late Middle English: from Latin respectus, from the verb respicere ‘look back at, regard,’ from re- ‘back’ + specere ‘look at.’
If you’re my age, you remember Rodney Dangerfield’s iconic line, “I don’t get no respect.”
(I would suggest you listen to just the first few minutes of this video. I did not vet it for language/decency, and there may be something you really don’t need to hear.)
Perhaps he would have gotten more respect if he’d clean up his grammar, but that’s another topic.
The word has come to mean having a high regard. It’s something we’re sadly lacking in American society today. Agree with me, I’ll respect you. Disagree with me, I might kill you; but if I can’t do that, I’ll destroy your life, hurt your relationships, do whatever damage I can do because you don’t deserve to live, you filthy so-and-so,
There seems to be no filter, no “holding-back strap” any more. You can’t feel safe on social media, that’s for sure. Say anything, no matter how innocuous, and somebody out there is going to explode all over you.
I’ve been thinking about all this quite a bit in the last few days. Why are we so willing to fling insults at each other on social media? Is it because we’re not face-to-face, and we feel safe from retribution? There is so much ugliness in cyberspace. Maybe it’s because we can be anonymous. Cyber bullying is a real thing, and it’s just as ugly and underserved as any other bullying.
In my opinion, such disrespect and lack of common decency shows a level of cowardice. Real-life bullies tend to operate with a posse of followers to back them up, but cyber bullies don’t need to do that. That can operate solo because the possibility of having to answer for their behavior is pretty slim.
I refuse to engage in a word fight online. It’s pointless. There’s so much verbal garbage thrown around that no one is really willing to listen to a voice of reason. I won’t even read comments on articles in the news, So much anger, so much vitriol!
Proverbs 15:1 says,
“A soft answer turns away wrath,
But a harsh word stirs up anger.”
We need to learn to stand for what we believe in, but we need to do it without all the ugliness and hatred.