I am sure most people have seen the YouTube video of Governor Christie belittling a an Ex-Navy Seal and current law student then having him removed from a town hall. William Brown, the Ex-Navy Seal, was there to address Governor Christie on the merger of two of New Jerseys colleges. Governor Christie later said he was right to call Mr. Brown and idiot and that he had let him go on about three minutes and he needed to shut up. There was a “shouting match” between the two which is why the Governor said he was removed. Well two things , first it takes two people to have a shouting match. Secondly, I think an Ex-Navy Seal has earned the right to be heard on something he cares about for at least three minutes. Mr Brown later said “The one thing the Governor lacks is common courtesy,”. I have seen meetings where the crowd does not act with much civility but yelling back at them then throwing them out without addressing the real concern is not the solution. On the other side when citizens start yelling people usually stop listening.
I think this is becoming more and more evident in all areas of our government. I know people go in upset about issues but they should address an elected official with respect because when you do so you are disrespecting not only their office but the citizens who elected them there in the first place. Recently Congressman Scott Rigel came to a town hall in Hampton at Fort Monroe. Now this is unusual in the first place because Hampton is a very small percentage of this voting constituency. However, he dragged himself through the tunnel during rush hour to come over here to talk to a small percentage of people that he represents. One of the things he said was “you should address the President as President Obama not Obama It’s a matter of respect for office even if you disagree with person.” He went on to say ” You should talk with civility . Talk to people like your mother taught you.”
I watched during his town hall and Congressman Rigel did just that. When people asked him questions he did not agree with he would restate their question, so all could hear, then say why to him his opinion differed. He spoke very cordially to people and addressed them with respect. In turn the people he addressed did the same thing . So I agree with the statement that an office automatically earns respect and that should always be honored. My hope would be that the elected officials try to live up to that same standard. When elected officials act as Governor Christie did toward the Ex-Navy Seal they tarnish not only their image but the image of the office. His constituency deserves better than that.