“You lie!” Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle were stunned when South Carolina Representative Joe Wilson interrupted President Barack Obama during his health care speech last week, but it was only the latest in a series of angry outbursts directed at the President. In light of accusations that President Obama is not an American citizen, rallies against his so-called “socialist” policies, and comparisons to the Hitler Youth Party over his education speech—we ask everyday Americans if we are seeing an abnormal level of disrespect toward the President?
By Cynthia Gordy
“Looking at the “tea party” rally in D.C. over the weekend, some of the people who attended are just against this President because of his color. They’re complaining about the deficit and how President Obama is spending more money, but they forget what was happening before under George W. Bush’s presidency. He spent a lot of money that created the deficit in the first place, but all these opinions weren’t being expressed then.”—Stephane Mbouroukounda, 31
“Personally, I think people are going overboard, especially since a lot of criticism is based on lies. On the other hand, when George Bush was in office people were disrespectful to him too. As President of the United States you have to accept public scrutiny and criticism, whether we like it or not. But he seems to be doing a great job of handling it.”—Kathryn Wilson, 24
“People are more vocal about expressing it like at town halls and clearly even some members of Congress. I think it’s because he has imposed so much change and reform that it may have caused fatigue among citizens. Before anything else changes, these people feel like they should say something about it.”—Grace Maupin, 21
“I do think there’s more disrespect. There have been a lot of negative things in the media reported about him. In the past, no matter what President Bush did, there wasn’t this much media coverage on the negativity surrounding his policies. I honestly think it’s because of the President’s race. None of the previous 43 presidents have been through this much scrutiny.”—Craig Taffe, 23
“Yes, there’s been more negativity than usual. Even during the campaign, before Obama became President, there was a lot of anger directed at him about his birth certificate. The outburst during the joint session of Congress, when he was called a liar, displayed a level of disrespect that I don’t think has been shown toward any other President.”—Gwen Jones, 50
“There’s definitely been a lot of disrespect. A pastor recently made a comment that he’s praying for Obama’s death. That’s totally insane, and it just goes to show how much hatred is coming out toward him. I think it’s racially driven because he’s the first Black President.”—Chantez Bailey, 27
“People don’t disrespect Obama as much as they disrespected Bush. They were always protesting the war, and Obama’s not going to stop the war. Eventually people are going to get frustrated with him too, and they’re going to treat him just the same way they did Bush.”—Carlos Trinidad, 40
“Without a doubt the President is being disrespected. A lot of the negativity is definitely race-related, and they’re doing it because they feel that they can get away with it. They just have very little respect for him. "—Karen Wilks, 40
“There is a higher level of disrespect because he’s Black. I don’t recall members of Congress ever heckling any other President. Saying that they disagree with his policies is just a cover for their race issues.”—Ingrid Harrell, 40
Has the President been disrespected or is this just part of being the leader of the free world? Tell us what you think.