While I’ve been trying to steer away from getting too emotional about politics lately, two recent developments in the arena have caught my attention.
The first news item is Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server housed at her home in downstate New York during her tenure as Secretary of State. Apparently she had a server somewhere handling to @clintonemail.com domain and according to her explanation yesterday, it was because she wanted to carry only one device with her (like an iPhone or Blackberry or whatever) and she didn’t want to deal with multiple devices. She has her own server but her IT people can’t figure out how to put two email accounts on the same device, apparently. This revelation (the server, not the two accounts on the device thing) has created a media frenzy. Apparently Mrs. Clinton deleted everything she deemed personal and considers all her correspondence to @state.gov and other government addresses as the matter of record.
OK, so there’s quite a few holes in the logic. The fact that no one brought up red flags during the time that she was using her own server is disturbing enough. Of course, many are weighing in on the matter, including Sarah Palin, who condemned the practice. Because apparently, using your own server is a no-no but using a Yahoo email address as the Governor of Alaska is, you betcha, okie-dokie.
Now see, that last sentence there makes me sound disrespectful of the Governor of Alaska, when indeed, I just don’t like Sarah Palin. In fact, I believe that whoever brought Sarah Palin into the spotlight in the first place should be tried as a terrorist. As far as the Governor of Alaska, well, I don’t know who that is right now but whomever it is probably did their best to get there and hopefully they’ll ignore precedent and stay the course until the end of their term. They are the elected leader of the people of Alaska, and I respect that. Respect is important.
The second news item that has caught my attention is the letter signed by 47 members of the GOP to the Iranian government, essentially circumventing the negotiations that President Obama is trying to, well, negotiate. This unprecedented act is completely disrespectful of the spirit of our country and the role of the President of the United States.
Look, I’m not the biggest fan of President Obama. I think he’s done an adequate job and honestly, my life as an American right now is in good shape because of the work he has done as President. I voted for him because I believe he was the best choice at the time, but I don’t think he was ever the ideal choice. I might not agree with everything President Obama does as Commander-In-Chief, but I certainly respect the position he holds. I respect the office of the President. I will voice my praise and my opposition of policy, as a U.S. Citizen I have the right to do that, but I will never go out of my way to make the office look bad. I don’t believe that anyone, especially elected officials, should be going out of their way to make our country look bad, disorganized or unresolved. I wasn’t a fan of President George W. Bush at all; I thought that he took many missteps along the way and I didn’t agree with much of his policy, but when push came to shove, he was the Commander-In-Chief and I still respected that.
I think there’s a current of disrespect in our society these days that is damaging for the long term. I wonder if some of it stems from the outspokenness one can have on the Internet under a guise of anonymity. People think nothing of being disrespectful in comments on a political story or in the stream underneath a YouTube video. Users type without thinking; they spew their venom, completely disrespect their target and then move on. As people become more brazen on the Internet, I think this behavior starts to carry into real-life. How many videos have you seen where a customer has completely trashed a McDonalds because they couldn’t get Chicken Nuggets when they wanted them? It’s a lack of respect; respect for property, respect for people and respect for fellow human beings.
Smashing out a drive-thru window in a fit of rage is basically what happens when Congressional members write letters to Iran saying that they can easily undo anything that our Commander-In-Chief does. Why would you go out of your way to make your leader look weak? Just because you don’t like him? Well, you may not like him but you have to respect the position that he holds. You can disagree, you can voice opposition, but dont’ be disrespectful and don’t undermine him. That’s good for no one.
I think we need to start respecting one another again. Smile at the drive thru window, don’t rage. Be kind to the person behind the airline counter, don’t have some hellacious hissy fit. Be respectful.