above, but it is really one of the best examples I can think of.

 

Though we vehemently may disagree with someone it is always better to give them the deference their office deserves and to be courteous and use their title.

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I agree with everyone else: I will regain my respect for the office of the presidency when our presidents become worthy of that respect. It's been a long time since that's happened.

 

Yes, everyone has foibles. And yes, I wouldn't hold up well under scrutiny, either. But you'd think that people could hold it together for four short years, for heaven's sake, when they're serving in public office.

 

I think our ability to treat our presidents as nothing more than equals is a hallmark of democracy, by the way. And if I were president, I'd expect everyone to call me Jennifer, just like they do now. And if I was acting like an idiot, I'd expect them to say, "Jennifer - You're acting like an idiot. Get your head together!"

 

No title, office, or position absolves someone from being responsible for their actions. That should be engraved on the wall in the oval office.

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I'm flabbergasted that so many of you refuse to respect the position of the President because you feel he's unworthy. These men have led our country for 4 to 8 years at a time. Yes, they've made some stupid mistakes, and in my opinion, flat-out errors, but they are still the leaders of our country.

 

What happened to adults knowing how to be respectful of someone, even when they disagree? No wonder our society has trouble with respect - we can't even agree to respect the President of the United States. How sad. Hrmph!

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Just as an outsider (I'm in Canada), I find the whole idea of holding respect for the office if not the person very strange. The presidency isn't a divinely ordained throne, it's simply the title of the person chosen to lead. Investing the office with to much respect, even demanding it when the person in it deserves little or none seems strange to me...Almost monocratic.

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And usually someone will eventually post a link to a style book for journalists, explaining that in any given report, the president is referred to as, "President Bush (Clinton, Carter) the first time, and thereafter referred to as "Bush, Carter, Clinton."

 

Maybe the style book should change (it's been this way, apparently, for many decades).

 

I understand why it would bother you, but it isn't new to this president, and apprently it's a custom that attempt to keep broadcast news from being unweildly.

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of the loss of respect that many Americans felt for the office of president during and after the Nixon years. In years past, we couldn't, and wouldn't, know of a president's philandering-it simply wasn't fodder for reporters. A president's leadership qualities and record of decisions were more important, IMO.

 

OTOH, I don't agree that the press alone is to blame. We know about Clinton's affair because of the press, and there have been attempts to characterize President Bush as one thing or another by the press, but look at their actions, as leaders, the decisions they've made. Look at where our country is right now, where it was under Reagan and Clinton. IMO, it's not only the press that is responsible for our loss of respect, it's their actions themselves.

 

I also think that some presidents have cultivated a particular image of themselves that may on the surface not be completely positive. Remember Carter, and his cardigan sweaters and humble public persona. He was trying to present himself as a humble guy, a real person, and it turns out that some of the American public doesn't want that in a president! Same for Bush's image as a word bumbler and cowboy. It seems like his attempt to make himself seem less intellectual. Intellectuals are threatening or cause discomfort to some voters. But, intellectuals are more apt to command automatic respect than cowboys, in my book at least.

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A grab-bag of thoughts on the OP.

 

1. In general, I like to see respect and courtesy extended to all humans, regardless of position or the current state of their lives.

 

2. However, I think a democracy demands that we remain critical of our leaders. We don't believe in the Divine Right of presidents. Demanding that the president receive extra respect just because he or she is president, pushes us away from questioning our leaders.

 

3. The OP was talking about a 15-year-old boy. I remember being full of righteous indignation about things when I was that age. Problems had simple answers, or at least clear right and wrong answers. Adults were frequently idiots. (And I was a generally "good" kid who would never have spoken back *to* an adult.)

 

4. I think the boy had a point. Quoting President Bush in a debate would likely shift focus away from the point you were trying to make to a debate on whether or not Bush was a reliable source.

 

5. As for discrepencies in the way Bush is referred to compared to other leaders, I would need to see a side-by-side comparison to decide if there was a slight on Bush. Examples I have seen in the past have been cases of writers following their publication's style guide. You might not like the style guide, but it is consistent and does not change based on the politics of the writer.

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Just as an outsider (I'm in Canada), I find the whole idea of holding respect for the office if not the person very strange. The presidency isn't a divinely ordained throne, it's simply the title of the person chosen to lead. Investing the office with to much respect, even demanding it when the person in it deserves little or none seems strange to me...Almost monocratic.

 

President as a divinely ordained throne, but some of us do still consider the office of the President worthy of respect. To respect the office of the President doesn't mean you have to agree with all of their policies, nor does it mean that one has to be a slavish follower of the President. Respecting the office of the President also doesn't mean you can't investigate any scandals or dishonor surrounding the outcomes of their policies. Impeachment of the President is a very serious business here, but it's also a power that's been exercised in the past, most notably of late with Richard Nixon, who resigned, of course, before he could be impeached.

 

To respect the President's office simply means to treat the President with respect; he/she is leading the country and doing a very difficult job. And, I think this is important to do no matter who is holding the office.

 

It's interesting that 1 Timothy 2:1 states, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness." I would hope that people will do this after this upcoming election, no matter who is elected.

 

If the president ever becomes a tyrant, then a whole different set of principles and responses comes into play. So far, though, the built-in checks and balances written into the Constitution have worked fairly well, albeit imperfectly.

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I'm flabbergasted that so many of you refuse to respect the position of the President because you feel he's unworthy. These men have led our country for 4 to 8 years at a time. Yes, they've made some stupid mistakes, and in my opinion, flat-out errors, but they are still the leaders of our country.

 

What happened to adults knowing how to be respectful of someone, even when they disagree? No wonder our society has trouble with respect - we can't even agree to respect the President of the United States. How sad. Hrmph!

 

I find it sad as well. I have serious disagreements with our last two presidents, and yet they have risen to a high office for a reason.

 

I fear for the order in a society that has such little regard or respect for their leaders. I would even liken it to the trend a couple of decades ago which began treating the fathers and husbands of families as bumbling idiots. It helps to "train" children to have little respect for any type of authority. And I think that carries over to a country's leader. If the folks in that country have such little regard for the office of the President, why should any other country see the office of one worthy of respect??

 

You can vehemently disagree with those in leadership positions and still give honor to the office. When that honor is gone, it helps to erode every level of established authority in the land.

 

I agree that it is sad.

 

Kim

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I wanted to add that my complaint is not with as much what he thinks of this particular president (we all will have our opinions) but that he CHOSE to say it in such a way...I think the level of respect I'm seeking is that you simply don't say something that mocks such a high institution..he did not have to go there..too many kids nowadays say whatever whenever (i.e. myspace/facebook) and are rarely 'corrected'...with fewer and fewer figures of authority (teachers, parents, peers) standing up and correcting what represents a modus of decorum....are we failing our kids?

 

Yes! I guess I am referring to Timothy in my disgust...so many things in our society today run contrary to traditionally and historically held beliefs.

 

You can't blame a President on the current state of affairs and equally I don't think you can really give him credit for when things are going well...most of the changes we see are created by Congress and our own failings as citizens/parents/workers...the President is just one man who commits 4-8 years of his life to make a difference..he can't change where the country is headed. He can influence it to some degree but the mere fact that he has sacrificed and I do mean sacrificed this portion of his life deserves respect.

 

When I read responses in here that say the Presidency does not deserve respect...I see the problem..it is our society, not the facebooks, the myspaces...it's the failings of our parents and our own understanding.

 

Tara

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I'm flabbergasted that so many of you refuse to respect the position of the President because you feel he's unworthy. These men have led our country for 4 to 8 years at a time. Yes, they've made some stupid mistakes, and in my opinion, flat-out errors, but they are still the leaders of our country.

 

What happened to adults knowing how to be respectful of someone, even when they disagree? No wonder our society has trouble with respect - we can't even agree to respect the President of the United States. How sad. Hrmph!

 

I have to agree. I was taught from the cradle up that you respect your elders, respect persons of authority, etc., regardless of whether or not you agree with them. The fact that someone is older than me or holds an office or a badge , etc. means they automatically deserve to be treated with respect.

 

I may be angry at the police officer who just gave me a ticket I don't think I deserved but I still call him "Officer ____" and treat him with respect. I may not always agree with my doctor's medical opinion but I still call him "Dr. ______" and treat him with respect.

 

It's this attitude that everyone has to EARN your respect or you must agree with everything they say in order to show them respect that allows teenagers to feel OK with cussing out their teachers or parents. Showing someone the proper respect that is due them does not mean you agree with everything they say.

 

As I always told my high school students and I tell my sons now...how you treat persons in authority says more about YOU than it does about THEM.

 

On a side note, with all this talk about how recent presidents are not worthy of respect because of the way they talk or the mistakes they have made I just have to wonder...how many of us could stand up to the scrutiny of an entire nation? How many of us have no skeletons in our closet? Things we've done that we are ashamed of? Dumb things we have said? There are certain job requirements for the presidency but perfection is not one of them (and this even applies to Former President Clinton whom I thought was an adulterous louse but I still respected him as president) Let he who is without sin cast the first stone....

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I don't think disagreeing with a president is a sign that someone does not respect the office of the president or the president him/herself. We should never stop questioning and challenging the president or the role of the president. Otherwise we just become drones and the president becomes a dictator.

 

No one is talking about disagreeing with a leader. It is maintaining dignity and honor for the office while you are in disagreement (or hold a low opinion of) with them that is the problem.

 

Kim

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Since the issue was QUOTING Bush, I really don't see how respect or lack thereof comes into it. He is well-known for being a horrid speaker and I think that a speech and debate club would be well counseled that his quotes are not good fodder to back-up a position in a debate. I assume that is what the "boy" you're referring to said.

 

Consider the source...

 

"Do you have blacks, too?" —to Brazilian President Fernando Cardoso, Washington, D.C., Nov. 8, 2001

 

"I promise you I will listen to what has been said here, even though I wasn't here." —at the President's Economic Forum in Waco, Texas, Aug. 13, 2002

 

"You teach a child to read, and he or her will be able to pass a literacy test.'' —Townsend, Tenn., Feb. 21, 2001

 

"We both use Colgate toothpaste." —after a reporter asked what he had in common with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Camp David, Md., Feb. 23, 2001

 

"I glance at the headlines just to kind of get a flavor for what's moving. I rarely read the stories, and get briefed by people who are probably read the news themselves." —Washington, D.C., Sept. 21, 2003

 

"I'm the master of low expectations." —aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

 

"I'm also not very analytical. You know I don't spend a lot of time thinking about myself, about why I do things." —aboard Air Force One, June 4, 2003

 

"Tribal sovereignty means just that, it’s sovereign. You’re a — you’ve been given sovereignty, and you’re viewed as a sovereign entity. And, therefore, the relationship between the federal government and tribes is one between sovereign entities."

remarks at Unity: Journalists of Color convention in Washington, D.C., August 6, 2004

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I think its always been okay to poke fun at a president you don't like. Throughout history there are documented jabs made by the press or the opposing party at, I have to believe, every president.

 

But, something has definitely been lost in our children. There's a tone in their voices. All knowing but not supported by knowledge. Braggadocios but not supported by achievement. I hope its just me waving my cane and not remembering what it was really like when I was young but...I don't know.

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I have noticed how the media will refer to President Clinton as "former President Clinton" and President Bush as "Mr. Bush

 

I have many of your same thoughts but not talked much about them. That boy's speech wouldv'e bothered me too. But I have noticed what I quoted from your post. I get ticked off everytime the media says, "Mr Bush". The left have frequently said they don't consider him their president and this is one way they spin their ideas. I have never said that Former Pres Clinton wasn't my president nor have any of my circle of conservative family, friends and aquaintences and he was always referred as Pres Clinton or just plain Clinton. To use the word Mr. in the case of Bush is making a spinning point. I think it's a shame. Somewhere in my past high school grammar classes, we were taught this point in proper writing, how to address and refer to people correctly. But that was in the 1970's, perhaps this is the new way.

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Okay, I held back from sending this last night, but now I'm going to let it fly. A couple comments I have for....oh... what the heck, regarding specifically respect in public office:

 

1. There are alot of people (mainly in the media) who really don't like this country and believe we need to make excuses for who we are, and in essence don't like our being powerful. Hence - huge conflict with Bush, who isn't afraid of our power and the role that power must serve to a greater good in his view. Result, lack of respect and major Bush bashing in any way or form they can dish it out. It's not about his incorrect grammar usage in speeches for pete's sake, it's purely political bashing however it can be had.

 

2. Not related to Bush so much, but to the lowered respect of "politicians" and public office in general: Because of (largely) media scrutiny, career politicians often don't stand by or operate according to true personal convictions, or really any solid convictions at all; rather, most will sway based on polling. The public, WHEN they pay attention (or when it's adequately reported), can see through that and those people hence don't earn your respect either. And when these people are in office, our opinion of that office is probably lowered. IMHO, this is why Palin, who is not a career politician, and does stand by her convictions, is a sensation.

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but I do know I will not automatically show respect for an office or position without knowing the person in it.

 

. :)

 

I think this kind of thinking is what is wrong w/ America these days. I was taught to respect all people. I respect everyone until given a reason not to.

 

My dh teaches Jr. High, and has been told at faculty meetings that they have to earn the respect of the kids. WRONG- the kids need to be taught to show respect to their teachers and peers, and in turn they will receive it. I believe this holds true for everyone and every situation.

 

JMHO

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I was 7 when Nixon resigned. It was the first time I ever had champagne. My father absolutely hated him. At the time, my father had been working on some very important research--he had worked years to get research grants--Nixon took the money away just before he was re-elected and gave it away to get union votes. My dad couldn't stand him anyway, but that clinched it--and then Watergate. Even then, my dad always called him "President Nixon".

 

I do not call Bush "President Bush"--never have, never will. Nor does my daughter. I take the role of the president incredibly seriously. I have great respect for the office, for the commitment, for the type of sacrifice it takes to take on such a job. I have no respect whatsoever for Bush. To me, he took office when he did not earn it, which lacks not only respect for the office, but for himself. Then, he has spent the last 8 years destroying our economy, our image, our country--from social programs, education, on. Helping is buddies while others flounder and fail. Watching the majority of Americans lose what they have worked so hard for, while the rich get richer. To me, he has never fulfilled his job--he hasn't cared about this country--he has cared about what he could do for himself, and a few others--he has been like a little boy playing with toys--but we have been the toys, and we can't just get back up and go back where we were before he came in.

 

He has caused our country to go from being well in a surplus to nearly a half a trillion dollars in deficit by the time he leaves--that makes nearly a trillion dollar loss in total!!! He fabricated info to make us invade a country so his daddy could have revenge--and we talk about the # of Americans killed, which is tragic--how about the tens of thousands of Iraqis killed, including women and children, civilians?!? He has worked so hard at giving misinformation about the environment and endangered animals and global warming--he doesn't care about the planet at all, that is beyond obvious. He has been invading Pakistan without permission. He only has a couple more months in office, but at this point, I'm terrified to say, what else can he do--because, apparently, there is a lot!!

 

So, for the first time in my life, I can say, I do not respect this president, and I cannot teach my child to have respect for him. I never thought this day would come, I never though I would tell my child not to say "Mr. President" for any president we had. But, for this one, I will never let those words pass through my lips, because, whatever he is, he is not, to me, the president of this whole country.

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..too many kids nowadays say whatever whenever (i.e. myspace/facebook) and are rarely 'corrected'...with fewer and fewer figures of authority (teachers, parents, peers) standing up and correcting what represents a modus of decorum....are we failing our kids?

 

Yes! I guess I am referring to Timothy in my disgust...so many things in our society today run contrary to traditionally and historically held beliefs.

 

You can't blame a President on the current state of affairs and equally I don't think you can really give him credit for when things are going well...

When I read responses in here that say the Presidency does not deserve respect...I see the problem..it is our society, not the facebooks, the myspaces...it's the failings of our parents and our own understanding.

Tara

 

Sounds like you're starting to answer your own questions here as you muse about this subject. I think you're right about the overall erosion of respect. Remember the flap about the sports team that wore what amounted to flipflops to the White House? Ball caps and cell phones in restaurants, you name it.

 

Differing with some comments here, I do feel that the President deserves our respect, for the office he holds. Maybe I didn't vote for him, but many people did. To do otherwise, imo, erodes our system of government. Our troops obey their Commander-in-chief even if they don't like him.

 

Our society has come to value casual, easy-going, say-what-every-comes-to-mind, instant everything. We know so much more about everyone -- from top officials to the newest little starlet in Hollywood to the angry teen mom on Maury or Springer. The paparazzi and media are paid outrageous amounts for useless, temporary tidbits. And the appetite is insatiable.

 

People don't have to measure their words in writing -- reread, edit, delete/toss, consider, because the medium is instantaneous.

 

I heard recently that one of the reasons that returning troops don't get to de-tox from combat conditions and emotions is that they are flown home in a couple of days. They used to board ships that would take weeks to travel, plenty of time to commiserate and work through a gamut of feelings.

 

So new is not always better. Yes there are fewer constraints on society but I agree with (I think) what you're saying here that we owe it to our kids to help them have respect for the country and our president, etc.

 

Fwiw, I think history, from a longer perspective, will be kinder to Pres. Bush and his firm stand on terrorism, than he is currently experiencing. In one form or another, there were lots of tests of US resolve throughout the 90s culminating with 9/11. Had he taken a less significant stand, the last few years would have been a lot harsher on our security.

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I read the first page of replies and am shocked - really shocked by most of those replies.

 

I am a conservative Christian and I did not have a lot of personal respect for President Clinton. My pastor preached a sermon during some of the worst times of his presidency (Lewinsky scandal/impeachment) reminding us that it is disrepesctful and downright wrong to say anything against the man for no other reason than because he holds the highest office in the land. His position alone deserves respect and honor - regardless of what we may have thought of him personally. I, for one, was convicted by the message.

 

The position a person holds does matter whether you *like* the person or not.

 

I've instructed my children, for instance, to always treat a police officer with respect. If they should ever get pulled over while driving they are to address that officer with "Yes, sir," or "Yes, Ma'am." I don't think all police officers are personally deserving of that respect, but their position of authority in the community does.

 

I think the founders of our country knew that men were fallible, hence the balance of powers - the checks and balances built into its structure. The point is not whether the person deserves respect - it is the office itself that deserves respect.

 

Wow, I'm shocked to see so many here demanding that a president earn respect. Do you allow your children to treat you with disrespect if they feel you have not earned otherwise? It is about the structure of authority. Yes, there will be abuses of power. That does not diminish our responsibility to treat the office being abused with respect. That does not mean you have to like him personally or support any of his policies. It simply means you call him Mr. President or President _________ because he is the President - no other reason needed.

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I think the founders of our country knew that men were fallible, hence the balance of powers - the checks and balances built into its structure. The point is not whether the person deserves respect - it is the office itself that deserves respect.

 

 

Well, I get that, but style manuals dictate that in newspapers, for example, you write "President Whole Name" on the first reference then "Mr. Last Name" thereafter. It has nothing to do with respect or not respect in that case. I thought that was what the OP was referring to, but I might be mistaken.

 

For example, this from the Wall Street Journal, that liberal rag. ;)

 

As someone has stated already, take it up with the style manuals. It won't get past the copy editors without it saying "Mr. Last Name." It's media convention and has nothing to do with how one feels about a current or former President.

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Well, I get that, but style manuals dictate that in newspapers, for example, you write "President Whole Name" on the first reference then "Mr. Last Name" thereafter. It has nothing to do with respect or not respect in that case. I thought that was what the OP was referring to, but I might be mistaken.

 

For example, this from the Wall Street Journal, that liberal rag. ;)

 

As someone has stated already, take it up with the style manuals. It won't get past the copy editors without it saying "Mr. Last Name." It's media convention and has nothing to do with how one feels about a current or former President.

 

Good to know, since I am a copy editor. I haven't encountered the need to know that yet, though, so it is good to learn it.

 

I wasn't really addressing the OP, although I probably should have. My reply is mainly in response to all those other replies that I read.

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Good to know, since I am a copy editor. I haven't encountered the need to know that yet, though, so it is good to learn it.

 

I wasn't really addressing the OP, although I probably should have. My reply is mainly in response to all those other replies that I read.

 

LOL, I knew you were, and halfway through posting, I thought, "Dang, I should not have answered here. I should have just posted to the OP."

 

But I knew you would forgive me my trespassing. :D

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I did not read through all of the responses, but I kind of see your point.

 

(Disclaimer, I have to admit that I love David Letterman's bit where he has a clip of President Bush giving a speech. It is probably not terribly respectful but it is awfully funny)

 

I have to share something. My daughter is so conservative that next to her I look like a flaming liberal. Politically, she could not be much more conservative. But she also has a great respect for the various offices of government. Last year in our speech and debate club she gave a speech on the history of 4H. Or something about 4H. Anyway, she listed famous former members of 4H and of course Al Gore was one of the them. One boy began laughing at her and as she sat down he made some smart comment about Al Gore.

 

She looked at him and with a perfect deadpan expression said "Let's see your Nobel Prize."

 

And she is no Al Gore fan, so I can't say she was defending the person, but she did defend the office he held and she did acknowledge that regardless of how WE might feel, them there Nobel Prize people thought he was the cat's meow. And that is worth something.

 

Incidentally the teacher of the class is a strong conservative but she was awfully proud of how my daughter handled that.

 

I don't have to agree with the politics to respect the office.

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My concern is how quickly we have come to show our disrespect for someone we disagree with, whether in office or not. In either situation--even if that person has not done "enough" to earn our respect--we all still have the capacity, and I think the obligation, to treat him or her with the same general respect as you would want extended to you.

 

We all surely can disagree respectfully and not disdainfully. Because really, the disdain and disrespectful attitude (which usually translates into "holier-than-thou") mostly reveals something about you and not the person you have disdain for (whether they are "deserving" or not).

 

I hope this is coming across with the tone I intended--not harshly, but with real concern and disappointment for what I've been seeing in our culture, particularly during this election.

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So let me get this straight. You believe that Americans bash Bush because we are afraid to admit we think he is great and powerful?

 

No, I think the Bush bashers are those that are malcontent with the fact their preferred candidate is not in office. It has become such a divisive issue that I don't think any candidate can bring this country together...look at the perspectives presented on this forum...mine included...I am firm on my commitment to honor and respect the role of president, no matter who is in it...others believe no position is due respect without earning it...but then I ask what does it take to earn one's respect...for some, it's simply putting their preferred candidate in office. Before the next President steps in, there are those who will never respect that president because they will always be looking for the weaker side of him/her to strengthen their own personal agenda and position.

 

I will add that this speech and debate club is a Christian club and their first and foremost goal is to give these kids the tools required to become more effective communicators for Christ...this boy's comments in my view were disrespectful and the fact that he felt comfortable slighting this President in that way, disappoints me.

 

Tara

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One of the reasons I love being able to homeschool is that I hated to see the way that my kids were encouraged by the school system to mindlessly accept what authority figures told them to do. Obviously, respecting authority is necessary to an extent, but I think it's good to question authority too, to encourage critical thinking.

 

As WendyK wrote, I think questioning authority is a sign of a more intelligent populace, not a sign of disrespect.

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One of the reasons I love being able to homeschool is that I hated to see the way that my kids were encouraged by the school system to mindlessly accept what authority figures told them to do. Obviously, respecting authority is necessary to an extent, but I think it's good to question authority too, to encourage critical thinking.

 

As WendyK wrote, I think questioning authority is a sign of a more intelligent populace, not a sign of disrespect.

 

 

I think it's the manner in which we question that reveals the presence or lack of respect, not the questioning itself.

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Guest janainaz

This is only my opinion and probably unpopular, but our whole country is undeserving of respect for the shear fact that we sit and point fingers at who is in office while we sit on our behinds and do nothing. We might argue and disagree, but we never take action. We need to be willing to put our own lives on the line for what is right and stop expecting the person in office to do it for us. We are living in a disconnected, greedy, sick society and we are responsible.

 

I am against a great deal of of what I see around me - i.e. - walking past the Vans shoe store at the mall that displayed a huge sign that read: READY, SEX, GO. If I had any dignity or respect for myself or my kids, I would have walked in there and ripped it down.

 

How can I hold myself above or below anyone?

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I am positive that I read in Ms. Manners that sitting presidents are properly referred to as Mr., and former presidents as President. So I believe that your quote does not evidence disrespect in that regard, but rather, a familiarity with proper formal language that is a credit to the author.

 

But to your larger point, about respect for the presidency in general, I think that the 'no holds barred' nature of the press tends to produce a cynical population in general, which is skeptical about taking anything at face value and generally very suspicious of motives in everyone in office. Yet we really need that fourth estate. In my view, education is the answer. Kids need to be taught critical thinking. They need to hear us disagree without resorting to ad hominem attacks. They need to hear us respect the office whether we respect the office holder or not. In Christian families, they need to hear us pray for our leaders, whether or not we support them or their policies. It has to start with education. A cynical teaching corps is going to produce that kind of population--and that is what we have here. I don't think that English people are as cynical, and they have a much more gutter-ish press available to them than we do, really. I think the difference is the education in national values and respect that English citizens receive.

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I have to totally agree with the original post. :iagree:

 

Over and over I am hearing we have to "earn" respect. I have a couple comments:

 

1) President Bush (and every other President from the past) did earn respect when he WON the election. & I know you all voted. ;)

 

2) Do our parents have to earn our respect? What about our bosses? Are we free to disprespect them if they make a mistake or set a bad example? They answer to that is a resounding NO! We are to honor the authority set above us whether or not we agree.

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Just so we're all up to date on manners...

 

 

However, this brings up one of my many pet peeves: “Mr. President†is not, in fact, the correct courtesy title for an ex-president of the United States. Although the proper etiquette has been increasingly ignored in recent times by the general public, – even by presidents themselves – it was established long ago, in the early days of the Republic.

Quoth Miss Manners:

 

 

 

… we suffer from title inflation. Our Founding Fathers, including the ones to whom this question applied, established American protocol to be simple and unpretentious — and thus antithetical to the modern taste.

 

Nevertheless, the rule is that titles pertaining to an office that only one person occupies at a time are not used after retirement. A former president can use a previously held, non-unique title, as the first one did by reverting to Gen. Washington in retirement, or the plain citizen’s title of “Mr.†The third president preferred to be known as Mr. Jefferson rather than Gov. Jefferson.

 

 

So, that really irks me, that President Clinton gets that title and 'journalists' go about calling President Bush, Mr. Bush..

 

Summary: National Review media writer Stephen Spruiell asserted that Keith Olbermann's "insistence on calling the president 'Mr. Bush' instead of 'President Bush' is his way of saying that Bush holds office illegitimately." Given that Spruiell purports to have determined why Olbermann refers to the president as "Mr. Bush," Media Matters for America wonders if he has determined why National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. also refers to the president in the same manner.

 

 

That's my point.

 

Tara

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I am not writing about the current political free-for-all..I'm writing with a sincere pit in my stomach...a boil that's bugging me...a thorn in my side..here's my problem (we could go for days on the how's and why's this is happening, but what can we do to correct it?)

 

We have lost respect for the presidency.

 

We recently joined a very solid speech and debate club in my town, love the people, their dedication and goals for our children. One boy was standing up and giving directions on how to create a first affirmative case to these eager and willing club members. It got to the point about support and evidence...he said quotes are very helpful in supporting your case but make sure they come from a respected source. He went on to say that it would be unwise to use a quote from President Bush unless it was to be funny or a joke. My heart sank.

 

I have had personal opinions of each president as they serve. Some I would never have at my dinner table..but I completely and thoroughly respect the role they are serving. I have noticed how the media will refer to President Clinton as "former President Clinton" and President Bush as "Mr. Bush"...I'm all for free speech and and sharing opinions...I think this boy at the speech and debate was sharing an opinion and that to quote any president in relation to the context of the argument would hold some value. But, to completely dismiss a president because of bias and ignorance is not cool in my book. I would say the same thing if it were President Clinton and it was 12 years ago...or is it just that the current President is always not worthy of being quoted because we really have no objective view of their performance until it's researched by historians 20 years down the road. I bet if you ask any 15 year old to name 10 policies that Bush has supported, they couldn't name 5...so are they letting the media's characterization of Bush (word bumbler, cowboy from Texas) outweigh his actual work...would Clinton's transgressions in the White House out measure his efforts to lead this country 300+ days a year?

 

When will we stand up and bring back respect to the office? When will we challenge our children to know the facts before regurgitating what they hear in the mainstream? I'm not hearing policy on the nightly news....

 

Please tell me if I'm overreacting to the lack of respect for this office. I've come to a point in my life where so many are no longer outraged at the outrageous...boys will be boys, teens have a mind of their own, schools will never change, that's just the way it is...

 

I can't jump on that bandwagon...I'm a bit miffed!

 

I wanted to add that my complaint is not with as much what he thinks of this particular president (we all will have our opinions) but that he CHOSE to say it in such a way...I think the level of respect I'm seeking is that you simply don't say something that mocks such a high institution..he did not have to go there..too many kids nowadays say whatever whenever (i.e. myspace/facebook) and are rarely 'corrected'...with fewer and fewer figures of authority (teachers, parents, peers) standing up and correcting what represents a modus of decorum....are we failing our kids?

 

Any ideas?

Tara

 

 

I don't think you are overreacting & I agree with you. I've been having discussions with my kids about this lately - that even if the person we don't vote for wins, we will still respect him because he is our president. We may disagree with him, but we will not speak insultingly of him. But then again, we generally try to do this with everyone, president or not.

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Summary: National Review media writer Stephen Spruiell asserted that Keith Olbermann's "insistence on calling the president 'Mr. Bush' instead of 'President Bush' is his way of saying that Bush holds office illegitimately." Given that Spruiell purports to have determined why Olbermann refers to the president as "Mr. Bush," Media Matters for America wonders if he has determined why National Review founder William F. Buckley Jr. also refers to the president in the same manner.

 

 

That's my point.

 

Ok, I understood the Miss Manners thing, but it is VERY common to call a former president President, and I'm not sure it's an elevation on my part when I use President H.W. Bush, or President Carter, or President Reagan. I mean no disrespect to the sitting President, KWIM?

 

As to the last paragraph, yes. Exactly. Mr. Buckley, hardly a Pres. Bush hater, and Mr. Olbermann, unlikely to send him a condolence letter when he moves back to Texas, both refer correctly to President Bush as Mr. Bush after they have first identified who they are talking about.

 

I agree that there is less reverence for office and position in our country in general. I'm mixed in my thoughts about this, however. I think we owe just as much respect as a human to the janitor as the President, but certainly one would hope that the President would command respect for his careful carrying out of duty and for his own reverence for his office. I would hope that citizens take seriously the duty to carefully examine those in office and, should they abuse their office and the power and respect that it carries with it, we would not hesitate to call for impeachment or vote the person roundly out of office. (And the horse he rode in on.) Calling a spade a spade is IMO the height of what is patriotic in this free and citizen-regulated country, no matter WHO is looking suspiciously like a short shovel.

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Referring to Clinton as "President Clinton" or "Mr. President" after he was out of office? I don't recall seeing that. I'm sure that individual journalists have made that mistake when addressing him personally, but I would imagine an editor would catch that before it actually went to print. I know a lot of people still address a former president that way, but I don't think it's the journalistic standard.

 

It is, in fact, correct, however, to call a sitting president "President Bush" the first time his is referred to in an article, and then "Mr. Bush" the second and then just "Bush" thereafter. You will find that's been the pattern for decades throughout a number of presidencies and is the long standing rule for the AP style book.

 

I know I already posted this, but I am not sure you caught it.

 

Dana

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Guest janainaz
I agree with you somewhat. But I think with that kind of "action" we might just have total anarchy. Not to mention there are people who seem to be satisified with what the president has done.

 

You can still do something about the sign without tearing it down. If we reacted that way every time we disagreed with something, again we would have total anarchy. Write a letter to the company.

 

I really don't mean this in a nasty tone, but I suppose Jesus should have also written the money-changers in the temple a letter as well instead of overturning their tables. Sorry, but I totally disagree.

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I really don't mean this in a nasty tone, but I suppose Jesus should have also written the money-changers in the temple a letter as well instead of overturning their tables. Sorry, but I totally disagree.

 

O..K... but the temple is His. It was His House they were polluting. As the Creator, it puts Him in quite a different position to choose to react in any way He should warrant in His Creation.

 

We don't own other people, their buildings, things, choices. Speaking of myself first, we each have our own "issues" that should more than consume our energy. It is a hard, daily battle.

 

Kim

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