There is no argument that life brings crises, and it follows that we have to handle each crisis as it comes. As I see it, there are four ways of responding to a crisis:

  1. Run away! The plan here is to run far enough away that the crisis won’t affect you. This works for avoiding incoming ICBMs, if you’re very fast.
  2. Do nothing! The hope is that if you ignore the crisis long enough, it will go away on its own. Often used by junior Senators from Illinois who commonly vote “present.”
  3. Fix it! Roll up your sleeves and just get the problem fixed. This is arguably the most difficult of the four options.
  4. Backstab! Why not take the opportunity to shiv an enemy in the back while the others are distracted?

Drop me a note if you can identify another way to respond to a crisis. There are, of course, combinations of the above responses. For Heinlein fans, “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout” is doing nothing while appearing to be working hard.

Regardless of what people say, you can determine how seriously people view a crisis by their actions in response to it. Imagine if someone had to rush to the hospital to get some insulin for a co-worker in danger of slipping into a diabetic coma. If that person rushed to the hospital, grabbed the insulin and raced back, you would know that person was serious about fixing the problem. But imagine if the would-be rescuer took the scenic route to the hospital, picked up the insulin, then swung by the local 7-Eleven for a drink and a hot dog, and afterward drove through the car wash for some auto TLC. Regardless of what he might say to excuse his actions, you would know that either he doesn’t care about his co-worker’s well-being or he doesn’t take the crisis all that seriously.

So we come to our current financial crisis. We could try to run from it, but if the American economy tanks, the effect will ripple out to areas all over the world–so much for hiding. We could do nothing and hope that it will all just work out, but we have too many people in government and the media talking about how this crisis is as bad as, if not worse than, the Great Depression. Self-fulfilling prophecies are created this way.

I’m convinced that there are people in both political parties who really want to fix this crisis, but they are handicapped by having to work with some of the same people who were instrumental in creating the crisis or who turned a blind eye as the problems grew worse. I’m not sure that a fix can come out of Washington soon enough, as the stock market continues to tank day after day after day.

I say I don’t think Congress will be able to fix the crisis because there are too many people who see this whole mess as a great time to shiv their political opponents in the back. Just so I’m not mistaken, I’m speaking here of the leadership of the Democrat party, including Senator Barack Obama. The bitter partisan bickering by Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaks volumes about how seriously she takes the crisis. Her actions in the past week show a remarkable similarity to the co-worker who dawdles with critically needed insulin. Each bit of pork added to the bailout bill is a little more proof that the author cares less about the nation than he does about his own pet project. The more I read Pelosi’s address to the House before the bailout vote, the more I’m convinced that she wanted it to fail. And I’m not the only person who saw it this way.

But I’m afraid there’s more to this partisan squabbling than the misguided idea that a financial crisis now will ensure Democrat victories in November. I believe we may be seeing the results of a deliberate act of sabotage. Jim Simpson of The American Thinker has an excellent article about the possible motivations of the Democrat leadership in Washington D.C. and around the nation. It is frightening how well Simpson connects the dots to reveal a group of people who hate this nation and want to see its downfall. According to his article, they seek a catastrophic failure of American government so that they can be well-placed in the totalitarian state that forms from its ashes:

Before the 1994 Republican takeover, Democrats had sixty years of virtually unbroken power in Congress – with substantial majorities most of the time. Can a group of smart people, studying issue after issue for years on end, with virtually unlimited resources at their command, not come up with a single policy that works? Why are they chronically incapable?


One of two things must be true. Either the Democrats are unfathomable idiots, who ignorantly pursue ever more destructive policies despite decades of contrary evidence, or they understand the consequences of their actions and relentlessly carry on anyway because they somehow benefit.

I submit to you they understand the consequences. For many it is simply a practical matter of eliciting votes from a targeted constituency at taxpayer expense; we lose a little, they gain a lot, and the politician keeps his job. But for others, the goal is more malevolent – the failure is deliberate. Don’t laugh. This method not only has its proponents, it has a name: the Cloward-Piven Strategy. It describes their agenda, tactics, and long-term strategy.

You need to know what the Cloward-Piven strategy is, and what it will mean for the future of our nation. Read the whole thing. Then tell a friend. This nation needs to know the methods and goals of people like Saul Alinsky, William Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, Frank Marshall Davis, and Senator Barack Obama:

As a young attorney in the 1990s, Barack Obama represented ACORN in Washington in their successful efforts to expand Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) authority. In addition to making it easier for ACORN groups to force banks into making risky loans, this also paved the way for banks like Superior to package mortgages as investments, and for the Government Sponsored Enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to underwrite them. These changes created the conditions that ultimately lead [sic] to the current financial crisis.

Did they not know this would occur? Were these smart people, led by a Harvard graduate, unaware of the Econ 101 concept of moral hazard that would result from the government making implicit guarantees to underwrite private sector financial risk? They should have known that freeing the high-risk mortgage market of risk, calamity was sure to ensue. I think they did.

And I believe they did, too. When people plan the overthrow of our nation in order to put their own pet Marxist ideas into practice, then yes, I do question their patriotism. In the parable of the tares, Christ talks about a man who planted wheat in his field, but while he slept, another came and planted tares in the same field. He identified the source of the tares in words that I see echoing in our current crisis: “An enemy hath done this.”

An enemy, indeed, in our time of crisis.

It's Schadenfreude Man!Schadenfreude is a German word that means the enjoyment that comes from watching other people suffer some misfortune. Which is why Schadenfreude Man is standing there with a grin on his face in the Dr. Fun comic to the right (click to expand).

Which brings us to the current American financial woes. Names like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman, and AIG are big in the news, and socialists who hate capitalism are overcome with schadenfreude. To illustrate the point, I offer up an article published on the Spiegel website by Marc Pitzke titled, “The World As We Know It Is Going Down.” The title comes from a broker by the name of James Allroy as quoted in the article. If you have nothing interesting to do or need help sleeping, read the almost 1,300 word article in its entirety; for the rest of you, let me point out two sentences. The first leapt out at me from the twelfth paragraph:

In fact, it really does look as if the foundations of US capitalism have shattered.

The second sentence came four paragraphs later:

The only thing that is certain is that the era of the unbridled free-market economy in the US has passed — at least for now.

I can’t speak for you, but I can easily imagine Pitzke rubbing his hands with delighted schadenfreude at the idea of America’s free-market economy tanking. And if free-market capitalism doesn’t work, then what other options are there? Well, people love Karl Marx’s ideas of communism and communism lite, also known as socialism. Neither one makes me happy, but I’m neither a communist nor a socialist.

Are America’s current financial problems proof that an “unbridled free-market economy” has failed us? You could make that argument if you believed that the free market got us to this position, but it didn’t. Government intervention got us to this point.

To trace this problem, we have to go back to the days of President Carter. The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1977 (sometimes mistakenly called the “Community Redevelopment Act”) specified that financial institutions had to “meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate.” It was designed to help minorities and the poor buy homes by keeping banks from denying them home loans. Turning down a loan request would be taken as prima facie evidence of racism, and the government would come down on the bank like a ton of regulatory bricks. In other words, the federal government required banks to give loans to Joe CreditRisk, ignoring Joe’s spotty job history, spotty credit record, and spotty credit payment history. Is it any wonder that there were more high-risk loans?

In 1995 President Clinton pushed for, and got, a stronger CRA. Thanks to this update, subprime mortgages for Joe CreditRisk were secured by CRA loans, leading to another increase in high-risk loans. Between 1993 and 1998, CRA loans grew by 39%, while other types of loans grew by 17%. Did this growth occur because the free market ordinarily rewards people who are proven bad credit risks? A truly free-market bank would be very hesitant to make lots of loans to people who would be unlikely to pay them off. But thanks to government intervention, the banking industry was no longer truly free-market. As a banker, you either danced to the government’s tune and offered risky loans to people who were unlikely to pay them back, or the feds would be knocking at your business doors to close you down, you horrible racist, you.

So what was the end result of government’s heavy-handed control over risky loans? Well — duh — lots of risky loans. But as long as housing prices continued to grow and grow, the banks and lending institutions could use the good deals to balance out the bad ones. But then the housing bubble popped, and high-risk debtors turned out to be — surprise, surprise — bad at making their loan payments. Having created the problem in the first place by messing around with the free market, the government stepped in to “fix” the problem with massive buyouts (with taxpayer money) for some, and giving a middle finger to others.

Is the banking crisis evidence of the collapse of America’s free-market capitalism, as Marc Pitzke maintains? No. It is the obvious result of government mucking around where it shouldn’t be. What we have here is the obvious result of a government-controlled market. In other words: Marxism sucks, and how!

I have to admire the hard works of these folk who have created 52 bumper stickers for Sen. Barack Obama. That’s one for each state plus one for D.C. and Puerto Rico, if you are doing the math. Not all are great, but there is obvious evidence of some good creativity going on. Arizona’s bumper sticker made me laugh — “Re-elect Senator John McCain 2008.” That’s clever.

The title of their page is reminiscent of the Paul Simon song of days gone by. It say, “There Must Be…. 50 Fifty-Two Ways to Vote Obama!” I don’t know what your initial thoughts are, but mine were simple. “Only 52 ways? Just work with ACORN, and you can vote as many times as you want!”

Once again the Democrats’ hatred for the rich is showing. Senator Joe Biden, the Democrat Vice Presidential candidate, is calling for the rich to do the “patriotic thing” and pay more taxes.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that paying more in taxes is the patriotic thing to do for wealthier Americans. In a new TV ad that repeats widely debunked claims about the Democratic tax plan, the Republican campaign calls Obama’s tax increases “painful.”

Under the economic plan proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, people earning more than $250,000 a year would pay more in taxes while those earning less the vast majority of American taxpayers would receive a tax cut.

Although Republican John McCain claims that Obama would raise taxes, the independent Tax Policy Center and other groups conclude that four out of five U.S. households would receive tax cuts under Obama’s proposals.

“We want to take money and put it back in the pocket of middle-class people,” Biden said in an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Noting that wealthier Americans would indeed pay more, Biden said: “It’s time to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.” [emphasis mine - CM]

Oh, where to begin? Is Biden calling for the rich to voluntarily pay more taxes, or is he telling us that the rich should feel patriotism swelling in their breasts as the federal government taxes them more? Past behavior tells me that the Democrat idea here is for the federal government to levy more taxes on the rich. After all, vowing to hike taxes on the rich is a major plank of the Democrat party. Or as one person said, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” The author of that little gem is Karl Marx, and the left loves it. Ain’t it interesting how mad they get when we correctly identify them as Marxists?

I wonder how Senator Barack Obama can say with a straight face that his tax plans would result in a tax cut for most Americans. Oh, wait! I know how he can do that — he’s a Marxist! Here’s the truth: Obama won’t renew the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 when they expire in 2010. When they do expire, every tax bracket will go up — every one. So how exactly does this plan cut taxes for the “vast majority of American taxpayers”? I’ll whisper the answer: it won’t.

The truth of the matter is that in life you get more of what you reward, and less of what you punish. And taxing people’s income is the same as punishing their income. When you punish an activity less, you shouldn’t be surprised to see that people voluntarily engage in that activity more often. Want Americans to earn more? Then stop punishing them for making money.

Don’t believe me? Fine. How about believing history?

In 2003, capital gains tax rates were reduced from 20 percent and 10 percent (depending on income) to 15 percent and 5 percent. Rather than expand by 36 percent from the current $50 billion level to $68 billion in 2006 as the CBO projected before the tax cut, capital gains revenues more than doubled to $103 billion. Past capital gains tax cuts have shown similar results.

Obama’s plan will call for the capital gains tax rates to go back to 2003 levels, reversing the trend that caused federal revenues to double because people were being punished less for investing. If the Democrats are serious about increasing federal revenues, they would make the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 permanent. But Democrats won’t do that — because, even more than they love tax monies, they hate the rich and want to punish them.


Treason, as it is defined in the Constitution, is the act of waging war against the United States or giving aid and comfort to its enemies. Compared to the broad definition of treason that existed in English law at the time, the Founding Fathers defined it rather narrowly. English law of their day also included as treason the killing of a sitting justice. In practice, the charge of treason had been used in England as an excuse to execute political undesirables. It’s understandable that the Founders didn’t want to turn the charge of treason into a convenient tool to attack political opponents.

So it’s not surprising to me to realize just how infrequently treason has been prosecuted in the history of the United States. Wikipedia states there have been “fewer than 40 federal prosecutions for treason and even fewer convictions.” It has been more common for the U.S. to charge people with sedition (fomenting insurrection or undermining the government) or espionage (spying). Neither crime is treason, but they are certainly serious crimes in themselves. But these three crimes — treason, sedition, and espionage — all have a similar central characteristic: that of citizens working against their government.

There is another law on the books that addresses the issue of Americans working against their government — the Logan Act:

Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

This section shall not abridge the right of a citizen to apply himself, or his agent, to any foreign government, or the agents thereof, for redress of any injury which he may have sustained from such government or any of its agents or subjects.

While no one has been prosecuted, let alone convicted, of violating the Logan Act, I believe there are prominent living Americans who are guilty of having violated it or at least skirted very close. I’ve written before how President Carter is willing to “influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government,” specifically Iran. And I believe Speaker Pelosi acted in violation of the Logan Act when she visited Syria in 2007 against the warnings of the State Department. She wasn’t there to shore up President Bush’s policies, but to peddle her own. Sounds like a clear case of an “intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government” to me.

And speaking of trying to influence the conduct of a foreign government, Sen. Barack Obama attempted exactly that with his trip to Iraq this year. As Amir Taheri wrote in the New York Post, Obama asked for a delay in U.S. troop withdrawals until he arrived triumphantly in the White House:

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

“He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington,” Zebari said in an interview.

Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops – and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its “state of weakness and political confusion.”

Did you catch that? He basically asked Iraq to avoid agreements with our current President and his administration, describing them as weak and confused. That certainly sounds like trying to “defeat the measures of the United States” to me. Obama’s people are trying to say that Taheri is wrong, but Taheri is standing firm in a new article published in the New York Post.

In a long interview with the pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, Zebari says: “Obama asked me why, in view of the closeness of a change of administration, we were hurrying the signing of this special agreement, and why we did not wait until the coming of the new administration next year and agree on some issues and matters.”

Again, note that Zebari mentions a single set of agreements, encompassing both SFA and SOFA.

Zebari continues: “I told Obama that, as an Iraqi, I believe that even if there is a Democratic administration in the White House it had better continue the present policy instead of wasting a lot of time thinking what to do.”

In other words, Obama was trying to derail current US policy, while Zebari was urging him not to “waste time.” [emphasis mine - CM]

Sen. Obama’s actions in Iraq don’t constitute treason as narrowly defined in the Constitution, but “Obama was trying to derail current US policy” certainly sounds like a violation of the Logan Act. Not that the junior Senator from Illinois will ever be indicted for this crime. While Obama is a candidate for the office of President, he is not now President, and he shouldn’t be trying to negotiate with foreign leaders as though he were a head of state.

As I see it, Obama either has the hubris to think foreign leaders should treat him as President right now, or he’s clueless about the differences in responsibility between a Senator and the President. It’s too close for me to determine which it is.

The horrible acts of September 11th, 2001, separated Americans into three groups. One group lives in a Sept. 10th world that has yet to see the horror. Based on their world view, they object to the fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world wherever terrorists lurk because they believe terrorists should be prosecuted as criminals by the justice department and police. During the Clinton administration, the terrorists responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 were tried in our courts, and the sad truth is that this response only emboldened other terrorists, leading them to further bombings in Saudi Arabia, Kenya, and Tanzania, and the ramming of the USS Cole. People living in a Sept. 10th world believe that talking to people who hate us will solve all of our problems, as if there were some magical phrase that, once uttered, would stop terrorists from wanting to cut off our heads.

Another group continues to live in a Sept. 11th world, with all the fear and mind-numbing shock of that terrible day. They are reduced to crying and hand-wringing over the acts of the terrorists–and worse, they see our military response to terrorists in the same way. They appear to be unable to differentiate between the deranged and indiscriminate violence of al Qaeda and the controlled and directed violence of our military. My wife thinks that many of the 9/11 “Truthers” are stuck on this day, which explains why they want to blame President Bush and the government for the attacks. Rather than focusing on fighting the terrorists who actually hijacked the planes, they direct their fear and hatred towards President Bush because deep down they know that their hatred of the President is safe from dangerous retaliation. To them, President Bush is the safer target.

Then there is a group of Americans who live in a Sept. 12th world. This group recognizes that there are terrorists who hate us, our freedoms, and our industry and prosperity. Yes, the terrorists who hate us and the countries that sponsor them could have their own freedoms, industry, and prosperity, but that would require work on their part. It’s far easier for them to hate us and try to destroy us. People living in a Sept. 12th world realize that terrorists won’t go away even if we wish for it extra, extra hard, nor will they go away if we try to buy them off. So as long as they want to kill us, we will have to keep them from their goal. And for seven years now, that has meant sending our military into harm’s way to do the job it does best: killing people and breaking things. It’s not popular with the terrorists, nor is it popular with people living in a Sept. 10th or 11th world. But it is necessary.

Regardless of which mental category we fall into, the sad truth remains that that we physically live in a Sept. 12th world. And we will remain in a Sept. 12th world until radical terrorists have given up trying to destroy us. That will in all probability take a while, but like most long-term endeavors, it’s a goal worth pursuing.

Two things came up this week that make me question the judgment of Democrat Presidential candidate, Senator Obama. First, he used a old phrase that has caught fire in the news.

“You can put lipstick on a pig. It’s still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink. We’ve had enough of the same old thing.”

People say that he was talking about the Republican Vice President candidate, Gov. Sarah Palin, but Obama maintains that he was only using a common phrase, and not targeting her at all. I question Obama’s judgment because I see two possibilities behind this phrase:

A) Obama really meant to call Palin a pig, which is sexist language, even for a Democrat, and certainly poor judgment.


B) Obama really wasn’t thinking of Palin, but it is easily misconstrued by others to refer to her. He should have the good judgment to recognize how his words could be viewed by others.

In either case, Obama shows a lack of judgment in the use of this phrase.

The second thing that came up this week comes from Senator Biden, Obama’s Vice President candidate, as he was singing the praises of Senator Clinton.

“She’s a truly close personal friend, and she is qualified to be President of the United States of America. She’s easily qualified to be Vice President of the United States of America, and, quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me.”

I love how Ace of Ace of Spades HQ summed up Biden’s comment:

Barack Obama’s judgment was that Joe Biden was the best possible vice presidential candidate.

Joe Biden says he’s wrong.

This was Obama’s first major decision as a would-be president.

He got it wrong.

Yes, Obama got it wrong. He got it wrong with his Vice President pick, and he got it wrong with using the lipstick on a pig comment. And if he is making bad judgment calls at this point in the election, what sort of judgment will Obama have in the midst of a high-pressure crisis while President? I shudder to think about it.

So, yes, I do question his judgment.

It’s hard to pick up a newspaper or look over a news website today without seeing at least one, if not many, articles about Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin since Sen. McCain selected her to be his vice presidential running mate. The Sunday edition of our newspaper source of coupons is yet another example of the current liberal media hype. “Inside Palin’s turbulent first year as mayor,” it announced in large bold type. Turning to page A18 to continue the article, I discovered that the story filled the entire page. A sub-heading stated, “She demanded loyalty from department heads.” Boy, I hope so. It would be really stupid to surround yourself with employees who don’t like you or follow your policies.

I really don’t have a horse in this race. There isn’t a hope in hell that I would vote for Sen. Obama and his love affair with Marxism, but Sen. McCain doesn’t thrill me, either. I was surprised at Gov. Palin’s selection because I hadn’t heard much about her before the announcement. And unless you are a political news junkie and/or live in Alaska, it’s probable that you hadn’t heard her name more than five times before either.

I find it interesting that for the small amount of Palin news coverage in the lower 48 states, it didn’t take long for the liberal left to develop a seething hatred for her. You’d think that the self-proclaimed champions of women would applaud a successful woman like Palin, but she isn’t a liberal woman, so she doesn’t count. And so it’s full speed ahead with the politics of destruction. I had to laugh when someone at work told me that she couldn’t support Palin since she didn’t write her own acceptance speech. “She’s just parroting the talking points from the right!” she explained to me. Never mind that my co-worker was just parroting the talking points from the left.

Yes, the left is all abuzz with hatred and rumors about Palin. (If you are having a hard time keeping up with them, I suggest visiting Charlie Martin’s numbered list of rumors, followed by the truth.) As my wife pointed out, “It’s as though all the freight train of hatred and derogation earmarked for Bush has leaped the track and headed for Palin instead.” And I agree. Lefties who have been fully afflicted with “Bush Derangement Syndrome” are now testing positive for “Palin Derangement Syndrome.” Michelle Malkin has been doing a good job of reporting examples of PDS on her site. While you are there, I strongly suggest that you read her excellent article about the four stages of conservative female abuse.

My wife has suggested that Republicans should always be in control of the country, for the simple reason that they encourage journalists to do their jobs–the liberal-dominated media will carefully scrutinize everything conservatives do, whereas they tend to give liberals a pass on all but the most heinous activities. This explains why it took so very long for the media to investigate Sen. Edward’s admitted infidelity. Regardless of my opinion of the left-leaning full-page article in today’s fish-wrapper, the 96 column-inches of story prove that the media can do investigative journalism. But it seems to happen only when they are politically motivated to do so.

I’ve observed before that the left believes in the freedom of speech only when it is their speech being protected. I call this phenomenon “Free speech for me, but not for thee” because when the left disagrees with someone, they have no problem with denying the other person the chance to speak, or drowning out someone else’s speech with screams when the floor belongs to another speaker.

Let’s look at a few examples caught on camera. First, however a warning: some of these videos have foul language. You have been warned. Now, onward! Earlier this year in Chicago, six people stood up in the middle of the Holy Name Cathedral Easter Mass service, interrupting Cardinal George in the middle of his homily.

While these six people have every right to state their opinions, the middle of Easter services is the wrong time and place to do so. If you believe the government is wrong, then go to a government venue to express your opinion. Don’t pull your stunt in the middle of a church service, interrupting the worship of thousands of people. It is rude, boorish and counter-productive.

Here is another example of interrupting in an inappropriate time and place. I’m sorry that you’ll have to listen to Sheila Jackson Lee for 30 seconds at the beginning of this clip from Bill Maher’s show.

I’m not a fan of Bill Maher, but he makes a great point two minutes into the video: “You are in the audience. Audience comes from the Latin ‘to listen.’” Again, disrupting Bill Maher’s show with your 9/11 “truther” agenda is the wrong time and place, and it ultimately does your cause a disservice.

In the next video, the Recreate68 crowd in Denver gathers around a Fox News camera crew and strong-arms them out of their midst.

Caleb says it well in his report of this scene:

Throughout the event, these men and women exercising their freedom of speech lamented, in dramatic and ominous terms, their lack of free speech. Then in the middle of the event they decided to silence the Fox News crew.

For a peace protest, these guys sure are ready to make war. Not with enemies abroad, but with conservatives at home, real or perceived. Stop war, they cry. Just not theirs, apparently.

Remember that the First Amendment, which specifically mentions your freedom of speech, also safeguards freedom of the press. But if you disagree with the reporters or the network they represent, then their right to report the news is not to be honored. Classy.

OK, so I’ve been picking on the left for their tendency to interrupt at the wrong time and place, but the phenomenon of interrupting someone else’s speech isn’t exclusive to leftist radicals. In the next clip, several survivors of abortion stand up and interrupt a speech by Senator Obama:

I actually support the idea that abortion, as it is commonly practiced in the United States, is an abomination — but disrupting a speech to point this out is rude, and again, it’s the wrong time and place. The people had congregated to listen to Obama, not to the disruptors. This kind of interruption as as boorish and unwelcome as having a loud phone conversation or repeatedly yelling out the address of your MySpace page in a packed movie theater. The people in attendance paid to watch the movie, not to listen to you.

There is an appropriate time and place for actions and words. If you disagree with the government, some official, or a person’s position on an issue, then feel free to speak up! But pick the right venue. If you are going to protest, then do it with class, not crass. Here’s an example of a classy protest — at 1:15 into the following clip, a lone protester stands and holds up his sign. He says nothing — just holds up his sign.

Is he interrupting Sean Penn’s speech? Well, he’s not shouting and preventing Penn from speaking. He’s just holding up his sign. Had the others in the crowd left him alone, he would have continued to stand there quietly. Their actions caused more of a stir than he did. And their actions proved that they didn’t respect his right to free speech, as his sign was torn out of his hands. It’s worthwhile to point out that while he showed some class and respect for the people around him, this protester still picked the wrong place and time to make his point.

It’s easy to stand up for speech with which you agree, but it is much harder to stand up for speech with which you disagree. I dislike protests that disrupt the freedom of others to speak their mind. If you have something to say, then post to a blog, email your friends, call people on the phone, or stand on a street corner and just plain talk. Explain and convert as many people as you can to your position with the excellence of your rhetoric and argument. But as you want people to honor your freedom of speech, you should be prepared to honor theirs.

Don’t scream and shout when other people are talking. Didn’t your mom teach you that?

UPDATE: As I wrote this, a number of Code Pink protesters broke into the Republican National Convention to disrupt the proceedings. They interrupted Senator McCain’s speech and were promptly removed from the area.