Throughout the course of our lives, as we wend our way through the meaningless and the meaningful, we will all have the chance to handle our share of downright stupid events that unfold before us. In other words, we can't avoid all the dumb things in life, but it's how we handle them that tells a lot about us.
For instance, when you're in a group at a gathering and some boor starts in with his racial or ethnic jokes, not knowing (or caring about) anyone's race or ethnicity, your first reaction might be to wonder just what to say, as you examine the toe of your shoes or the condition of your watchband in embarrassment. Would that we would all have the fortitude to say, "That sort of remark is inappropriate, unappreciated and, to be frank, rather ignorant on your part, and I for one would appreciate it if you would keep your hateful comments to yourself, Rush."
I bring this up because there is, correctly, a controversy over remarks made at a town hall meeting down in Georgia where some wizened, but apparently unwisened, citizen asked the shocking question: "Who's going to shoot Obama?" The representative holding the meeting was this fellow Paul Broun, a medical doctor who is currently the congressperson from Georgia's 10th District. Now, when I tell you that one week after the president won his historic election in 2008, this Broun claimed that Mr Obama's plans for a civilian national service corps meant that Obama wanted to set up a Marxist dictatorship, you'll get the idea of where he is coming from.
Broun said, "That's exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it's exactly what the Soviet Union did. When he's proposing to have a national security force that's answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he's showing me signs of being Marxist."
What Mr Obama said was, "We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we've set. We've got to have a civilian national security force that's just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded." He was talking about a civilian reserve corps intended to rebuild infrastructure in the post-Iraqi war era. Who had the idea first? Good old George W Bush, who set up a Civilian Response Corps in 2006 after a bipartisan Congressional vote.
Of course, once the error of his thinking was pointed out, did Mr Dr Rep Broun (R., GA) say, "Consarn it, I made a dad-blamed mistake"? He did not. In what's become the typical modern non-apologetic apology, he said, "I regret putting it that way," and "I apologize to anyone who has taken offense at that."
Exercising both his free-speech rights and his flapping jaw, Broun went on to say that Obama "is extremely liberal" and "has promoted a lot of socialistic ideas, and it just makes me concerned."
So, when Junior Samples, Jr, stood up and asked who was going to step up and shoot the president, did Broun:
a) laugh along with the crowd
b) say nothing, but turn red
c) stand up like a man as John McCain did during the 2008 campaign when an old lady stood before him and said she did not trust candidate Obama because he was an "Arab." McCain did not laugh, and more important, he did not give tacit approval to the woman's comments . He took the hand mic from her, relieving her of any further chance to foul the conversational air, and told her that Sen. Obama was "a decent family man [and] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. ... He's not [an Arab]." Even McCain, who spent years in a Viet Cong prison, was saddened that a fellow American could speak so stupidly.
What Broun did was, he laughed, according to reports, and his press secretary, Jessica Morris, said, "Obviously, the question was inappropriate, so Congressman Broun moved on."
The next day, still moving on, he put out a statement that said," I was stunned by the question and chose not to dignify it with a response; therefore, at that moment I moved on to the next person with a question."
So, mark yourself 'correct' if you said 'a,' but join me in wishing it were otherwise. You'd like to think that a man with all that book-learnin' had acquired enough backbone to tell people they were wrong.
Like we should all do to him.