What Do Aretha & The Donald Have In Common These Days? It Sure Ain't Respect.
Respect is a much malleable concept these days. At its most basic, respect is a feeling of admiration for someone because of their abilities, qualities or achievements.
In the case of Aretha Franklin, it is a heartfelt plea to a lover "for a little respect when you come home (just a little bit)," in the words of her hit R&B cover of the great Otis Redding song. In the case of Cheeto Jesus, respect is merely because he is the president-elect, not something to be earned, but automatically and unquestioningly conferred despite an absence of positive abilities and altruistic qualities, as well as achievements only in the sense that he has never done an honest day's work in his life.
Where the concept of respect goes so far off the rails of reason as to become unrecognizable is that to not grant Trump respect is not merely disrespectful in the distorted-beyond-recognition view of his sycophancy and even a few pundits before they completely lost their shit, it is unpatriotic. This perversity predominates in the hydra-headed monster of reasons for my post-election despair over the ascendancy of a racist, xenophobe and anti-Semite.
Yes, Trump will commingle business and public interests in what will be a four- or eight-year ethical holiday. Can you say emoluments? Yes, he will appoint a bestiary full of science-denying knuckle draggers and cashiered generals for Cabinet positions. Yes, he will tack away from some of his more abominable campaign promises like jailing She Who Wears Pantsuits in a half-hearted effort to mitigate the damage, but how can I respect a man who as president will not represent all of the people, but only white people, and privileged white men at that?
No can do.
There is no better illustration of where reality has collided head on with absurdity than in the "controversy" over the address of the cast of the Broadway mega-hit Hamilton to Vice President-elect Pence to uphold the "inalienable rights [of a] diverse America."
Cheeto Jesus took to Twitter, that most statesman-like of media, to throw a tantrum over the timely plea, which he characterized as harassment and brought to mind Natalie Maines's criticism of Dubya on the eve of the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Maines and the Dixie Chicks were, of course, blackballed by the troglodytic country music establishment, while Hamilton and Jonathan Groff and Javier Muñoz, among its other superb stars, will suffer no such fate in the rarified air of the Eastern liberal culture gulch despite the extortionate prices being charged for tix.
But none of that is the point.
The point is that everyone knows that Broadway actors are a bunch of queers. That the theater has been a welcoming place for LGBT people. That it is an abomination to cast people of color as the white founding fathers. No respect for good old common decency there, right? Never mind that Trump's latest tweet storm was confined to demanding an apology from the Hamilton cast and not a peep about the white nationalists who were triumphantly meeting a few blocks from the White House at the same time Pence was sitting in a Broadway theater.
I figure we owe Cheeto Jesus about as much respect as he showed us during the campaign. Or as a black friend said to me the other day, "My black ass doesn't owe Trump a damned thing." The same should go for anyone who is not a straight white male whose ride doesn't qualify for the gas guzzler tax.
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