If you listen to the blowhards on the debate stage lately, particularly Gingrich, you’d think they were being flayed alive for being asked questions they find uncomfortable. They rail against the media, against “gotcha” questions, against the timing of questions – you name it. And they demand that they be shown some respect. I’ve got two words for them:
Ever since President Obama took office – and the Tea Party started gaining some ground – the concepts of respect and civility have gone out the window. Need some examples? How about heckling and namecalling during the State of the Union address – multiple years. How about flat out derision of the President? Not disagreement with policies or positions, but plain ol’ insult? What about the still active birther movement? All of these show a contemptible lack of respect for the man and the office of President of the United States.
I’m not saying you can’t disagree, even vociferously. But when it just comes down to insult, you’ve hit bottom. And the is where the GOP is. Today in Arizona was a perfect example.
When the President stepped off Air Force One on his way to an event at the Intel plant in Chandler, AZ, he was greeted by Governor Jan Brewer. The President apparently expressed his displeasure with her, as he believes she mischaracterized a meeting they had last year in her recently released book. What then ensued included Brewer raising her voice, talking over the President, and wagging her finger at him. Yup, like a mom scolding a child, or perhaps a servant.
Again, disagreements are fine. Discussion is fine. But her attitude, her demeanor, her means of addressing The President of the United States of America was beyond rude, beyond disrespectful. Had he done the same to her – the Republicans would be screaming about an elitist attitude and condescending demeanor. Can you imagine if someone had displayed the temerity to do the same to Bush while he was in office?
And how many times was Bush heckled during his State if the Union addresses? How many times did someone feel that it was appropriate to yell “LIAR!” while George was in front of Congress? But these current crop of Republicans all think it’s more than ok to do so, perfectly acceptable to show no respect for the President.
A couple of days ago, the NHL Champion Boston Bruins were invited to the White House, as are all professional champion teams. And all but one attended – Tim Thomas, the goaltender. Why? Was there an illness in his family? A prior engagement? No. He just disagrees with the President’s policies. So he chose not to attend.
It’s his right. It’s also completely classless and disrespectful to his team and to the President. But again, that’s the new crop of Republicans. Demand respect and give none. If a foreign dignitary had been invited to the White House and declined it because he “disagreed” with the President’s policies, there would be a holy furor to beat the band. It would be considered unacceptable and an affront against not just the President, but the country. But Thomas is an American, and believes that gives him the right to be rude and disrespectful. It doesn’t matter what your politics are – or the President’s. To be invited is an honor, and to not go is disrespectful to the office of the President, not just the man who holds it.
We see this even within the debates, when candidates flatly state that they don’t care what the rules are, don’t care what the moderator says and won’t answer the questions asked because they don’t want to. As usual, everybody has to follow the rules except them.
Yes, there are folks on the left side of the fence that are disrespectful. Some of the “professional left” are as rude and sometimes worse. Guess what? My daughter doesn’t get away with “They do it too” excuses. When I heard folks disrespect the last President, I was just as appalled. I didn’t agree with the guy, and had plenty of reasons for that. But I guarantee that if somehow I had been invited to the White House, I’d have been there. I’d have shaken his hand. And I’ve have said it was an honor to meet him. Because it would be an honor to meet the President of the Unites States. It doesn’t matter who’s holding the office.
There are probably as many reasons for this as there are stars in the sky. Might some be racist? Sure. Some making it a political play? Yup. It doesn’t matter. It all boils down to one thing: Lack of respect for the President of the United States. Will you continue to stand for that?