News & Politics

Do We Owe Politicians Any Respect?

Do We Owe Politicians Any Respect?
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke speaks at the Iowa Federation of Labor convention, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Altoona, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

A lot of things bug me every single day, but few things bug me more than the idea that I owe any politician my respect. No matter who I mock or criticize from one day to the next, there’s always somebody yelling at me, demanding to know how I could dare to do such a thing. They take it personally. They’ve chosen a tribe, and they want to protect it.

I only used to see this on the left, but it seems to be spreading. The other day I got a little annoyed by a tweet from a Republican “communications consultant” named Tim Miller. I don’t mean to pick on Miller in particular, but he perfectly encapsulated an idea that I reject. Right after Beto O’Rourke dropped out of the 2020 presidential race, Miller said:

To which I reply: This Beto jerk has been scolding me every day for a year. He did everything he possibly could do to alienate me. You’re damn right I’m gloating that he dropped out.

We don’t owe these people anything. None of them, from either of the current parties or any future party that ever gets founded until the end of time. These hacks are auditioning for us. I will throw rotten cabbages at them until my arm gets tired if I want to. This is America.

Oh, Beto doesn’t get to be president? Boo-hoo. The people who supported him are sad? Okay. How is that my problem? Nobody died. Nobody was stricken with boils. A presidential candidate you like dropped out, that’s all. Get over yourselves.

We don’t owe any politician our respect, or our loyalty, or anything else. They work for the people, not the other way around. If they want control over my life, then they’ll have to put up with me talking back to them, in any manner I please. That goes for every single Democratic candidate for president, and it also goes for Trump. (I’m not counting the Republicans running against Trump, because c’mon.) If they do or say something stupid, I reserve the right as an American to mock, deride, belittle, and otherwise thumb my nose at them. That’s the price of power in America. The powerless get to say: Up yours.

I spent eight long years sneering at the Obama cult of personality, and I refused to join the cult that followed it. And I’ll decline to join the one following that, and all the rest of them until the day I die. Criticizing any individual, from any party, for any reason, is not un-American. It doesn’t make you a terrorist, or a hostage-taker, or a traitor. The only thing that’s un-American is trying to shut people up.

No politician really cares about you as a human being. None of them are worth a single teardrop. They’ll come and go, but your mind is your own.

If you hate me for reminding you of that… Shrug emoji!