Friday, June 13, 2008

Barack Obama and Free Speech

Are candidates' wives off-limits in a political campaign? Well, it depends. Candidates' wives (or husbands, as the case may be) are usually respected so long as they stay in the background, support their spouse, and don't rock the boat. Here, Jackie Kennedy serves as a good model. This typically applies to candidates' children as well.

But what if a spouse starts to sound off on controversial topics and tries to dabble in political musings? It's one thing to stand by the man no matter what but it's something entirely different when the spouse questions the integrity and character of the nation itself.

The blog is of course talking about Mrs. Michelle Obama, who earlier this year announced that she was proud of her country for the first time in her adult life. Keep in mind that this also means Mrs. Obama was not proud of her country until she had a great chance to become First Lady. Let us also not forget that she admonished America because her husband could get shot at the gas station just because of the color of his skin. Never mind that the same is also true for white men, Hispanics, Asians, and anyone else of a discernable nationality, but that is for another time.

Now that Republicans are taking aim at Mrs. Obama, which Mr. Obama has not taken lightly by even issuing a threat: "But I do want to say this to the GOP. If they think that they're going to try to make Michelle an issue in this campaign, they should be careful. . . ."

Viciously attacking a candidate's wife is ungentlemanly, to say the least. But a candidate's wife is also a part of the candidate himself. And if that spouse says something harsh, offensive, or controversial, they should be expected to receive criticism and/or questions about it. It's the treatment that Uncouth Ruminations expects of itself. Besides, what about a society where public officials (or their surrogates) can say anything without being subject to any questioning or criticism? The word I believe best describes this is communism.

By no means is this an assault on the First Amendment. Remember, one has the right to say what they want but that does not immunize them from scrutiny. So why are Senator Obama's feathers ruffled over something seemingly so inconsequential? One expects the husband to defend his wife, but Mr. Obama's language sounds threatening and cynics like yours truly could interpret it as the Leftist senator's desire to suppress dissension.

Consider: Barack Obama also infamously stated recently that when he's president people won't be able to drive their SUVs anymore, keep the air conditioner running as much as they'd like, or eat out at fast food places as much as they'd like. Don't take it from me, but I have a difficult time "coming together" with a person who tells me what I can drive and what I can eat.

But Senator Obama's snap over the reaction to his wife's rhetoric is quite revealing. The Candidate of Change appears to have pretty thin skin. That's not a great asset for someone that's supposed to "heal our nation's wounds."

This kind of makes the mind wonder, if the country "changes" under a President Obama, will it be because people will finally decide to stop being selfish and unconditionally love each other? Or will change be imposed on us?

No comments: