Classless

Some commenters on Braves Journal have called the booing of WPE last night “classless”. I agree. And I’m all for it.

Look at the word itself, rather than its connotation. It means “lack of class”. And what is “class”? The meaning of “politeness, breeding” is secondary, but telling. Fundamentally, class is an organizing principle of society that sorts people by birth, upon their birth, into their designated place in society. You’re an aristocrat, or you’re a peasant. The Bush Administration is built, basically, on hereditary privilege.

The creeping royalism that has come to pervade the office of the president over the past decades is disturbing. The President of the United States is not a king; he is not entitled to sovereign treatment. He is an elected official subject to the laws of the United States and answerable to the people of the United States.

I am a Democrat. And I am a democrat. What the latter means, and the former should mean, is that nobody is better than anyone else because of who their parents are, and nobody is better than anyone else because of their office. I respect people for what they do, not for what their name is or what their job description is. George Bush is a bad man and is terrible at his job. He has failed at literally every job he has ever held. If he wasn’t the son of the American aristocracy, he would be working at Wal-Mart, if he was lucky.

But that, too, is secondary. What is primary is the unbelievable amount of harm that he has done the United States of America and the world. He’s the greatest catastrophe the world has seen since the end of World War II. If you can’t boo that, what can you boo?

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47 responses to “Classless

  1. Tell us how you really feel, don’t hold back. lol

  2. amen mac,,,,,i think some folks were offended that they booed the pres at a ballgame, almost like booing the nation anthem, but where else do they get a chance to tell his majesty how they feel? …….. its not like they see him out at the mall or in the local pub .its just a shame mr. cheney wasnt there to soak up his fair share of the scorn………..and the morgan/miller ass-kissing was shameful. let the boos continue whereever he dares to show his face.

  3. Well put. You are a great American.

  4. walt moffett

    Well, there’s always the traditional Maori greeting Her Majesty recieved in New Zealand…

  5. I much rather prefer to stick to the Braves site, but something came to mind that might be worthwhile.

    In the particular setting, I probably would have preferred that people sat on their hands. But it did get me to thinking about what Dante would have done (what can I say?… I’m working on a presentation).

    In the Divine Comedy, Dante inveighs harshly against Pope Boniface VIII because he respects the office (and because he felt Boniface had disgraced it extensively).

    Just want to point out that it’s curious that one could support or deride the notion of booing based on the same notion of respect.

  6. Playing by the rules…
    That wasn’t booing at the Nationals new park; it was the moans of 4000 war dead from Iraq.

    One baseball’s most famous anecdotes is about about a reporter asking Babe Ruth how he justified making a higher salary than the President.
    “I had a better year,” Babe said.

    Better yet, a baseball analogy was made in 1988 about candidate George H.W. Bush by Texan Jim Higtower, “George was born on third base and thinks he had a triple.”
    But it’s been quoted so often about about George W. that I’d forgot it was said about his dad!

  7. I think most people who would disagree with you on this or anything else you post here are probably leery of responding, given the vastly different starting point from which your views and theirs (ours) arise and the seeming hopelessness of ever having a reasonable discussion because of that, but I thought I’d try to add a somewhat different perspective, anyway.

    Your points are all well taken, Mac. I can understand from whence the urge to boo comes.

    Of course, implicit in your rant is that booing is acceptable in the first place. You know, the idea that, if you can boo a ballplayer or a musician, you can boo the President. I would say don’t boo anyone, anywhere, ever. I’m sure very few of your readers agree, but I’m equally sure that such decorum or whatever you want to call it—simple kindness, maybe—is commanded by the One whose commandments are to be followed. It’s not really about social class at all, at least not for me, although I (misleadingly) used it as shorthand earlier. It’s about being a decent, gracious human being, even if the one with whom you’re confronted hasn’t done the same for you.

    (And yeah, I do believe that government officials are entitled to a special kind of respect/grace/decorum/politeness.)

  8. That’s a reasonable point, Stu, though I seriously disagree with special privileges for anyone. At most, you allow for the needed responsibilities of the office.

    Of course, this sort of thing can get out of hand.

  9. …I seriously disagree with special privileges for anyone.

    It’s a point I wrestle with internally. A lot. I believe that I’m supposed to submit to the authority of the government under which I’m placed, which I generally take to mean things like, “Don’t boo the President,” but what to do when that government (or govern-or) acts in ways that go against my fundamental beliefs about how people should be treated? Does “submission” allow for public dissent? Or am I supposed to even be involved in the political sphere in the first place? So many questions, so few clear answers. I keep on tryin’, though.

  10. To address a comment just posted on Braves Journal… Morgan is a far better commentator than Bush is a President. Chew on that.

  11. I think you can boo whoever the hell you want. This is America and this quack Bush has thrown us in a fire that our children’s children will still be digging us out. I have no respect for this guy and thin that him and Chenny both need to be in prison.
    I think to boo him was fine, hell I wish the whole stadium would have rioted and not let him throw out the first pitch.

    When his dad and mom came to Chattanooga to throw out the first pitch in the Lookouts new park a few years ago, we heckled him. In hindsight, I wish I hadn’t, because the Marines are libel to show up at my door any day now…

  12. I’ve rarely if ever booed anyone in my life. But, if I were there, I would have booed Bush loudly and lustily. Because if I hadn’t, and the folks who agreed with me hadn’t, the word would have gone out: “President Bush received a much warmer than expected reception in Washington, D.C.” And, as this site’s owner eloquently points out, Bush (and Cheney) have earned the reception that would accompany the outbreak of an incurable global pandemic.

  13. Thank you for the reference to the Nika Riots! I’d have cited France in the last decade of the 18th century.
    Do you recall Bush throwing out the first pitch at the first Mets game after 9-11? I recall commentators remarking on his virility. If we as a society place value in sporting events out of proportion to their actual worth, then where better than to say, “Don’t let the door hit you…”?

  14. Did you see the President throw out the first pitch last night?
    No, I didn’t. Was it a ball or a strike?
    Well, most observers thought it was a ball, but the administration says that we are not in a postion to properly evaluate the pitch and is confident that the verdict of history will view it as a strike.

  15. Doesn’t matter who the man is out there, that was the President of the United States throwing out the first pitch of the (North American) season at the first game at a new ball park. It’s a ceremonial moment, sure, but it’s not about glorifying the President; it’s about glorifying the new stadium, the new season, and indeed the sport of baseball as a whole.

    So that’s why I didn’t like the booing. I thought it was a special moment, and I’m disappointed that the DC fans allowed it to be brought down by politics.

    I’m fine with booing in general, but even if you don’t have respect for the Office of the President, at least muster some for the game of baseball!

  16. Maybe baseball should have thought about that before having a man whom more than two-thirds of the country despises throw out the first pitch.

  17. I think they should have let Frank Robinson or “Uncle Bud” throw it out. Why not pick a fan to do it?

  18. I was going to say that they could have a DC native player throw out the first pitch, but the best player from the DC area was Maury Wills. Let’s just say… no.

  19. You place yourself above another when you boo them, so I’m not buying the ‘class’ argument.

    Plus, you show your ignorance of the history of this country. Unless John Quincy Adams, Benjamin Harrison and FDR are in the last couple of decades (big list of the political families in the US – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._political_families) and those are just the Presidents, you could count JFK/RFK/Teddy of the Joe Kennedy tree as well. And I’m sure there are a lot more examples out there, those are just off the top of my head. So the Bushes, Gores, Bayhs, Clintons, etc are nothing new.

    We’ve always had political dynasties, probably always will since some view politics as their family business.

    But hey, if it makes you feel good to throw a tantrum and act like a petulant child, by all means, carry on.

  20. When I speak of “royalism” I am not talking about political dynasties. I am speaking of the treatment of the President as a monarch, of acting like he’s entitled to special honors. He’s just a guy with a high-profile job. This wasn’t the case as late as the Truman Administration; probably not until the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination. The initial idea of protecting the President, a worthy goal, has evolved into the Bubble, and to the claim of sovereign status. On a minor level, it’s the idea that “respect for the office” means not criticizing him to his fact. On a major level, it’s “It’s not illegal if the President does it”.

    I have no particular grief with dynastic politics when the dynasties don’t go around foisting the the family loser on us.

  21. Stu, I appreciate your theory of kindness. You are probably a very nice man. But I have a question for you, if Saddam Hussein or Adolf Hitler showed up to throw the first pitch, would you welcome them? No? Yeah, I didnt think so.
    I wouldnt just boo the man, I’d stadium dive to the field and slap him in the face. And I promise, I’m usually a very peaceful person.

  22. A buddy of mine watching the game with me last night said we shouldn’t boo the President because he comes to work every day and tries hard. To which my response was, this isn’t McDonalds or Subway, he’s the freaking President of the US and I have the right to expect the bar to be a little higher than that! To which we both laughed and drank another cold one. God Bless America, where you can boo your President, disagree with your buddies and drink a cold one, all at the same time.

  23. “A buddy of mine watching the game with me last night said we shouldn’t boo the President because he comes to work every day and tries hard.”

    Except, you know, for the month-long vacations.

  24. Ordinarily, I would not be for booing a president, but this particular president is so insulated from the public that any opportunity to express to him how bad things have become should be seized.

  25. I have more of a problem with ‘royalism’ when it comes to celebrities. I guess we’ll disagree with showing respect to a person being in the same ballpark (pun intended) as ‘it’s not illegal if the President does it.’ I think as leader of the nation, you can’t help but have some special privileges. I guess it doesn’t bother me as it does you. It seems almost personal to you, like President Bush killed your puppy or something – much like a lot of Republicans acted in the 90s, I still didn’t understand that either (though that’s nothing new either, thankfully we aren’t replaying the 1850s-1860s).

    I don’t think anyone has said that you can’t criticize the President, but there is a difference between ‘Bushitler’ and substantive criticism (not saying you do this, but it’s pretty pervasive of the online left). Is there a difference between the president being invited to throw out the first pitch and the president calling up the Nats and saying “you’re going to have me throw out the first pitch or else”?

    I’ll probably give up here since your last line “foisting the the family loser on us” is quite a slap in the face of our entire republic. He was elected, twice, receiving more votes than anyone in the history of our country in 2004.

    BTW, I heard (yesterday I think) that Senator McCain has eschewed much of his secret service protection. I’m sure that you’ll be voting for him 🙂

  26. Oh come on Mac “Except, you know, for the month-long vacations.”

    You’re not that stupid are you?

    You actually believe that the President of the US can’t be reached 24/7? That he doesn’t have available to him the best communications? These aren’t the days of horse and buggy (or more likely trains and telegraphs)

  27. The point being that he’s hardly working hard during those.

  28. Darin H:
    “I guess it doesn’t bother me as it does you. It seems almost personal to you, like President Bush killed your puppy or something”
    He didn’t kill his puppy, he killed over 4,000 soldiers and countless innocent Iraqi civilians. It should bother you, you should take it personal. Sorry if the “the online left” has a bit of a conscience.

  29. You are probably a very nice man.

    Probably not. At least not with nearly the frequency with which I’m called to be.

    But I have a question for you, if Saddam Hussein or Adolf Hitler showed up to throw the first pitch, would you welcome them? No? Yeah, I didnt think so.

    Do you find sarcasm and rudeness to be successful persuasive tactics, Samantha? Or are you less concerned with persuasion/reasonableness than you are with drawing what you mistakenly believe is some great philosophical analogy which will impress everyone and will show that guy who invokes God as the ultimate rule-maker what’s what? E-snootiness is no way to convince anyone.

    Anyway, leaving aside the ridiculous-and-probably-should-be-conversation-ending comparison between a bad president and two of the great unrepentant mass-murderers in the history of mankind, I think it’s important to note that one can opt not to boo without being guilty of “welcoming” the prospective boo-ee. Imagine the power of the statement that could have been made had the President been met with virtual silence—and without the nasty side effect of having all the messengers appear completely undignified, thereby bringing themselves down to the President’s perceived level.

    (This question also left aside: Why would I still follow baseball and pay for a ticket to its Opening Night if it chose to have men like Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein inaugurating its season?)

  30. Really? He’s held cabinet meetings there. He’s held a lot of summits with world leading at his ranch. He left for Europe today, I’m sure he can still conduct his duties from there as well. It’s not really a job you have to be in one place for with the technology we have.

  31. Samantha: “He didn’t kill his puppy, he killed over 4,000 soldiers and countless innocent Iraqi civilians. It should bother you, you should take it personal. Sorry if the “the online left” has a bit of a conscience.”

    He didn’t kill them anymore than FDR killed 400,000 US servicemen and women during WWII.

  32. Yep, there’s no difference between this fiasco and the Second World War.

  33. Wow, look at all these words being put in my mouth!

    See I can do sarcasm and non-sequiturs as well!

  34. You’re the one who made the equivalence.

  35. I made no such thing. You inferred it, I didn’t imply anymore than what I said.

  36. “He didn’t kill them anymore than FDR killed 400,000 US servicemen and women during WWII.”

    I fail to see how that could be characterized as anything but an equivalence.

  37. I didn’t equate the 2 wars. Here, let me expand for you, President George HW Bush did not kill any of our soldiers in the first Gulf War. Neither Kenndy, Johnson or Nixon killed our soldiers in Vietnam. Truman, Korea; FDR, WWII; Wilson, WWI; etc, etc.

  38. Stu, you make a good point. And I was not being sarcastic when I said you are probably a nice man. I do in fact appreciate the idea of respect and in your first post, I believe that your point was to respect humans. The purpose of booing Bush, for me at least, would be to express my obvious disapproval of the job he is doing. I too, dont like the idea of booing, but there are always, exceptions to every rule.
    As far as comparing Bush to Hitler and Saddam, you may find it ludicrous, but I do not. I have seen more disturbing photos of this war then many in this country. I used to work in the media and I was the image filter. I was trained to decide what images were too much for American media. Which btw, sucked. I dont believe in the way our media sensors us, but thats a whole nother discussion. My point is, that after seeing day after day, innocent kids heads blown in 2, I feel very opposed to Bush’s war, as do many people. I think Bush is a foolish, power hungry man. And I think lying to the people, and starting an illegal war for fiscal purposes is almost as despicable as it gets.

  39. And I was not being sarcastic when I said you are probably a nice man.

    I appreciate it, but I wasn’t being sarcastic, either, when I said I’m frequently not. I do sometimes try, though.

    I too, dont like the idea of booing, but there are always, exceptions to every rule.

    I agree that there are exceptions in practice, but normatively speaking, I don’t think there ought to be. I think there are fully good rules—one being the edict that we display grace and mercy—that deserve to be adhered to 100% of the time.

    As for your beliefs with respect to our President, I agree that he’s foolish, but I don’t believe that he is as intentionally deceitful and treacherous as you seem to believe him to be, though that foolishness has no doubt led to some awful decisions, including those related to whose opinions he trusts. He’s not a good president, but I don’t consider him to be evil, and I think it’s irresponsible to allow oneself to go so far overboard in condemning him as a man. Condemning him as a United States President is another matter altogether.

  40. What is primary is the unbelievable amount of harm that he has done the United States of America and the world. He’s the greatest catastrophe the world has seen since the end of World War II.

    Well, he’s certainly run this country nose first into the ground over the past seven and a half years. And what saddens me the most is that there are people who, given the opportunity, would gladly vote for him again.

  41. …there are people who, given the opportunity, would gladly vote for him again.

    Yeah, but not nearly enough to get him elected.

  42. Silence + Booze = BOO

    If he wasn’t at least part evil, he would not be in office in the first place. He would have let Gore have it, a person who might have helped the country in at least the fuel prices department.

    But he insisted on fighting it and doing 7 years of harm. Sounds intentional to me.

  43. yeah darin……..i’d probably boo saddam too………after all, hes killed damn near as many iraquis as bush.

  44. and by the way darin………. as a viet nam vet, i DO hold the bush/cheney mob personally responsible foe each and every death in iraq…………….. i never thought it would be possible, but this gang is more despical than nixons thugs.

  45. How often do Americans have a chance to boo George W. Bush when he can see/hear it? Almost never. When he came to Brown’s Ferry last summer they put the protesters off in a field down a gravel road and they could barely even see the motorcade. WPE had no idea they were even there, which was by intention.

    I would have bought a ticket just to get to boo him — long and loud.

  46. What do you want to bet Bush was wishing he could have everyone in the stands that booed flown to Gitmo and Waterboarded?

  47. they only asked bush to throw out the first pitch because marion barry was busy.

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