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By now, everyone has heard the money quote by Representative Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.): "We're not going to be disrespected. We have to get something out of this. And I don't know what that even is." Here's something else that Stutzman doesn't know what it is: respect.

First and foremost, respect is earned. It can't be borrowed, stolen, or bought. It cannot be compelled. There is nothing that someone can do to force your respect. That's just not how it works.

Respect is earned by the demonstration of character. Not by words alone, but by deeds. And those deeds are ones that accomplish something positive. That's the real kicker right there. The power to destroy something does not earn respect, although it may earn fear. One is often mistaken for the other, but they are two different things entirely.

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Has Stutzman ever considered why he and his cronies are not respected? Could it have something to do with their rejection of objective reality? The latest IPCC Report says that 97% of scientists agree, and it is 95% certain that climate change is man-made. Not good enough. It snowed last winter, so there!

Perhaps it has something to do with the rank hypocrisy of voting for a farm bill that lines their own pockets while shaking down the most vulnerable among us for the few scraps that might fall their way. When your worldview is that of a zero-sum game, someone else's loss must therefore be a win for their team. And so they stick it to whoever they can, whenever they can.

They call themselves "conservatives," but it is beyond me what it is that they conserve, other than a status quo that benefits them and their financiers. The air, water, and forests are things to be used, or more correctly, abused for their individual profit.

I can think of nothing - not one single thing - that any of these political terrorists have done in the past four years that is worthy of my respect. Try authoring or sponsoring a bill in Congress that builds something to improve the lives of our citizens. And not just the handful that gave you money during the last election cycle. It's truly stunning to hear the words "the American people want..." from the lips of a Republican. They likely do not have the slightest clue what the American people want. Or if they do, they certainly do not care to lift a finger to achieve it.

Stutzman's comment has a totally meta twist: it is precisely because they don't even know what they want that they are not respected. It's all there - the equation is perfectly balanced. Two plus two equals four. No amount of economic blackmail will ever change that fact. Deep down, I suspect he and his band of knuckle-draggers know this. Searching for quotes on respect, I found this gem:

"When people do not respect us we are sharply offended; yet in his private heart no man much respects himself." - Mark Twain
Nailed it.
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