November 22nd, 2011
07:55 PM ET

Letters to the President #1037: 'Hecklers'

Reporter's Note: The president had to stop speaking today during a public appearance because a crowd of hecklers took over the room briefly.

Dear Mr. President,

I have to admit I was not happy with those protestors shouting you down during your speech today. I fully respect their right to voice their opinions. I have nothing against their cause. But I think the world gets pretty darn unworkable fast when any group decides that it will simply not allow someone else to talk.

Yelling over someone else’s voice, whether in a public or private setting, I’ve always thought does nothing to prove your point. To the contrary, it implies weakness. It suggests that your ideas are so ill-formed, so fragile that they can not withstand the logic of even hearing someone else’s position.

It reminds me of arguments in grade school when “right” was decided by who was the loudest.

But on top of that, one of the hallmarks of our country always has been, and should be, a certain respect for the presidency which supersedes what any of us may feel about any person who happens to be filling the position. We violate this national sense of decorum when we yell at our top elected official as if he is a Little League Umpire. What’s more, I feel as if we demean ourselves. We make our whole country seem smaller when we resort to the kind of tactics I expect more from the Taiwanese parliament.

People don’t have to agree with the president. But it seems we ought to respect him nonetheless.

Anyway, it just struck me as bad form when they started making all that noise, and I thought you handled it as well as it could be handled.

Hope your week is going well.


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Filed under: Letters to the President • Opinion • President Barack Obama • T1 • Tom Foreman
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