Sep 062006
Authors: Nick Hately

I don’t like Bill Clinton. I think he’s a slime ball.

“Well, that’s pretty extreme,” you might say. “Maybe even stupid.” Or, “Who gives you the right to call Mr. Clinton a slime ball?” you might ask. Well, the First Amendment does. But I’m getting off-topic – I really want to discuss the respect, or lack thereof, of authority.

It really doesn’t matter what I think of Mr. Clinton. I respect his former office.

I heard – all the time during the Clinton administration – things like, “That was a very bad decision the President made,” to “Clinton is a crackhead,” and everything between. I used to join in the bashing before I “grew up.”

Now I hear the same stuff coming at me from the other side, and I realize how immature it is. It’s fine if you don’t agree with President Bush or his policies, but at least respect his office. He is the elected leader of this nation. Like it or not, you and I have to live with it.

And if the tables turn in 2008, then I will have to live with that, too.

So what is this respect thing that we should give? Respect is defined as esteem for the sense of worth of another person or their ability, to show consideration or regard for.

I’m not saying that we should admire everyone all the time, but we should at least respect them as people.

But what does it mean to respect authority? I understand now more clearly my position regarding President Clinton. If I were to meet Mr. Clinton today I would refer to him as Mr. President, and I would be respectful and polite.

I still don’t respect the man, but I do respect his former position as the President. I don’t admire him, but I do give credit to his decisions.

Here’s another one for you: police. How many times have you badmouthed a policeman or flipped one off behind his back. I have. Why?

Now I will agree, sometimes there are policemen who get on a power trip and become arrogant and aggressive, but for the most part they are just trying to do their job – keep the law. Can’t we spare a little respect for them?

If it weren’t for the police we have here we would be living either one of two ways – complete military state or complete chaos. A good example is New Orleans after Katrina hit. Even with some police present there was an incredible amount of looting and crime.

Let’s show a little appreciation. Overall, they do their job well.

Just show a little bit of respect.

This is important to the health of our society.

So can we all work on that? I know I need to. I think maybe we can do it. We can make our world better by improving the only thing we can control: ourselves.

It’s not easy, but if we take it one day at a time.

Nick Hately is a freshman computer science major. His column runs occasionally in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to

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