It would be more than fair to say this column does not devote huge amounts of space to praising President Obama. But stick with me here because there is more to this piece than what should be the obvious — the obvious being that no matter who serves as our president, we should never stand for the rude interruption and verbal assault of our nation’s leader.
Obama held his cool while the woman questioned, in essence, why Gitmo remains open. I guess she has a point given the president’s longtime promise to close the facility — a promise he should have never made. But really, some whiney, holier-than-thou who believes she has some special right to interrupt the president and ruin an event for everyone else, give me a break.
In rebuking this sort of assault on our president, I’m not putting the president on a pedestal. I’m not even endorsing any of his policies. But I am saying that we should all put America ahead of our partisanship and our political philosophies. I’m sure the Code Pink organization would argue the right to freedom of speech in rudely interrupting our elected leader. But what if everyone in a room full of people listening to a president they might disagree with started to heckle and question him constantly throughout a policy address? The answer is that presidents would no longer give public speeches.
Or perhaps the president would be strong enough to do what Ronald Reagan did during a campaign speech in 1980 to a heckler in the crowd and simply say, “Oh, shut up!” That heckler was never heard from again.
Ironically, despite the left of left position that the big mouth at Code Pink has in basically opposing any U.S. involvement in any wars, I am led to a broader and far less Code Pink conclusion.
Yes, Code Pink, I’m also tired of Americans fighting in wars overseas. I would be thrilled to never again see another American mother or father have to watch their young son or daughter leave for a potentially hazardous far-away land. We just paused to remember far too many Americans who gave up their lives so that old big mouth could heckle the president and exercise her freedom of speech, or of the right to a have a super cool self-image of a pseudointellectual, activist, liberal, above-civility jerk.
But hey, why stop there? Every time I see a homeless person carrying a coat in the hot weather because it’s part of the collection of few belongings he or she must cling to for the days when the cold sets in, I wonder why tax dollars go flying out of this nation to countries around the world that hate our guts. If I’m to be taxed to death and hassled by the IRS, let it be for the reason of clothing and feeding Americans at home, not the rest of the world.
And every time I read of an immigrant who comes to our shores and is given the opportunity to attend a high-end school, as was the case with our lovely Boston Marathon bomber, I wonder why some kid who has lived in public housing and never had a chance to escape didn’t get that scholarship or break, instead. I’m sure Code Pink would oppose the kid even getting the chance to attend a charter school.
And when it comes to disaster relief, where are all the donations and people from other countries helping the folks in Oklahoma who were devastated by the storms of last week or those left to languish from Sandy last year? Some people who received help from the government years ago, after Hurricane Katrina, are now being chased down by their government, which is claiming their monetary help was a loan that they must repay.
Yes, Code Pink, I don’t want any more Americans in foreign wars, either. But likely for a different reason. It’s not because I don’t believe in defending our nation. And it’s not for some late-1960s VW van throwback, feel-good, peace sign moment.
It’s because I’m tired of seeing great young Americans fight and die in dusty, nasty lands where the people we “liberate” hate us just as much as their oppressors. All to defend the “right” for the lady from Code Pink to run her mouth at will and interrupt our president — even if he doesn’t know when to say, “Oh, shut up.”
Matt Towery heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage.