Sometimes disrespect is the point

In my continued disdain for loaded language in lieu of actual arguments: Yes, the students who walked out on Mike Pence at the Notre Damn graduation ceremony were disrespectful. To say otherwise is to miss the point.

There are varying levels of respect. There’s the respect you default to giving every person. There’s the respect you give to people who have done great things, in general or for you. Presumably, when you meet someone you give them a basic modicum of respect. If your parents did a good job raising you, you give them some respect for it. When you have a good teacher, you respect them. If someone is particularly virtuous, they get some bonus respect, too.

Clearly not everyone should get the same kinds and levels of respect. If you encounter a stranger on the street, while you’ll give them the basic human respect, you don’t treat them like a good parent or teacher. You won’t show the same regard for strangers as friends.

Going further in the opposite direction, some people are worthy of disrespect. If you’ve ever sworn someone out or given the finger, etc., you wouldn’t have much room to argue it was anything other than an act of disrespect. Maybe it was deserved. Maybe it wasn’t. There’s varying levels here, too. Someone who cuts you off in traffic might get a brief show of disrespect. Someone who commits genocide is probably worthy of much graver disrespect.

Now, whether Pence is someone worthy of any given level of respect or disrespect is something that can be argued, which I’m not doing in this status. To simply say walking out was disrespectful and assume that means bad is lazy. On the other hand, to deny it was disrespectful is just falling for the ploy. The words “disrespectful” and “bad” are different words.

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