Respect is paid to people in many ways. Sometimes it's a thank you, or a tip of the hat. And in exceptional cases, those that have earned the greatest respect, there's even a traditional flying of the U.S. flag at half-mast. It might mark the passing of a single person, or in the case of a tragedy like 9-11 or Sandy Hook, the loss of many. The general rule is that this tradition is reserved for the highest degree of reverence. The ultimate acknowledgement.
Recently, with the passing of Nelson Mandela, President Obama ordered the flags on federal buildings to be lowered in recognition of the South African's passing. This Nobel Peace Prize winner, this international diplomat and civil rights crusader was being honored for the impact he had across the world. Not just in his nation. His footprint exceeded South Africa's borders. He was a citizen of the world, so to speak.
Yet this is not good enough for the Republican party here in the states. Now, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) has made it clear that he feels the U.S. should only lower flags to honor American citizens, and not foreign dignitaries like civil rights leader and former South African President Nelson Mandela.
Sadly Sensenbrenner is not alone. It was reported today in Talking Points Memo
Sensenbrenner's assertion was received with "cheers" at the event, which was organized by the Republican Party of Waukesha County, according to Brookfield Now.
Does respect now based on a person's nationality? Is a man or woman deserving of our recognition only if he/she was an American? According to the Wisconsin representative and his GOP party, it does. I don't agree.