Mad Respect

This edition of my thoughts on whatever is at my finger tips as they mount the keyboard is focused on the idea of respect. Now, since I’m not a very learned person with respect to vocabulary, insomuch as I don’t know every definition to every word, so I’ve taken to to provide myself with the various definitions of respect.

re·spect [ri-spekt]


1. a particular, detail, or point (usually preceded by in ): todiffer in some respect.

2. relation or reference: inquiries with respect to a route.

3. esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of aperson, a personal quality  or ability, or something consideredas a manifestation of a personal quality or ability: I havegreat respect for her judgment.

4. deference to a right, privilege, privileged position, orsomeone or something considered to have certain rights orprivileges; proper acceptance or courtesy; acknowledgment:respect for a suspect’s right to counsel; to show respect for theflag; respect for the elderly.

5. the condition of being esteemed or honored: to be held inrespect.

verb (used with object)

6. to hold in esteem or honor: I cannot respect a cheat.

7. to show regard or consideration for: to respect someone’s rights.

8. to refrain from intruding upon or interfering with: to respect aperson’s privacy.

9. to relate or have reference to.

(hmmm, just what I thought)

I can imagine that mostly everyone with half a brain and the ability to reason is familiar with these different definitions, but to me, respect is at the very center of my core virtues. It’s not a practice that I choose to employ every now and again at my convenience causing harm on others. Nor is it one which I hold so powerful causing me to be trapped by the wishes or ideas of others. I think, but am open to objections, that I fall in the middle.

At any rate, here is a list of 3 people (in no particular order) I respect and why:

1.  John Adams

This one is easy. As a founding father of the world’s greatest country, Johnny boy literally wrote the constitution. He was in no doubt the best lawyer out of his contemporaries, and used his skills to write the backbone of freedom and opportunity. The words he spoke in the continental congress chambers are forever engrained in the essence of this country, and got him elected as the first VP, and then the second President. He was a family man at heart, and loved his wife more than anyone. During the revolutionary war, he would go months on end without seeing his family and could only communicate by letters with his wife. When he was called to represent America overseas, he brought along his eldest son, and future US President, with him to teach. As a diplomat he negotiated treaties of amity and commerce with several countries in Europe, including England. Many people in government felt that Adams was stubborn and vain, but these people during the first election voted for him over his opponent.

It’s easy to pick any of the founding fathers for this list, as I have tremendous respect for all of the revolutionary players, but Adams stands out. He guided this country by his beliefs. People thought he was stubborn because of his relentlessness to defend the power of the presidency. To me this just shows what a strong individual he was. He wasn’t a politician in the modern sense, but he was every bit of what a politician should be. He didn’t want everyone to be his friend, and they weren’t, but at the end of the day they voted for him and trusted in him to represent the country. He also raised a president, and held a successful marriage (unlike some others on this list), and that speaks volumes about his character.

2. John A. Roebling

Designed the Brooklyn Bridge, boom. However, not overshadowed by this massive accomplishment at the end of his career (he died survey the location for the bridge), Roebling was also an inventor, entrepreneur, and philosopher. Upon his arrival in America, he and his brother established the town Saxonburg, PA, a German settlement. He began as a farmer out of necessity, but soon took to engineering. As an engineer he worked on a few aqueducts, and then switched to suspension bridges. While working on these projects, Roebling developed the “wire rope” and started producing it in Saxonburg. After some experience designing multiuse suspension bridges (carriage, train, and foot), Roebling convinced the city of New York to build a bridge over the East River between its neighbor Brooklyn.

At this time he had moved his wire rope business to Trenton, and was absolutely killing it. He came up with the monumental gothic bridge design and did all of the engineering with only the help of his son. The man was incredibly smart, had his own philosophy on life, and created a business that helped build both the Brooklyn and Golden Gate bridge (with plenty in between).

3. Othmar H. Ammann

Continuing to show my mad respect for structural engineers I’m throwing Othmar Ammann on here as my idle. This mother fucker built not one, not two, …, but SIX bridges in NYC (and if ya don’t know, now ya know…). These babes are the Bayonne Bridge, Throgs Neck Bridge, Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, Tri-borough Bridge, Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and the George Washington Bridge.   In addition to these bridges, he also consulted on the design and construction of America’s most famous bridge, the Golden Gate. Hopefully at this point it’s pretty clear that not much more needs to be said about why Othmar should be well respected by all Americans, after all transportation played an enormous role in the growth of this country. However, I will add one more reason for why I think he’s awesome. After completing 5 bridges in NYC and working on the Verrazano, he bought a penthouse with 360 deg view of the city so he could see all the bridges he built. Baller.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to shout out to my mom. Mom, I love you.

I realized that you cannot talk about respect without mentioning your mother, so I had to throw that in there. Now,  I’ll start wrapping this up with some parting thoughts on the subject matter. Thinking about who you respect can be a great exercise to remind yourself of what is important to you, and why. It’s also important t think about the opposite side of this coin. Who don’t you respect, and why don’t you respect them? These two things can help you narrow in on the type of person you are. Reflecting on the three people listed above, it’s clear that I find personal achievement to be high on my list of things important to me, and this may seem a little selfish. But, I like to look at it and see people who achieved things personally that benefitted a ton of other people. I intentionally left out those who I don’t respect, out of respect for them. Take a few seconds and do this for yourself, it’s worth it!

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