Then one day, my father told me to pick up my toys, and I used my new empowering word on him. "No," I snapped. I'm sure he didn't slap me as hard as I remember – but it was hard enough to get my attention. And the harshness of his voice would have made an adult tremble. "You don't say 'no' to me, mister," he instructed. "You say 'no Sir.' And it better be in answer to a question!"
I immediately exited the "no" stage of childhood and went on to whatever the next difficult stage in growing up was.
My father was not a mean man, but he had a German sense of propriety – a conviction that there is an order in the world that men ignore to their own regret. It was a conviction that caused him to live his life in a way that earned not only my respect but the respect of everyone he met throughout his seventy years on this planet. My Daddy didn't demand respect – he commanded respect – because he deserved it.
Our "leaders" in Washington today sound like an old Rodney Dangerfield comedy routine, pouting, "I don't get no respect." Could it be that they don't deserve respect – that they have never even tried to earn our respect? If they want to be worthy of our respect, perhaps they should start by respecting our Constitution and showing some respect for the men who risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honors to forge for us our American republic – and for those who have given their lives to preserve our republic.
In the Marine Corps, we were taught to salute the uniform, regardless of the man inside it. That may be a good rule for maintaining the mindless obedience the military mirthlessly calls "discipline," but it's hardly a formula for commanding respect.
Respect doesn't reside in the uniform, or in the office of President, or in any other elected or appointed office, as it used to in feudalistic society. Respect in a modern republic arises from individual sacrifice to the welfare of one's fellow republicans and from the humility to honor the laws and traditions of the republic.
People don't respect liars, Mr. President – they respect honest men who search for the truth, like Harold "Trey" Gowdy III.
People don't respect bullies, Mr. Senate Majority Leader – they respect people who stand up to bullies, like Cliven Bundy.
People don't respect criminals, Mr. Attorney General – they respect honest men who hunt down criminals and prosecute them, like Daryl Issa.
And people don't respect cowards, Madam Secretary of State – they respect the people who lost their lives because of your cowardice, like Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, and Sean Smith.