I’ve been pondering this question today because of the LP Monday Poetry Prompt. Write a respect poem.
Twenty plus years ago, I was studying spiritual traditions and actively involved with mentoring young people. The topic of respect came up frequently. I believed then, as I do now, that every human being deserves the basic respect of personhood, which includes the dignity of autonomy over one’s body. Every human being on this planet is made of the same stuff as I am, which makes us spiritually, if not physically, brother and sister.
But that’s just the bare minimum! It’s also true that to get respect you have to give respect, and respect is something that is earned by our actions. The one area of American life where those two tenants have left the proverbial building is politics. The last decade, the last four years in particular, has seen respect, civility and rational discourse about government and politics deteriorate to point where it has affected the entire population. These days I feel tainted having been dragged through slime that clings and corrupts.
No one is perfect of course. Like most people, I’ve received wounds and scars from people and given my fair share as well. But lately there have been wounds given and received as a direct result of the partisan divide between myself and people in my life. So here I am, pondering respect for others, the respect that I must have for myself and my beliefs and values, and loyalty based on a long personal history. I have no answers, yet.
You campaign in poetry.
You govern in prose.
~ Mario M Cuomo
What leader do you follow?
Follow the leader – touch your toes
Follow the leader – touch your nose
It was simple back then, just a game
to teach children and make them tame.
If the leader is a dimber-damber*
find one who respects the Charters.
Don’t follow a leader who doesn’t respect
the populace he governs and neglects.
The US has chosen a new leader to follow
but with a divided country victory feels hollow.
I hope, pray and wish Biden luck.
With McConnell in the senate, we’re still fucked.
*A dimber-damber is slang for the leader of a gang of criminals.