Shoe Attacker

Attack of the Shoes

I'd like to clarify and an expand on a few points about the shoe throwing incident because I'm clearly in the minority here in my opinion that throwing shoes at the president is wrong.

I don't think I need to repeat my record of vigorously opposing President Bush and his administration. Suffice it to say, there's no doubt that President Bush deserves a stinking pile of comeuppance hurled at his inappropriately smirking face. But not in the form of actual projectiles.

Yes, he's a very, very awful man and he's done a wide array of very, very awful and unforgivable things that will require decades to undo. I'm just not so sure how awesome it is to embrace the fallacy that violence deserves more violence and, as some have argued, vengeance -- no matter how bizarre the retaliatory act might be (quoting Austin Powers: "Who throws a shoe?! I mean, really.").

If this makes me look weak or apologetic towards President Bush, I don't know what to tell you other than: this has little if anything to do with George W. Bush as a man or as a leader. My opinion on this thing has everything to do with defining how I feel about 1) violent retaliation, and 2) my respect for the office of the presidency.

To that point, it's easy (and somewhat hipster-ish) to cynically reject and condemn the presidency and to categorically label it as a corrupt and guilty office based upon some of the jagoffs who have served in that role. That's not to say we shouldn't loudly oppose the president's policies and actions when deserved, but personally I've always tried to grapple onto a basic respect the office -- both as a form of patriotism and as a template for how the office should ideally be occupied, thereby holding the occupier accountable to a higher standard of conduct.

And this incident, regardless of the man at the podium, was a physical attack on the president -- and that offends me, both as someone who seeks non-violent ideas and solutions, but also as an American. That said, applaud all you want for the shoe-tosser. Maybe it's cathartic. I don't know. I just can't join you on this one.