Monday, January 30, 2012

Why Would Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Disrespect Me?!


By now we've all seen it.  But, I think it's a picture we ought to remember, for any number of reasons...

I'm am hardly alone in being angered at the level of disrespect shown President Barack Obama. I feel that it is unprecedented in any number of ways. And I think it should not only be called out, but I think people who feel it is ok, should be made uncomfortable.

I know that there are other precedents who have been vilified. And I know that there other presidents who have been subjected to ridicule. It comes with the office. No matter the crest of adulation with which a man has assumed office, eventually he does something and there are critics. There are even enemies. And those enemies inevitably do and say things that are out of bounds. There are times when it's even public.


It can almost be shocking, when one reads history, at how even some of the Founding Fathers would go after one another, questioning the morality or the ethics of their opponents.


Clinton was called a murderer...

George W.  Bush was called a racist...

Reagan was called derisively referred to as a 'cowboy'...

Nixon was called a 'liar' and a 'criminal'...

LBJ was called a 'killer' for his escalation of the Viet Nam war...

Just before Kennedy came to Dallas, there was a full page ad taken out in a local newspaper calling him 'a traitor'...

No president has been left unscathed. But this is different.

I can't remember, in my lifetime, when a president's legitimacy has been called into question in such disrespectful and venal ways, by other sitting elected officials, who clearly are pandering to a constituency.

There are crackpots and lunatics throughout our society. Many of whom, cannot be controlled. But when other politicians feel comfortable in taking the airways to say and do things that are obviously unprofessional and classless...and then actually search for ways to defend those words and actions, it goes beyond disturbing.

A State of the Union address in which A CONGRESSMAN YELLS, 'You Lie'...

Congressmen actually tweeting and texting during the SOTU...

A SITTING President, forced to release his BIRTH CERTIFICATE in order to quell lingering suspicions that he is not a citizen - flames of suspicions flamed by an entertainer who is threatening to run for office - while real politicians, demure and deflect on the issue, just enough to give those suspicions an air of legitimacy...

They have even supported the calling into question of his academic credentials. Not one Republican leader stood up and called a halt to questioning the education of a graduate of Harvard University, a former president of the Harvard Law Review and a Constitutional law professor!

Nearly immediately after election, LEADERS in opposing party is comfortable in proclaiming that their number one agenda is to make sure that a president, elected by a clear majority, only serves one term. They openly declare this, while Osama Bin Laden is still on loose; they openly declare this while the economy is in shambles; they openly declare this while American troops are fighting not one, but two wars abroad...

And, for years, even the President's religion is questioned, in spite of his public statement of commitment to the Christian faith.

When, under his leadership, Osama Bin Laden the terrorist whose shadow has been cast over this nation's security for a decade - after President Bush had publicly stated more than once, that he had no interest in where he was and didn't think about it. The opposition avoids giving him credit for a clear victory saying it isn't HIS leadership, but the action of the troops! Troops under his command!

And now, Jan Brewer, the governor of Arizona, publicly wags her finger in the face of the president. She does it in front of the Secret Service. In front of the press corp. In front of the country. And excuses it by saying she felt 'threatened'.

Threatened? By a sitting President.

Again, the continued disrespect: playing into the stereotype of the dark, sinister African-American, who, although president might do...what?!

Let's turn the picture around and take the issue of race out of it for a moment. How would we be discussing this picture, if Obama as a man, was wagging his finger in the face of the Governor of Arizona?

What is particularly sad, that during an election season, a season that is supposed to be about choices this is what we have. Republican candidates are not just questioning the wisdom of Obama's policies. They are not just questioning healthcare, or national defense or economic policy. They refer to him as 'dangerous', they refer to his policies as 'un-American', they refer to his leadership as 'European Socialism' (because in a democracy, there can only be one concept of governance, any other way must be foreign and therefore, sinister).

Of course, there has also been the explanation that those who do and say such thing respect 'the Office' of the President. The suggestion is that you can respect the 'Office' without respecting the person in the Office.

Throughout 2011, we heard that the off year election vote in November 2010 was the 'will of the people' and should be 'respected'. If that's true, then it should be remembered, that the election of  November 2008, by a larger margin and by a larger majority, was also the 'will of the people'. That will is not demonstrated by slavish obeisance to the President's agenda. It is demonstrated by respect for him, as the person in the office. It is demonstrated by the way you refer to him. It demonstrated by the way you express that disagreement on issues of policy.

During the budget battles last summer, House Speaker John Boehner said that he had 'the same responsibilities as the President'. At best that is a clear misunderstanding of the Constitution! Only the President of the United States is directed by the majority of ALL of the American people. To disrespect that elected executive, is to disrespect those who voted for him.

Frankly, that type of disregard and disrespect, is more dangerous to the fabric of our democracy than any policy that Obama or any other President has ever proposed. Legislation can be overturned, but what we see in this picture on the tarmac in Arizona, is something that cannot be corrected in an election. It's the sign of a corrosion at the heart of our country that we mistakenly felt we had overcome four years ago...

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