There are many initiatives and movements today protesting bullying, especially in our schools. A question that needs to be asked is, where does our youth get this behavior? Maybe it is because our leaders are poor examples of team players and good sportsmanship. We are teaching politics that are toxic and corrupt. Our politics today are the worst example of how a democracy handles disagreements. But maybe Michelle Obama has given us all a lesson in handling rudeness, just do not accept it, stop it, and move on.
While Mrs. Obama was speaking at a fundraiser on Tuesday, a heckler standing within a few steps from her began shouting negative remarks about the president. Mrs. Obama acknowledged that she does not tolerate this behavior well. She made no attempts to speak over the heckler or to engage the rude behavior.
First Lady Obama, stopped her speech, walked over to the protestor, and said, “Listen to me or you can take the mike, but I’m leaving.” And then, to the rest of the crowd, “You all decide. You have one choice.”
The crowd burst with cheers and requested Mrs. Obama to stay. The protestor was described as a lesbian pushing for broadened federal protections for homosexuals in the workplace. She was removed from the building.
Some headlines and news stories have questioned Mrs. Obama’s response, but when has correcting inappropriate behavior become unacceptable? Did her boldness offend someone? She did something few politicians, male or female, have been able to do and that is take control of the situation and quiet the heckler.
Mrs. Obama’s reaction to the heckler, no doubt, surprised many. On Tuesday, she stepped outside of the box we so neatly placed her in and addressed an important issue. If we as a nation are going to win the war on bullying and harassment, we must demand our leaders be examples. The example that politicians exemplify before the youth of this nation is unacceptable. How many politicians have boldly, yet, respectfully handled a heckler like she did?
Usually the politicians exemplify the very behavior that we are fighting in our schools, bullying. Such disruptive behavior should not be tolerated on any level. Have we as a nation become immune to this behavior because of the destructive campaign rhetoric that we have all come to accept as normal? How many people were offended by how destructive the campaigns were on last year? This is actually what we are teaching our children as normal.
Our leaders need to hear and listen to our voices on issues, but we must all learn that decency and order will get a better reception.
Mother’s everywhere should applaud Michelle Obama. She taught an excellent lesson in handling rudeness and bullying, just do not accept it, boldly address it and move on.