OPINION

OPINION: Respect is a basic human right not a privilege | Midweek Musings

NO RESPECT: Father Brendan Lee says that journalist Jonathan Swan's interviewing of President Donald Trump was disrespectful.
NO RESPECT: Father Brendan Lee says that journalist Jonathan Swan's interviewing of President Donald Trump was disrespectful.

If I was faced with one of those "if your house was on fire and you could only grab one thing" scenarios I think I'd grab my prayer books, rosary beads, Batman trilogy (but only the one trilogy) money, passport, wallet, smartphone, whatever clothes I could put on ...

And, if anyone argued I was only allowed to grab one thing I'd argue "mate, my house is on fire! I think there are bigger issues right now. Do you want me to go back inside and put all but one item back? Do I have to put them back in exactly the same place if that place is already on fire?"

When I was a kid a teacher shouted at me, "And you start giving me respect!"

I replied, "But you never give me any respect".

My teacher laughed and said, "You're a kid. You don't get respect!"

I admit it's a tricky subject at times, but I still believe the teacher was wrong.

Everyone deserves respect, and with no exceptions.

It's one of life's universals and you don't realise this until it is taken away.

When a convicted criminal is in court, a civilised society will treat even that criminal with respect.

If a John Smith is being convicted for murder, a civilised court will see to it that he is still dressed and fed and will refer to him as "Mr Smith", not "scumbag" nor even "John".

Australian journalist Jonathan Swan is currently being praised around the world for the way in which he conducted an interview with President Donald Trump, aired last week on TV network HBO.

In a way, I sympathise with Swan. He was widely lambasted for his last interview with President Trump for being too soft on him. Perhaps Swan was keen to make amends.

I think a large part of the blame behind the riots and the protests that turned violent in the US can, in part, be attributed to the universally acceptable disrespect shown towards President Trump.

Still, the interview was disrespectful and so no doubt was dessert after dessert for those who dislike Trump but frustrating to anyone trying to hear Trump's responses.

I will clearly be outnumbered by those who say the interview is excellent but I am not alone in my view.

An anchor at American cable news channel Newsmax said it seemed Mr Swan was heckling the President and making faces to impress his friends and anyone who hates Trump.

When myself and several other men, who were training for the priesthood, were interviewed by the ABC, the interviewer jumped up and down in his seat and aggressively pointed his finger at us as he asked his otherwise simple questions.

Understandably, but unfairly, his antics were never aired, only our awkward and confused responses.

I can tell you, it was hard to give answers in light of the way the questions were asked.

The interviewer told us later that he found people gave their best responses when they were put under pressure. Any fair person knows this is untrue.

But Trump deserves the disrespect shown him because some people are so horrible they deserve to be disrespected, right?

If that was true and respect was not universally beneficial, who decides who gets respect and who doesn't? A committee? Parliament? What if people decide that the committee or even Parliament are not worthy of our respect?

I think a large part of the blame behind the riots and the protests that turned violent in the US can, in part, be attributed to the universally acceptable disrespect shown towards President Trump.

For children, he's not Donald John Trump, a once-Democrat-now-greedy-Republican liar. He's the President and he's a twit.

What if children don't like their teachers or school principal because they think they are twits too? Surely, if you can disrespect the President you can disrespect teachers and school principals.

There may be people you dislike, perhaps even a lot, but even they deserve your respect.

No matter who you are, you should insist that respect is given to you because your life matters and you have a right to be here and make the best of your life.

When people begin to teach that there are other people who do not deserve respect, well, as Frank Sinatra sang; anything goes.

Twitter: @frbrendanelee