The ugly side of the inauguration
- From: jose el fontanero <josefsoplar@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2009 06:52:54 -0800 (PST)
The ugly side of the inauguration
Obamamania's mean streak
Ironic that on Inauguration Day, when President Barack Obama told
Americans it was time to take personal responsibility and "grow up" as
a country, some of his supporters behaved like spoiled children in
booing George W. Bush.
And, sadly, neither Obama nor any leader in the public spotlight that
day seized the moment to admonish the boorish behavior.
It would have been nice had Obama had the presence of mind in his
inaugural speech to not only allude to scripture in saying it's time
to put away "childish things" but to also have told the boo-birds that
their behavior was inappropriate and the embodiment of those "childish
He might have said: "Isn't it enough to be just happy for me? When you
boo the former president, you fail to understand what this solemn
event is all about -- the peaceful transition of power. This is not a
football game. Nor is it a Third World bloodless coup. This is
American democracy at work. If you can't respect that, then leave.
But no one mustered the courage to say that. While I thought Obama's
speech was otherwise thought-provoking and worthy, he missed an
opportunity to call out these boors and chastise their behavior. By
not doing so, I am afraid that Obama essentially condoned this kind of
mob intolerance. There is already a hateful mean streak among some
Obamamaniacs. Left unchecked, it can fester into something quite un-
American and un-democratic.
In case you missed it, when President George W. Bush was announced to
the crowd, some booed loudly, shocking even the commentators on the
official Obama network, MSNBC. One section of onlookers sang, "Nah nah
nah nah, hey hey hey, goodbye." And, finally, as Bush left the White
House, one deep thinker took the opportunity to give the "one-finger
salute," thus saying more about himself than anything else.
This from a movement that fancies itself all about peace, love and
Now look, it would be a mistake to paint all Democrats and Obama
supporters with the actions of these few on Inauguration Day. And,
according to news reports, some in the crowd tried hard to shush the
boo-birds. That is a hopeful sign.
But let's also not ignore the obvious. There is a growing faction of
the American left that seeks revenge more than righteousness.
Intolerant of dissenting views, this faction thinks as comedian
Janeane Garofalo does that some members of the opposing political
party should be "jailed." Terrorist acts (such as mailing envelopes of
white power to Mormon temples because the gay marriage vote in
California went the church's way) are seen by this faction as
understandable and acts of legitimate political expression.
There is also an ugly racial component to it. We first saw it with
Obama's pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who said, among other
things, that white America had deliberately inflicted black Africa
When the Rev. Wright first hit the national stage, we hardly knew what
to make of his irrational and separatist statements. Consequently, we
pretty much ignored the substance of Wright's racially divisive
rhetoric and focused on it as a day-to-day political story. It made us
more comfortable, I think.
But in light of the things we saw at the inauguration, it may be time
to revisit the dangers of intolerance and hate -- no matter the color
of the person who makes them -- and nip this ugly mean streak in the
As our president said, it is time to grow up.
Sherman Frederick (sfrederick@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx) is publisher of the
Review-Journal and president of Stephens Media.
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