Filosofa’s Thoughts On Rudeness …

You know … I have spent much time and many words criticizing Trump & Co., and shall undoubtedly continue to do so … justifiably, I think.  However, today, I have to take to task another, one who chose an impolitic means to criticize. Ill manners never accomplish anything, and even when in response to the ill manners of another, they serve no purpose except to show ignorance and a lack of dignity.

On Saturday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer was shopping in an Apple Store (perhaps he Twittered his old iphone into an early death???) when a woman approached him with a question. “How does it feel to work for a fascist?”, asked Shree Chauhan.  As much as I dislike Mr. Spicer, as little respect as I have for any of Trump’s closest advisors, and as much of a snarky curmudgeon as I am, I would never have done that.  It was not only rude, but it was out of place and inappropriate. I am sure Spicer was taken a bit aback and his response, if not brilliant or inspired, since he was caught off-guard, was at least respectful: “We have a great country.” But she didn’t stop there.

“Have you helped with the Russia stuff – are you a criminal as well? Have you committed treason, too, just like the president?”, persisted Ms. Chauhan.  And at this point, Spicer made his own faux pas with, “It’s such a great country that allows you to be here.” (Note Ms. Chauhan is the daughter of Indian immigrants) Again, I do not care for Spicer, and what he said was the absolute wrong thing to say, but this woman had every intention of picking a fight, of goading him, and there was really nothing he could have said that would have appeased her.  Determined to keep at it, she then asked, “What can you tell me about Russia, Mr. Secretary?”, to which Spicer politely said, “Thank you very much,” and walked away.  Determined to get the last word in, the woman yelled, “You know you work for a fascist, right?”

This behaviour only makes us all look bad, makes us all seem to be a bunch of rude, loud-mouthed jerks who have forgotten our manners. Ms. Chauhan later wrote a blog post  about the incident.  She said she was “stunned” by the press secretary’s comment, writing: “That is racism and it is an implied threat.” She admitted that she was impolite, but attempted to justify her behaviour by saying she wanted to seize the “enormous opportunity… to get answers without the protections normally given to Mr. Spicer”. While Mr. Spicer’s remark wasn’t the best thing he could have said, I’m not sure, under the circumstances, that I could have done any better, and I definitely do not see it as an ‘implied threat’.

Now, if she had any sense, she knew he could not answer the questions she asked. Sean Spicer, for all his faults, does not make policy – he is merely a mouthpiece for Trump, Bannon and the rest. Later Ms. Chauhan took to Twitter with, “I have clear feelings for the man who is a fascist’s spokesperson. Nazis weren’t stopped with niceties.”

Some will say that, with all the hate and vitriol spewed from members of the Trump administration, and all the hate that Trump & Co. have unleashed in this country, Ms. Chauhan’s behaviour was rather mild, and she was, after all, well within her 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech.  And I would agree with both BUT … just because one has a right to do something does not necessarily make it the right thing to do. It is not helpful, it shows a maturity and intellectual level on a par with that of Kellyanne Conway, and it is important, if resistance against Trump’s policies is to be taken seriously, if we are to be respected, we must act in a respectable manner.  Ms. Chauhan failed to do that. The only thing she accomplished was to make herself look like a fool.

Rudeness is, in my book, intolerable.  Ms. Chauhan’s behaviour was sinking to a low that is redolent of the behaviour of so many Trump supporters … she did nothing more than lower herself to their level. Although politicians are always on public display, and it is the nature of the beast that they will have no privacy in public places, they should have the right to have personal time free of public harassment.  Your thoughts on this???

38 thoughts on “Filosofa’s Thoughts On Rudeness …

    • I think it was Michelle Obama who said, when Trump was visciously attacking the President during the campaign, “When they go low, we go high”. I like that philosophy. I once had a professor who gave me a piece of advice I have never forgotten. He said when everybody is yelling, you lower your voice, because then they have to shut up in order to hear you. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Jill, this is a terrific post. I agree that with your assessments. As you know, I send out a weekly email that includes members of the legislature and my representatives in DC. When I sent one on the need to be civil with our discourse, one person sent back a note with the word “Nonsense” on it. I chose not to respond, but the person was either mad because I was highlighting poor behaviors from our leaders or because I was saying people who disagree with leaders need to be civil.

    If we are not civil and resort to name-calling or labeling, we are doing exactly what we should not be doing. Those who do this are shouting in the wind. Civil protesting is more than fine. Data based arguments are more than fine. But destruction of property and verbally or physically attacking someone is not.

    This woman could have approached Spicer (who I feel could be more truthful and less belligerent) and said something like, “We look to our President to be a purveyor of truths. When he falls short of this it hurts our country and its reputation. Could you pass along my hope that he will strive more to do that?”


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Keith! Unfortunately, too many seem to think that civil discourse is “nonsense” these days. They equate it with ‘political correctness’ which some are determined to disavow at all costs. To me, it is all a matter of speaking to others in a respectful manner. So much more is gained that way. Admittedly, I lose my temper sometimes and spout off when I should not, but I try very hard not to do so. There are always better options than screaming, yelling, and being rude.

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      • Jill, the temptation to be more critical exists, especially when someone is espousing information that has little basis. I applaud your diligence in support of your argument. As for civil discourse being equated with political correctness, as I say often, being politically incorrect does not allow someone to be a jerk or lie. For example, I agree with about 3/4 of what Bill Maher espouses, but feel he can be a jerk when he need not be. Keith

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        • Agreed. As for Maher … his primary job, I think, is ratings, and let’s face it … although people like you and I don’t like that behaviour, there seems to be a large swath of the viewing public that feeds on it. That bothers me as much as anything. Has civilized society reached its apex and now it’s backpedaling?

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          • You are right. My biggest beef with Maher is he talks over his guests, especially when they are making a well-thought out point. Yet, to his credit, he does invite guests who are adversarial to his beliefs.

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  2. You’ve struck just the right chord Jill!
    By chance yesterday I was reading by a blogger who is on the ‘Right’ (but not a fan of President Trump as a person), his theme was that there is so much shouting from the extreme wings of both sides that the ordinary folk cannot be heard, or feel intimidated to speak, thus in his words ‘nothing gets done’
    You should all get together, first complain about the weather (everyone loves to complain about the weather and come up with their own tale about extreme weather), it’s a good starting point.
    Actually Mr Spicer missed a great opportunity there- Public Service (UK) 101 as follows:
    1. Concerned look ‘I’m sorry, you feel that way’ ( let person to go on, stand there look concerned, wave off any security)
    2. “I see,” pause for no more than three second, for thought “You obviously have a number of concerns,” place hands together lightly, directed at the person, lighten expression “Obviously you’re speaking as an individual but do you come as a representative of a group?”
    3. You must then stand there listening, wait for pause. Wave off any pro-Trump folk with “Let the lady speak.Please”
    4. “Hmm. You appreciate we cannot discuss this in public,” little laugh we have quite a crowd here now “Of course you appreciate a great deal of this is conjecture of the media, but it does show how WE the administration must work harder to show EVERYONE in the US WE have their interests at heart,”
    5. Look about- “Yes quite a crowd. Would you like to leave this place. WE could chat further over a coffee. Or if you like,” chuckle “I’ll leave you to blog” to any security “Make sure the lady is not bothered,” to crowd “It’s OK. This is democracy in action,”
    6. Forget to buy phone, and go back to office ready for the storm that will fall about head for some of the more wacko element in the admin. Have PR victory speech prepared.
    We used to do this sort of thing all the time in the UK civil service; it’s called ‘Getting The Job Done’
    Tsk- amateurs!


    • Your blogger-friend who is ‘on the right but not a Trump supporter’ sounds like a smart dude. You should introduce us … there are some sensible conservatives … I actually know one or two. And I love your responses … Spicer, however, does not have the temperament for such measured responses, and, being broadsided as he was, I think he probably bit his tongue rather hard! 😀 As I have said before, you guys act much more civilized than we ‘Yanks’ do! 🙂

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      • I’ll construct a series of re-blogs on that theme of folk from different sides having the same notion and see where that goes.
        Don’t sell yourselves short:
        FDR (patrician in a good way); Harry Truman( parachuted in and got the job done); Eisenhower (unflappable); LBJ (arch-fixer); Regan (communicator supreme).
        This is one of those odd ‘eras’ as a result of Congress & the Senate forgetting they are there at the behest of the People.

        Liked by 1 person

        • That’s a great idea! And you are right … those were some greats … FDR was, in my opinion, among the best we had last century. But when I look at what we have today … well, I just shudder and feel ill. There are few, if any, redeeming qualities to our current administration, and it speaks volumes, I think, about the state of our citizens that we actually elected this three-ring circus! I seriously consider moving to Canada, but every time I think of it, I think somebody has to stay here and fight … so … here I am!

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          • That’s the spirit Jill! It’s your land.
            LBJ would have been up there to, but like Nixon he had his demons. Robert Caro complied a 4 volume work on him; they are very long. I have the last one Passage of Power which deals with his tenure as Vice President and transformation in President (doesn’t cover his fall though).
            This current Admin, in historical terms is Nothing New, they do term up when the Political Folk turn into a ‘professional elite’ who become focused on keeping their jobs and accumulating ‘stuff’. Their tenure is usually not that long, but no fun for the ordinary people. I’m guessing journalists and political historians are already filling up notebooks and files of material for their book about this Adminstration

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  3. I have to be honest and admit I’m in a cleft stick here. Like you I detest rudeness though I will admit it’s sometimes the only thing that works on some people. In this instance when faced with the man who has spewed out so much rubbish albeit not of his own making, who has angered people since Trump came to power with his support of the unspeakable, the temptation must be great to let him see just how angry the public are at the regime he’s chosen to be part of.
    If you allow the man to walk around as though Nazis don’t work at weekends you stand the chance of him thinking that all is OK with his world the other 5 days of the week. I’m not sure ow I’d have approached this but I’d like to think I’d have said something.
    This lady being of Indian origin may well have thought his remark about the country being great that allows her to be there to be a veiled threat. We will never know without knowing how it was said. Intonation is everything.
    On balance I think maybe I’m a little more understanding of her anger at the regime and her courage in speaking out though a tone of politeness might have got the same message across.
    xxx Cwtch mawr xxx

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    • Cleft stick! Love that one! I had to look it up on Google, but it is certainly a fitting expression. Yes, David, I can understand one’s anger, and admittedly, if I were out and about and I ran into Donald Trump, I am not sure how well I could keep my calm. But when I read this story, I found myself actually feeling sorry for Spicer. There is a saying over here … “pick your battles”. In keeping with that, the woman picked a battle against a pillow, and left herself powerless for any future battles. I don’t know … I just felt that it was wrong, but I do understand your cleft stick! Cwtch mawr, annwyl ffrind!

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  4. Good for you! I read about this and wondered about this woman’s behavior. One could argue that the president has opened Pandora’s box and this is simply one example of the crude behavior that seems to have become commonplace. But I think it started long before that, probably in the 1960s when we threw civil discourse out the window and insisted that it is a virtue to “let it all hang out.” This woman insults the man and has the audacity to complain, in the social media, of his response! Wonder of wonders. Again, thanks for taking the high road on this one!!

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    • Thanks, Hugh! I think many will applaud this woman, but I cannot. And yes, I agree that this type of behaviour has been on the rise for several decades, but in the last year, it certainly seems to have increased. In the words of he-who-shall-remain-nameless, the gloves have come off. I find myself thinking that I do not recognize this ‘new world’, and am not sure I quite belong in it. sigh. And thanks again … I wasn’t sure how this would go over, but I’m pleased to see that most agree with me that we must take the high road, be above becoming, in the words of my grandmother, ‘gutter snipes’. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  5. That was designed to go viral, its was clear. When both sides act in the same manner the message gets missed.
    That being said the overwhelming response to Trump has been amazingly positive.
    I’m glad you touched on this and well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s so tempting to give it back to those who are rude and disrespectful to you. I encounter this almost every day at work with a colleague who gets away with all kinds of rudeness. But we are constantly talking ourselves into taking the high road in response. Eventually she will be called out by the boss who sees our willingness to be polite in the face of crap, but it sure feels like it takes a long time for rude people to get theirs!! In the end, you have to do what allows you to live with yourself. If you are having to justify your behaviour to everyone, you are probably NOT living with yourself very well…

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