We've made no secret of our displeasure with the past eight years of George Bush. His Presidency has been shrouded in one controversy after another, and he has lead us into an extremely unpopular war. When you factor in the very harsh realities of the crashing economy, many believe that the legacy of W will be as one of the least popular Presidents in history.
Despite our belief that Bush has made some questionable decisions during his tenure, we've never disrespected the President. And although many have, the glory of our country is that we, the people, have been given that right by our founding fathers. We can say virtually anything we like about our leader, with the exception of threatening him, and not fear repercussions. This freedom is not universal. In many countries, you will be imprisoned or put to death if you speak against the leadership.
That freedom to question their leadership has recently been given to Iraq. Five years ago, should you have had the courage to question the leadership of Saddam Hussein, you would find yourself dead. No judge, no jury of your peers and no three hots and a cot.
With this freedom comes new found courage. The courage to question the decisions of your leaders, and apparently, the courage to be disrespectful to foreign leaders. Unfortunately, the supposed great people of this country find humor in that.
As most of us have seen, George Bush recently had two shoes thrown at him while conducting a press event with the President of Iraq. In their country, show throwing is a sign of great disrespect to the target. Bush, obviously stunned, did his best to maintain his composure while adding a little levity to the situation.
In our country, our citizens laughed heartily at the spectacle. Someone went as far as to create a flash Internet game where the participant can simulate tossing shoes at Bush. A young lady in my office sent me a link to the game, which apparently has become quite popular. She had added the commentary of "this is hilarious". Really? A game that is created solely on the basis of our President being humiliated and disrespected on the worldwide stage is hilarious?
I'm not sure if this is a sign of changing times, but if it is, it's a change for the tragic. If this is the mentality of the people of this country, it doesn't matter who is in the White House.
The shoe-throwing incident was not a sign of disrespect against Bush. It was a sign of disrespect against our country. If you think it was funny, you're an idiot.
When Iran held our hostages in 1979, there was no disrespecting our country. Not from from abroad and not from within. Can we return to the point where we feel good enough about ourselves to not find humor in our leader being disrespected on the world stage? I certainly hope so, but we've got a long, long way to go.