I saw a posting on Facebook today that reminded me of some lines from the HBO Movie, Band of Brothers. In the scene Capt. Herbert Sobal, who had once served as the Company Commander when Lt Winters was a platoon leader, is walking by and purposely tries to avoid recognizing his former subordinate who now serves as a Major. Major Winters calls him to task with the admonishment "We salute the rank, not the man."
The posting I saw was from someone I assume to be a supporter of the President, commenting on some post about the President and his agenda. The comment went along the lines of being tired of the disrespect for the office of President and it is ignorant to be that way. These kinds of things give me something to consider and from time to time form the basis for my observations on the nature of man.
I guess I’ve been aware of how our nation treats the office of President since at least the mid-1960s when I started to understand our government and watched as the anti-war movement grew to oppose first Lyndon Johnson and then Richard Nixon. But if you look at political cartoons you can see parody, ridicule and disrespectful sentiments as far back as you care to research.
The ability to question, criticize, condemn and ridicule is, I believe, inherent in the fabric of American politics. The office of President is an elected position, not an anointed one. The only thing different with this President is the issue of race as both a cause and a defense.
And then we have the advent of social media. Over the past 15 years we have seen an explosion in the vitriolic tenor of so many average people who believe they can hide behind some avatar or pseudonym and cast racial, ethnic or sexual slurs with impunity. It is not limited to just the President, ask Curt Shilling. In his blog 38 Pitches he is dealing with some degenerates who’ve threatened his daughter.
So, if you are concerned with people posting disrespectful things about the President I suggest you look first at what you post about those who you disagree with. I see a great number of liberal mimes talking about conservative politicians who may take a position they find distasteful or wrong. There is much to be learned from those mimes on how to belittle, or disrespect the individual. Ad hominem attacks seem to be the style of the day. If it is okay to support their approach then you must accept the same approach from the right. Of course we have an amazing ability to rationalize why we are right and they are wrong so I don’t hold out much hope we will all become civil any time soon.
There was an individual a couple of years ago to took great umbrage with an acquaintance who posted a picture of President Obama in a pose and poster that resembled one of Hitler, he was outraged that anyone could post that calling it a racist act. When it was pointed out that George W. Bush had the same thing done to him by the left when he was President his response was that Bush deserved it since he was a war criminal. I’m sorry if you’re outraged over criticism of one President, but not another, based solely on your political beliefs, then you don’t have a leg to stand on and your rhetoric is purely political with no moral basis. To borrow a phrase from my mother “look at the pot calling the kettle black!”
In conclusion, I too agree it would be nice if we respected the office of President, but I don’t hold out much hope as long as we enjoy the protection of the first Amendment. The one thing I worry about is as the government's ability and desire to track and attack those who criticize it expands we will see the end of our rights and the nation I’ve lived to defend. We have on a number of occasions come close to this, and with new technologies we are closer still.