Respect. It’s something we offer of ourselves to people who deserve, for whatever reason, a mark, an acknowledgement, a recognition, of their role and who they are.
Sometimes, it comes begrudgingly. Sometimes it is not offered at all – as, it could be argued, we saw yesterday with the interview of the Prime Minister on 2GB.
It was further reinforced when I went to the rugby here in Melbourne last night and listened in the background to a Dad telling his son on the way in “we call the referee ‘sir’, it doesn’t matter what they do – so say whatever you like – as long as it’s ‘sir’.”
Two rows away sat Wallabies coach Robbie Deans. People knew he was there, but didn’t make a big deal. Maybe it was respect for the role he has, or respect for the man that he is. You show good manners and let the bloke watch the game, take his notes and do what he does.
At the end of the game (which the Rebels won, much to the utter and long jubilation of the adoring Melbourne fans), the players to a man walked the boundary, posing for photos, thanking the crowd, signing autographs. Some of the players’ young kids were there, running around, seeing their dad’s incredibly happy faces as we cheered and clapped the guys for their efforts. Each of the players as they walked down the race were applauded by the fans and in the euphoric minutes after the game with their recognition of their fans, the Rebels were not a ‘franchise’ but a Club.
The Prime Minister is the leader of the party which has formed government in the federal House of Representatives. Irrespective of the person’s policies, their politics, their on-air battles with the host before, the Prime Minister (or Opposition Leader, or a premier, or chief minister, or minister) is entitled to respect. They have been elected.
This post isn’t about politics or the policy that the Prime Minister was arguing. It’s about actually asking ourselves why we sometimes don’t always show respect to those who we should, regardless of what we think of their views; and why a radio host thought it was acceptable to berate a Prime Minister for being late to an interview.
Play the ball, not the person – and, in the words of Richard Winters, he of Band of Brothers honour (without being gender-specific):