With that said, I want to be clear that President Bush wasn’t disrespecting the military, either, when he returned a salute with a dog in his hands. Ideally, the President would always return the salute crisply and properly when they exit Marine One or Air For One, but we need to remember that Presidents are people. They make mistakes. They have jobs that are 24/7, and in the public eye every second of that time. They make mistakes.
As John Steinbeck wrote in America and Americans:
"The President must be greater than anyone else, but not better than anyone else. We subject him and his family to close and constant scrutiny and denounce them for things that we ourselves do every day. A Presidential slip of the tongue, a slight error in judgment — social, political, or ethical — can raise a storm of protest. We give the President more work than a man can do, more responsibility than a man should take, more pressure than a man can bear. We abuse him often and rarely praise him. We wear him out, use him up, eat him up. And with all this, Americans have a love for the President that goes beyond loyalty or party nationality; he is ours, and we exercise the right to destroy him."
Steinbeck wrote that in 1966, and it is even more true today.
First things first, why are you yelling at me?
Secondly, I said the other day that the President should have been more careful and made a mistake by giving a half-assed salute as he was exiting Marine One. But he’s not the first President to make such a gaffe, he won’t be the last President to do so, and nobody died because President Obama returned a salute with a latte in his hand. I think people tend to forget that while using a helicopter would probably be an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of us, it’s literally the President’s equivalent to public transportation. Yes, he should have returned the salute in a more proper manner, but I’ve forgotten to say “Thank you” to bus drivers on several occasions when getting off at my stop and I had far less pressing concerns than the President. Getting on and off of Marine One and Air Force One is as common to the President of the United States as getting in-and-out of your car, or boarding the train on your way to work. It gets comfortable and commonplace, and your mind wanders because it’s automatic.
Thirdly, why would it make a difference if it was a Marine who President Obama “disrespected”? Soldiers make the same sacrifices, no matter what branch of the service they are in. I understand that many veterans have pride in their own branch of the service, but from the perspective of an outsider, they are all equal. And guess what? Just because someone was a Marine doesn’t mean they are any better than somebody that didn’t serve. There are honorable people in the Armed services (and I’m sure that the Marines who greet the President when he boards or exits his helicopter are fine soldiers), but there are also assholes in the Armed services, just as there are in real-life. When I lived in Austin, I worked nights as a bouncer and I recall a dude who was sexually harassing the female bartenders and shot girls but he got a free pass for a while from management because he was a “Marine”. I didn’t agree with such an entitlement and when I quickly decided that his free pass had expired, he took a swing at me. I didn’t allow him a free pass for that. He might have been a Marine and I might have appreciated his service, but it wasn’t an excuse to grab the asses of bartenders and be a dick, so I knocked his teeth out just as if he hadn’t served in the military. And I’d have done the same thing if he was in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, French Foreign Legion, Salvation Army, whatever. The point is that people are people — the President should have saluted properly, but it doesn’t somehow make it worse because it happened with a Marine. Barack Obama doesn’t secretly have an issue with Marines in general; that’s just the branch of the military in charge of operating the President’s helicopter transport, so that’s why Marines are the soldiers saluting him at the bottom of the steps.
Finally, the most unbelievable thing about this whole message is that you’re obviously outraged about somebody “disrespecting” the military, yet you angrily referred to the Commander-in-Chief of the entire United States military as a “piece of crap”. The President didn’t set out to disrespect the military — he returned a salute with a cup of coffee in his hand, and that half-assed effort was blown out of proportion. He should have been better, but it was a mistake, not disrespect. But being outraged by the situation and then using language of your own that is clearly disrespectful of the President of the United States — again, the Commander-in-Chief of the United States military that you’re so protective of — makes you either hypocritical or ignorant. Neither of those things are excusable, but at least people can overcome ignorance.
Abigail Adams would have excelled at anything anybody would have allowed her to do. And she would have fought even harder for it had she not sacrificed so much to support John Adams.
Yeah, well, Sacramento did have the first American team in the Canadian Football League, but I doubt that we can also become the first U.S. team to cross the Atlantic Ocean and play in top-tier European leagues.
The story in the documentary could be true (I haven’t seen the one you’re referring to), but I’ve seen photos from FDR’s funeral and when FDR was lying in state in the White House where the military honor guard was facing in his casket. So, I don’t know if Jacqueline Kennedy asked for the honor guard to face towards the casket at a specific moment in the funeral services or while President Kennedy was lying in state, but like I said, it definitely wasn’t the first instance in which a military honor guard faced towards the casket of an individual. I’ll have to read up on military honor guard customs to find out more. It makes sense that an honor guard would face away from royalty, but not a President.
Whatever age it is, that’s when I’m checking out.
Also, someone’s going to have to let me know.
That’s a very tough one, but I’m going to have to go with Richard Nixon.
It’s an important tradition and a visible measure of respect to our soldiers from the Commander-in-Chief. Unlike the Commonwealth nations or other countries, our CINC never wears a military uniform while in office, but the President should still return the salute.
I do think that President Obama made a bad move and should have been a bit more careful and respectful, but as The Daily Show brilliantly demonstrated tonight, Bush 43 made the same mistake during his Presidency (his half-assed salute was due to holding his dog rather than coffee, but still…). It didn’t look great, but Presidential appreciation for our military isn’t going to fall apart because of a shitty salute.
Thank you…I’ll do my best!
Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Disney World in Orlando, and that’s a bummer because I’d love to check out the Hall of Presidents. I’ve been to Disneyland in Anaheim twice, but I was pretty young and don’t really remember whether I saw the Lincoln deal. I really need to make a road trip down to SoCal and check out the Lincoln event.