There is a thin line between reverence and irreverence, between respect and scorn. Respect is not given. It is earned. Everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt, a chance to prove competence. When it becomes clear, talent is lacking or in short supply,respect is owed the person, but not sinecure. To fill space and engage in some organizational or government function, does not mean the obligation of retention.

Revering any person grows from the history demonstrated by a well-lived life. We have seen results, been valued, or experienced the wisdom of pronouncements. When stagnation or corrupted principles descend into sound-bytes meant to garner attention, an irreverent response is entirely appropriate.

Irreverence serves a very useful purpose. It can be sophisticated and for its time shocking, as Jonathon Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” or as mundane and tacky as Miley Cyrus’ recent “Saturday Night Live” gig on the government shut down. Either way, a cold light shines on the hypocrisy of noble declaration. And if that cold light freezes us for a moment and makes us think ever so briefly, we have been served.

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