REP-PP Spring 201​7 Blog: Respect

Blogger:  Tie She` Chavis

Law School Year:  ​​2L
Placement:  U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Government Affairs, Washington D.C.

Tie She Chavis“Tolerance implies a respect for another person, not because he is wrong or even because he is right, but because he is human.” – John Cogley

By definition the word RESPECT means “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” This definition however is misleading because it presumes that the only time one should respect another is when they admire that individual. Contrary to this, the Aggie Core Values demand that we respect everyone we encounter.

Respect is deeply rooted in the Aggie way of life and is at the center of Aggie history and traditions. This is seen through the respect of Reveille, respect for the history of the 12th Man, respect for lost Aggies, respect for Aggies who are thriving, and most importantly respect for the institution and all of the great and wonderful achievements that have been obtained by members of the Aggie Network.

Similarly, the same level of respect is required in our nation’s capital, particularly within our government. Unfortunately, however, I have seen a lack of respect from some of our most well-regarded leaders. American democracy demands that as human beings, a mutual level of respect is given to American citizens and our government. Historically, regardless of political party or affiliation, members of Congress have shown respect to each other, the constitution, American tradition, and most importantly to positions of power such as the Presidency, Vice Presidency, and Cabinet members.

Unfortunately, in today’s politics the word respect has been lost on many leaders. Just as Mr. Cogley stated, regardless of who is wrong or who is right, respect should be given. The lack of respect that I have witnessed through hearings, news conferences, protests, etc. has placed our democracy in a vulnerable state. This was particularly shown during the days leading up to the January 20, 2017, Inaugural Address. Both the then-President Elect and the Democratic members of the House of Representatives decided to engage in a back and forth contest of who could belittle, demean, and ultimately show the least amount of respect for the office of the President and the tradition of Inauguration Day and Congress. This back and forth resulted in over 80 Democratic Representatives boycotting the Inauguration, which in my opinion was the ultimate disrespect to our democracy, traditions, and the office of the President.

Respect does indeed go both ways, which is often said by many. Through my military experience and my experiences as an Aggie, I have learned that regardless of who you are and what your beliefs are, it is imperative to respect processes and positions in which you fall subordinate to or are required to maintain a united front with, especially when your intolerance reflects poorly on your organization, yourself, and the people you represent.

Herbert H. Lehman once stated, “I must respect the opinions of others even if I disagree with them.” This is something that I try to exude in my every day interactions with individuals, but more importantly during my time in my externship where I encounter individuals who do not share the same views as me. I firmly believe that my ability to be respectful to all people stems from my upbringing coupled with my military experience and is even furthered by my carrying out the Aggie Core Values, which is expected of me as a future Aggie lawyer.