In the show, The West Wing, President Josiah Bartlet insisted that he be called “President Bartlet,” even by his friends, when he was in official capacity. It wasn’t from ego. It was from reverence toward the office.
The West Wing only left the air only five years ago, but among many, respect for the Office of the President is long gone. Even more surprisingly, so is the show of dignity typically reserved for the First Lady of the United States.
Most First Ladies play a neutral, relatively apolitical role during their husband’s Presidency and First Lady Michelle Obama is no exception. Her pet causes are childhood obesity and the support of returning veterans. Somehow, even these innocuous, but important causes have turned into political hotbeds, especially in the right-wing radio talk show landscape, where the First Family is often portrayed as apes and even evil.
Our current political environment is toxic and that fact was demonstrated loudly and clearly at yesterday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. First Lady Michelle Obama and Second Lady Jill Biden were both there to Grand Marshall the event and support Joining Forces, a cause dedicated to supporting the troops and helping them find work after returning from the military.
The pair received a standing ovation from the NASCAR drivers before race, but the crowd wasn’t so genial. While being introduced over the race kick-off, loud booing could be heard from above the applause.