And we're supposed to be the better country?
Last week, I wrote about President Barak Obama meeting with China's President Xi Jinping at Sunnylands, the former Annenberg estate in Palm Springs, California.
You may recall that I mentioned about how, even though Xi's wife, Peng Liyuan, would be accompanying him to Sunnylands, that Michelle Obama would not be joining her own husband for the meeting. The Obama's daughters were finishing the school year on Friday, and Michelle wanted to stay home and make it somewhat of a family event. Even if, well, their dad was in Palm Springs wooing the leader of our planet's largest Communist country.
Some conservatives have tried to seize upon Michelle's absence from the Sunnylands meeting as a flagrant violation of diplomatic protocol, and further proof that she doesn't understand what's expected of her as First Lady. Which, frankly, is a stunningly duplicitous attitude to take, considering the fact that Michelle was staying home to be a mother to her daughters! Good grief - isn't motherhood one of the things most conservatives have enshrined in their ideology?
In one of the articles I researched for my blog essay last week, an expert on Chinese diplomacy was quoted as saying that since the Chinese people are very conservative when it comes to the role of motherhood, some might affirm Michelle's choice to stay in Washington with her daughters. It was even possible that Peng, Xi's glamorous wife and a celebrity entertainer in her country, would enjoy not having the media comparing her to the First Lady. It's not like either country considered this an official state visit. In fact, both sides took great pains to make it as informal and understated as possible.
As it turned out, the press apparently didn't give Peng much attention, and that seemed to inflame Chinese pride more than anything. Did the press ignore Peng at Sunnylands because Michelle wasn't there? Who knows. It sounds like some of the members of China's state-controlled press, known for blathering the drivel of Communist propaganda with barely even a pretense of integrity, took the opportunity to frame Michelle's absence as an acknowledgement that Peng is the more attractive one.
Yet today, as I was flitting through Facebook, I noticed where a friend of mine had commented on a conservative page's comments about Michelle's "snubbing" of the Chinese president's wife. While the Chinese propaganda machine called it a case of failed vanity, you see, some American conservatives insist on calling it a case of diplomatic blundering. When I clicked on the Facebook link, sure enough, there was vitriol pouring out from Americans commenting on the woefully biased news bite from the conservative group taking Michelle to task for skipping Sunnylands in favor of her daughters.
Okay, so I kinda expected that. This was a dilemma Michelle simply wasn't going to win in the media. But what I didn't expect to see was the vulgar, vile nature of what these people - nearly two thousand of them - were posting.
Russ L. called Michelle an "ugly bag of bones." Carolyn M. said "she's a thug from Chicago."
Linda F. railed, "She's mean, ugly and has absolutely NO CLASS!!! She's a complete disgrace to this country and the position she holds because her husband connived his way into the White House. They're both despicable!!!"
Despicable for staying home with her teenaged girls? Really?
Many people called her not only a witch, but another word that rhymes with "witch," but begins with a "B."
Curtis B. reasoned that if Michelle had gone to Sunnylands, "she would only embarrass us by wearing some ghetto outfit anyway."
Jeff W. claimed "that broad is pure evil."
Then there were the dozens of people who decried the appellation of "lady" in association with Michelle. Ricky B., for example, complained that "it is a disgrace to call her a 'First Lady'."
Apparently oblivious to the irony in his rant, Roy M. said Michelle is "the ugliest 1st lady ever. She lives on hate."
Are you as appalled at this atrocious display of disrespect, contempt, and - yes - hate as I am? Hey, I'm fully aware that the Obamas are not the most popular people to ever occupy the White House, but to see such bitter hatred directed towards them on just one post in our vast social media orbit truly disturbs me. I won't even bring myself to write some of the obscene things people posted and that Facebook apparently hasn't yet had a chance to censor.
Yes, we live in a country where we have the right to speak our minds and voice our opinions. We're able to criticize our leaders and suggest ways we think things could be done better. However, our freedom of speech is not a blanket amnesty for vulgarity, name-calling, and general defamation of character - especially when a mother stays home from a business trip to be with her daughters!
Is that such a liberal, left-wing concept these days?
It's been said that in a democracy, the people get the representation they deserve. Judging by how these Republicans so willingly trash the Obamas, and upon such perverted logic, I'm not sure I want the representation they deserve.