COLUMBIA — It appears that many who attended the Missouri State Fair rodeo were subjected to a conflict in values. Should they go along with the crowd composed of friends, neighbors and fellow participants at the occasion, or should they refuse to participate in the repugnant activity that demeaned the Office of the President?
Certainly, choosing to participate in the experience was not unlawful. But it was an opportunity to show, teach and model character for our children attending the rodeo. Character is not conditional or situational. It should be the measure of us all. Respect for others ought to be imbued in our children through our modeling and the behavior we engage in with family, friends and associates.
There ought not be a hierarchy of those who deserve respect and those who are undeserving of respect, no matter what race, creed, gender, age or occupation. Everyone should be entitled. When we are involved in a situation that demeans others, we should show our disapproval of such behavior by speaking out, acting out or stopping the behavior. None of us are immune from the behavior shown at the Missouri State Fair rodeo. We must always be conscious of the difference between good taste and offensive behavior. We could use a simple rule that sometimes serves me well. Would you want your mother subjected to that kind of disrespect? No investigation is needed for this incident. We would be better served if we used it as a cautionary reminder that the content of our character still needs some adjustment.
William E. "Gene" Robertson is a Columbia resident and a professor emeritus at MU.