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A lesson in civility

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Professor Locs, aka Charles Easley, is an educator who explores race, class, gender, sexuality, media and popular culture with humor and insight. His column is published here each Wednesday. Opinions expressed are solely his own. Click here to read his blog.

I knew once we celebrated the historical event of electing our first African American president, the honeymoon period would soon be over.

Since President Obama has taken office, we have seen escalating incidents of disrespectful behavior toward him and his family.

President Obama has been called a liar in a televised speech, depicted as a slain chimp and has even been compared to Hitler. The recent actions of Governor Jan Brewer seem to be the latest in an increasing culture of uncivilized behavior.

If you have not seen or heard of this exchange let me get you up to speed.

According to the news website The Grio, the governor had a heated exchange with the president at the airport during a recent visit to Arizona. The passionate exchange was over historical beef concerning an immigration law she supported but President Obama opposed. She showed up at the airport to give him a letter, inviting him to lunch and to tour the Arizona-Mexican border — a kind of power lunch and tour to make sure all the undesirable free labor is kept at bay. OK, sounds civil enough so far, right?

Well, according to a White House official, the president referenced an earlier meeting between the two when he said, “he'd be glad to meet with her again, but did note that after their last meeting, a cordial discussion in the Oval Office, the governor inaccurately described the meeting in her book."

This is when Ms. Thing lost her mind and started the infamous finger wagging seen across the world, which immediately went viral. Was she really pissed off or posturing for free publicity for her book?

Brewer shared with reporters that President Obama “was a little disturbed about my book." She then goes on to add — and this is when I personally just lose it —“I felt a little bit threatened, if you will, in the attitude that he had, because I was there to welcome him."

Did she really say “threatened”? Is she really going to play that card? You are waving your hand in the face of the most powerful man in the free world and you feel threatened?!

Does she realize that if that happened to some other world leaders, she could have been arrested … or worse?

I personally have had more aggressive action taken by Walmart security when my bags have set off the exit alarms and that was just due to a Patti LaBelle CD; this woman was wagging her finger in the face of the president.

And I would like to know what exactly was so threatening about President Obama? Could it have been the doo rag he was sporting or maybe it was the “No Justice No Peace” T-Shirt he was wearing — or possibly even it was the loud aggressive beats of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” being blasted from the sub-woofers of Air Force One?

The bottom line is that there is an evolving culture of disrespect as it relates to our president. I was not a fan of George Bush, but I still had respect for his position. When did it become vogue to not show the president and his office the same common courtesy you would a stranger on the street?

We should expect more from our elected officials and authority figures. They set the tone for the rest of society. Unfortunately the present tone is bad enough to shake a stick at or if you are so inclined a pointed finger.

What are your thoughts?



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September 18, 2014
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