When the President of the United States is addressing the joint session of Congress during his State of the Union message, you listen politely. Whether you agree with him about his plans for the future of our country “to finish the job” (perhaps this will be his campaign slogan when he runs again?), he deserves respect as the leader of our country, “folks.”
Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican, agrees. On February 12th, he told George Stephanopoulis on ABC’s “This Week,” that it was a mistake for Marjorie Taylor Greene, Republican U.S. House of Representatives, to stand up and call Biden a “liar.” A far-right conspiracy theorist herself, she contradicted the President when he said some in the GOP wanted to “sunset” Medicare and Social Security.” This confrontation came during the half way point of Biden’s seventy-two minute address in the House of Representatives on February 7th. Another Republican jeered “Secure the Border!”
Republican Florida Governor at one time did refer to the shelf life of Medicare and Social Security. but it was later rejected by almost the entire rest of the Republican party. Since the State of the Union Message on February 7th, Senator Scott announced a new bill on Friday, February 10th to increase funding for Social Security and institute a higher standard for making cuts to the entitlement programs. Scott announced new legislation, Protect Our Seniors Act, “that in his words, safeguard the benefits of these critical entitlements.
President Biden handled Greene’s outburst with aplomb and humor. It looked as if he was veering from his televised script. Who knows maybe he was briefed before his address that there was a possibility that Republicans might heckle him and he should do…..? President Biden didn’t match Greene’s anger with anger, but instead in a calm voice, said, “I enjoy conversion.” The 2.2 million, mostly “older” television viewers witnessed the President’s civility.
I don’t why but watching the circus of jeers reminded me of Nikita Khruschev’s address at the U.N. General Assembly in October 1960 at which he pounded his shoe on his delegate’s desk because Khruschev objected to a speech critical of his Russian nation. Khruschev was the first Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 64. He led the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War.
Or I remember Yasser Arafat, former President of the State of Palestine, who was opposed to the 1948 creation of the state of Israel. Following Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza in 1967, he became the leader of the Palestine Liberation organization, an umbrella organization for Palestinian guerilla groups. Arafat, who won a Nobel Peace Prize with Rabin and Peres in 1994, was asked to take his gun out of his holster before he addressed the United Nations on Nov. 13, 1974, with his “Gun and Olive Branch” speech.
Compared to Khruschev and Arafat’s volatility, President Biden behaved like a gentleman. Too bad his adversaries didn’t.
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