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The lame duck ducks, redux

Monday, December 15, 2008 by Dave Winer.

Yesterday I posted a video of US President George Bush having a pair of shoes thrown at him by an Iraqi journalist while yelling insults at him. Bush did what you'd hope he'd do, he ducked -- then came back up unbelievably with a half-grin on his face, just before ducking again as the guy threw his other shoe. Permalink to this paragraph

Bush ducking shoes thrown by Iraqi journalist in Baghdad. Permalink to this paragraph

I also posted a number of questions on Twitter that I should have posted here, which would have made more clear my concern.  Permalink to this paragraph

1. Will Secret Service make reporters remove shoes?  Permalink to this paragraph

2. Bush is POTUS. Such disrespect of US is bad Permalink to this paragraph

3. Will they throw shoes at Obama? Will we think that's funny?  Permalink to this paragraph

4. What if it escalates? Where is the line where it stops being entertainment? Permalink to this paragraph

Now Twitter is the opposite of verbose. In a blog post I can fully explain, which I will now do... Permalink to this paragraph

First and foremost until January 20, Bush is more than Bush, he is the President of the United States. When you throw shoes at this guy, until then, you're also throwing them at the office, and at the country. If you're an American and your pride in your country isn't offended by this, then well, you're different than me. I think Bush is the worst President we've ever had. But until he's out of office, he is our President. I hope we make it to January 20 without paying more dearly for our terrible choice. Permalink to this paragraph

Second, I found, from watching the video, over and over, that while I saw the humor in it, and I laughed out loud, that I can't help sympathizing with the guy who's being attacked. I admire his spirit. He didn't get angry, he sort of acted like a goalie, and fielded the shots. But as funny as it is, it is sad for us. Permalink to this paragraph

The day-after reaction in the Arab world confirms this. They can get away with throwing shoes at the President. What's next? Shit? What if one of those shoes had injured the man? Do we want discourse to go this way? And then what if someone throws shoes at Obama. Can you imagine there wouldn't be a response from the US? There better be or else the next symbol to go could be something bigger -- but wait a minute -- there is no symbol bigger than our President.  Permalink to this paragraph

If you're not an American, imagine your leader visiting our country and being physically attacked this way by an American. Yes I fully understand that the Iraqis have legitimate issues with America and with Bush, but a visiting leader of a foreign country is entitled to some respect and protection. Otherwise how can we have relations? It's the same principle that provides immunity for diplomats. Permalink to this paragraph

This is no good. Sorry if you don't understand, when people say the shoes were being thrown at the man and not the office and not the country, I can't agree. Until the 20th of January, there's no difference between the three. Permalink to this paragraph


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A picture named dave.jpgDave Winer, 53, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.

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