Best buddies or a lack of respect.
My dad and mom taught me a great amount of things over the last 49 years. They still are teaching me some things, but now it is mostly by example and by my remembering events from my childhood. One lesson that I will never forget is that you show respect to people. I have always tried to do just that.
Now I am in a profession that uses a title in many settings. It does sound a little strange when people say Rev. Moore but even the less formal Pastor Rich shows some respect. I have received plenty of nicknames over the years, some I won’t put here, but even one of my favorites, “the rev” still shows respect, in my mind.
When talking to my colleagues, we use first names but if someone walks into the room that is not a colleague, I switch immediately to Rev. ____ or Pastor ____. My friends that are professors or physicians or dentists get the same respect. If we have agreed to first names ahead of time, it always goes to the more formal Dr. ____ when someone walks into the room. My logic is that they have earned a title and I will show that respect, if for no other reason to give an example. This is especially true when it comes to formal gatherings. If I am speaking third person about a friend who is an office holder, I say something like, “when I was speaking to the Lt. Governor the other day, …” Now I know the Lt. Governor and I will, in private company, call her by her first name. But I won’t say in an article or in general conversation, “Jane and I were chatting over a white wine the other night and we discussed …” It is just too familiar. It’s playing loose with our relationship. It’s almost as if I am bragging about my relationship with someone important.
I guess the president and I were raised with different interpretations of respect of those in authority. It may seem like a non-issue to you but I was uncomfortable with the last few minutes of Thursday’s debate. It must not be an issue for the world either because I haven’t heard it mentioned since the original comment. But since this is my column, I choose the topics.
Regarding the events taking place in Russia since the tragedy of the school hostage situation, President Putin has decided to take control of the media. (Not like our government has ever been guilty of feeding the media only governmental propaganda.) Twice during the debate, the president made mention of President Putin by his first name. Vladimir. “I’ve got a good relation with Vladimir.” A few minutes later, President Bush said, “Vladimir is going to have to make some hard choices.”
Now my search is not complete but I haven’t read that the president has ever said, referring to Prime Minister Blair “I hope Tony doesn’t have any more heart problems.” Or about Vice President Cheney “Dick and I were discussing Halliburton the other day”. Or on the campaign trail about Sen. Kerry, “I’m gonna kick John’s *** all the way back to Massachusetts.” Maybe in private, but not in public. There is some respect that is understood.
Can you imagine President Kennedy saying during the Cuban Missile Crisis, “Fidel won’t heed my warning so we are setting up the blockade.” Can you imagine Vice President Nixon speaking about Nikita instead of Premier Khrushchev? How about FDR commenting on his talks with Winston? Neither can I.
Will it affect the way I vote next month? No. But then again, I wasn’t voting for George anyway.