Sunday, December 03, 2006


i simply do not understand how jim webb saying "I’d like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President" in response to president bush's question "how's your son doing?" could reasonably be called "rude." the fact that merely bringing up a topic that the president doesn't want to talk about can be seen by the arbiters of washington etiquette to be rude itself offends me.

last week i had to teach a half day seminar on how to be a union representative. my students were a bunch of shiny new union stewards, who were just elected by their coworkers to help resolve grievances with management. one thing i told them again and again is that they should always be polite when they deal with their employers, but to be assertive is not rude. you can say "i think you are wrong" and explain why you think so without being impolite. in fact, if they really want to do their job as steward they have an obligation to be assertive. that's the only way to represent the constituents that elected them.

jim webb was elected as a senator to represent his constituents. that means he has an obligation to be assertive about what he believes. it's not rude for him to be assertive. when the president asks how his son is and his son is in iraq, it's not out of bounds for webb to address the iraq issue in his response.

webb certainly could have been rude. he didn't have to say "mr. president" at the end of the sentence. he could have said "how's my son? you fucking retard, my son is now in mortal peril because of your ridiculous ill informed adventure. if you really want to pretend to give a shit about my son, then don't ask me how's he doing, let him and his fellow solders come home, asshole. and maybe next time read a fucking book about the middle east before you decide to send someone else's kid to die there."

that would be rude. see the difference?