I am taking a break from self-imposed blogging sabbatical (
read: I just wasn’t making blogging a priority) to comment on the boorish behavior that seems to be pervading our politics. I understand that politics is a dirty sport. It is often more about the gamesmanship than actual issues. But every game has rules. And we should be able to expect fair play from individuals seeking our support as the voting public. Unfortunately, in the midst of all the strategizing, politicians have apparently forgotten that a little respect goes a long way.
The latest egregious violation comes from Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
When this inflammatory picture surfaced earlier today, I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt. I even suggested it might have been a camera trick like that Mayweather photo that made it seem like he was biting/kissing Ortiz’ nose.
Then the video of her explaining how she felt ‘threatened’ by President Obama surfaced and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
It must be wonderful to live such a privileged life that you feel comfortable pointing your finger in the face of the leader of the free world. I wouldn’t put my finger in my mother’s face, or a professor’s face, or any stranger’s face, for fear of losing said appendage. Actually, I wouldn’t even put my finger in a child’s face, because I was taught from a young age that it is a disrespectful thing to do. Yet she saw fit to point in the face of a man who has his own elite security detail and snipers at his beck and call. Perhaps we should collectively applaud her unabashed bravery. If that’s not gumption, what is?
Bear in mind that the illustrious Governor Brewer can list among her achievements signing the bill that limits ethnic studies classes in Arizona’s public schools, and the infamous Arizona SB 1070 immigration bill that has me debating whether I should keep my government documents on me at all times just in case.
Meanwhile, back a yard (that would be Jamaica, for the unfamiliar), former Prime Minister and current leader of the opposition Andrew Holness released this gem of a tweet :
The facebook post that is linked in the tweet refers to the Prime Minister as merely the PNP party leader, rather than Prime Minister. In all fairness, the social media posts were likely made by his social media director (Dear God, I hope he has one). But one would think that after the barrage of complaints he received about his tweets in previous months, he/they would have learned their lesson. When his party was soundly defeated last month, many political pundits and average Joes speculated that the loss was at least partially due the party ads that so grossly attacked Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller who is perceived as being more similar to the average Jamaican than he is. Yet his social media accounts do not suggest that the lesson has been learned. Whether you agree with her politics or not, as a political official, you should refer to her by her title, or at the very least, her surname. And why the constant use of all caps? Don’t they know that’s akin to shouting?
As someone who follows politics closely, and have several family members involved in politics, I would hope that we can move past the divisive ad hominem attacks, and focus on what is best for our nation.
I apply the same train of thought to US politics. No matter how much one may disagree with President Obama, if you are a public figure/elected official addressing him, he is President Obama to you. Not Mr. Obama, Obama, Barack, or the food stamp president. If you must refer to him derisively, do so when you’re not on your public platform. Give respect where it’s due. It’s just the minimum. Word to Lauryn Hill.
p.s. The Republican debate is on at 8pm EST tonight, January 26. CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer will be moderating, and the audience will not be silenced as it was for Monday’s NBC debate. You should be able to watch live here: http://live.cnn.com/ Grab your popcorn!