Respect Demands Action, Not Mere Words

Guiding principles of respect are common

Most of us have been raised under the guidance to respect others. Respect our parents, is a good example. It’s the fourth admonition in the Ten Commandments – Honor thy father and mother.

Scroll up that list of ten and read the first one: Have no other gods before me. It’s a call for respect of the highest order.

My own spiritual practice, Unitarian Universalism, holds respect as its first principle as we acknowledge the inherent worth and dignity of every person. It’s a call to respect each other. Further, the respect must be more than words. We must show our respect, act on our respect, and nurture our respect.

Try keeping your job without respecting your boss or co-workers. Try maintaining a healthy love relationship without a sense of respect – it’s impossible to do. Raise your children without modeling or exemplifying respect and none will be returned to you.

Respect is fundamental to the human experience.

BLM and the NBA call for respect

Yet our nation reels in surprise when a demand for respect now has center stage in our news. Black Lives Matter (BLM) have protested and the adherents have marched to draw attention to senseless brutality and the discarding of life – blatant disrespect.

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Ben Morse and Jill Martin of CNN reports of the NBA stand in their article, NBA, players say games will resume on Saturday and arenas can be used for voting. They add:

Meanwhile Los Angeles Laker LeBron James, who is spearheading a multimillion-dollar campaign to recruit poll workers in Black electoral districts ahead of November’s elections, continued to call for electoral participation on Twitter.

Change doesn’t happen with just talk!! It happens with action and needs to happen NOW! For my @IPROMISESchool kids, kids and communities across the country, it’s on US to make a difference. Together. That’s why your vote is @morethanavote.

Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back by police on Sunday as he tried to enter his vehicle in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His shooting became the latest incident to prompt outrage nationwide over racial injustice and police brutality.

Our lives depend on respect.

Current reporting notes the intensity of the moment as Black Lives Matter and the NBA take a stand in the midst of a concern for voting rights. Threatened by COVID-19 and a USPS slowdown, the NBA is stepping into the void. They are helping ensure lives are respected AND that voting – their voices – also are met with respect.

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Samantha Raphelson of NPR draws attention with her article, NBA Agrees To Use Arenas As Polling Places In Deal To Resume Playoffs. She writes:

At a meeting Thursday, the players agreed to resume the playoffs on Saturday after the league agreed to a plan to promote social justice and civic engagement, according to a joint statement released by the NBA and the players union.

She continues by quoting Oklahoma City Thunder Chris Paul, the players union president:

We’re all hurt, we’re all tired of just seeing the same thing over and over again and everybody just expects us to be OK just because we get paid great money. We’re human, we have real feelings…

NBA takes action to respect our votes

Nick Schwartz of USA Today notes the NBA and NBPA three-point plan in his article, NBA announces new social justice plan that includes turning arenas into voting centers:

  1. The NBA and its players have agreed to immediately establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.
  2. In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local election officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID. If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards.
  3. The league will work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.

We can expand respect for our votes

Our voting voices are precious to us and our democracy. The foundation of our form of government relies on acknowledging the sentiment of the governed through our votes.

As professional athletes of various sports acknowledge the respect needed for people of color and come together to protect our votes, it might be worthwhile to recognize how voting respect slips away. Every presidential election disenfranchises tens of millions of voters because of the Winner-Takes-All approach. In 2016, for example, more than 63 million votes were disrespected because of it – they did not matter.

Will 2020 reach the same mark? Will more voters be disenfranchised? Fewer? How many votes will matter? When and in which state will we be able to truly say, “All votes matter?” Equal Voice Voting (EVV) makes that promise. It’s a popular vote accounting that ensures state sovereignty and the respect for the U.S. Constitution, currently in peril with our presidential elections.

We have nine more weeks before the next presidential election. We will disrespect the U.S. Constitution again but can we come together to ensure 2024 will deliver voting respect in every state?

Vote early!

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By Jerry Spriggs and the Equal Voice Voting Team