June 5 2013
Headline of the Day: Flotus Interruptus
Headline of the Day:
First off, let me say that I certainly don’t approve of the woman who heckled First Lady Michelle Obama at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser held at the house of a lesbian couple. The Daily Caller reported it this way:
GetEQUAL activist Ellen Sturtz interrupted the first lady Tuesday night to call for the Obama administration to sign an Executive Order that would prohibit federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Actually, Ms. Sturtz could have—and should have—stayed silent a bit longer—like at least until the first lady of the United States had finished her talk. Ms. Sturtz says it was an impromptu outburst, but I would advise more self-control in the future.
Nor, however, is the first lady to be praised for her haughty response to Sturtz’s outburst:
“’One of the things I don’t do well is this,’ Obama responded to approval from the audience. The pool reported that Obama left the lectern toward the protestor saying that they could ‘listen to me or you can take the mic, but I’m leaving. You all decide. You have one choice.’”
“I’m leaving” is hardly the correct response from a first lady, much less one who is speaking to help raise money for her party. One can imagine a more gracious and less arrogant response. One can also imagine that, as somebody who lives in a house provided by the taxpayers, the first lady might feel more obligated to listen to a disgruntled one, even if it is a singularly rude one (after all, Sturtz was in no way threatening the first lady—she didn’t toss a shoe or anything like that).
President Obama is another member of the family who can be quite grand when interrupted. The Potus Interruptus (okay, I’m trying) incident that took place when Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin heckled him several times during an address provoked this from President Obama:
“Part of free speech is you being able to speak, but also you listening and me being able to speak,” Obama said, adding: “I’m willing to cut the young lady who interrupted me some slack, because it’s worth being passionate about. Is this who we are? Is that something our founders foresaw?”
Free speech—just for the record—doesn’t oblige us to listen to President Obama, or anyone for that matter. But at least he didn’t threaten to walk out.
It is disappointing that the leading lady of a democracy isn’t a little more tolerant of people who treat her like a politician’s wife rather than a queen.