Friday, January 27, 2012
It was the finger wagging seen 'round the world.
This photo of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer appearing to scold President Obama has made its way around the web. While Governor Brewer explained that the camera must have caught her during an "animated" moment because she didn't scold the president, she did mention that their exchange on the tarmac in Phoenix was a little tense, because President Obama was unhappy with the way she characterized a previous Oval Office meeting between the two in her 2010 book.
The fact is, I don't care what the two were talking about. But the picture reignited my strong feelings that President Obama has been met with more disrespect than any other president, at least in recent history. Which, of course, also leads to the question, even if you don't agree with the man's policies, shouldn't you at least respect the office?
Yes, I know that George W. Bush was the butt of many a joke during his eight years as president, but I can honestly say I never heard the news media or his opponents refer to him as "Bush" except in headlines. Yet routinely I hear legislators, the media, and especially those who do not agree with his positions call the president simply "Obama." This is the leader of our nation; more than half of those who voted in 2008 chose him as the president. He at least should be referred to as "President Obama." Just because you didn't want him to be president or don't think he's doing a good job doesn't mean he doesn't deserve the respect of the title to which he was elected.
The disrespect the president has been shown has truly been one-of-a-kind. Again, there was open ridicule of President George W. Bush, mostly by the media, but no one in the Democratic party shouted "you lie" during a State of the Union address, and people didn't routinely show up at President Bush's appearances with pictures of him in the crosshairs of a gun or riddled with bullet holes. Just the other day, Tim Thomas, goalie of the Stanley Cup champion Boston Bruins, chose not to attend the White House ceremony honoring the team. While Thomas claimed that this was not a slap at President Obama but rather an overall criticism of the government's abuse of power, rarely if ever before has a professional athlete skipped a White House ceremony when their team was being honored.
There are those who have said President Obama doesn't simply deserve respect because of the office he holds; he needs to earn respect. This is a man who oversaw the capture of Osama bin Laden, the end of the war in Iraq, the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the implementation of a health care initiative...what more does this man need to do to earn respect?
As adults, we need to set an example for our children about respect. President Obama is no different than nearly every other man who has held the office of president during our country's history, and should be treated with the respect that office deserves.
You don't have to like him, you don't have to agree with him, you just shouldn't wag your finger in his face.