Wow, a lot has happened this week. I intended to post an entry about President Obama's speech to school children and his speech to congress. This week was also the anniversary of 9/11. But with all that, I want to take an opportunity to speak about a House Representative from my own state (but not my district), Representative Joe Wilson.
I found an article in the NY Times that I thought gave a good review. It says that we in SC are "famous for both [our] gentility and [our] rebelliousness..." I like the way that sounds. I was born in Charleston and lived in SC until I was 24. I moved just across the state line to NC for 13 years. Finally got back here 11 years ago and never leaving.
But as proud as I am about my state, I'm not too proud of Rep. Wilson. Whether he was right or wrong, I think it's bad taste to publicly call the president a liar. I also think it's bad taste to publicly "boo" the president. Rep. Wilson has admitted he was wrong and offered and apology to Pres. Obama, the president has graciously accepted. That should be the end of the story.
Instead, some people want to draw it out. Reported this morning, House officials want him to apologize on the floor under threat of reprimand (somehow an apology under threat never seems genuine). In order for this to happen, I think we should start a parade of public officials who have booed or hissed the last few presidents.
Pres. Obama isn't the first president to have this experience. President Bush was booed during his State of the Union speech in 2005. I haven't looked, but I could probably find instances where this happened to Pres. Clinton.
I think it's time for ALL politicians to start respecting the president. In my opinion, this lack of respect started during the Reagan regime, when the response to presidential speeches started. I think this would be an excellent time for these to end. (I've spoken against this policy here and here). It's also time for the president to stop calling other politicians and private citizens names. It serves no purpose, only invigorates others and is childish.
It's also time for all of us to start listening to our president and politicians, whether we agree with them or not. That includes school kids. The president's speech should have been seen by all school children. If we as parents agreed or disagreed with the president, we could explain that without name calling (sometimes difficult for me personally).
This change needs to start with a leader. Know any good leaders who can start it?