20090204

Pardon Me, Mr. President; But You WHAT??!!

Before I begin this article, please let me say, on behalf of all those who think I'd dare bash our Commander-In-Chief in a mean-spirit; not so. In fact, on a scale of 1-5; with 5 being the highest; I'd give him a 4.9 rating. I, like many other Americans, know he has been given a crater, the size of America; and somehow, is expected to refill the potentially expanding hole with a stabilized economy and soldiers safely returned to American soil with as little collateral damage as possible. It's said, you know you've arrived when you become the topic of conversation amongst total strangers. Well, needless to say he's arrived. I'm not a big fan of politics. It's too often laced with so much toxic corruption that the ordinary guy or gal finds it far too exhausting to decipher who's telling the truth from who's telling a lie. But recently I've found myself lending a longer ear than usual to what's being said when this newly seated president steps up to the podium, or sits down for an "informal" interview with the media. It's those seemingly unguarded interviews that make me the most nervous. I know, as he, that all it takes is one misinterpretation of a phrase and these 'rock-star journalists' will most likely replay the questionable phraseology over and over again. On a recent interview, I listened as he talked about two of his nominees who asked to be withdrawn from consideration for two key Cabinet positions. I listened, as he did what any person in charge would do: take responsibility for the bottom line. The twenty-somethings in the room instantly took umbrage to the fact that he took the fall for the "mistakes" of others. Before I could assure them that this was proper protocol, he dropped a word that made me do the "head to the side; furrowed brow" look. I looked to the left with this continued, baffled look and observed that I was the only one in the room taken aback by his words. The President actually said that he "screwed up." In my day, this terminology was synonomous with the "F" word. As I write this I'm taking a deep breath at the repulsiveness I have for the latter word. I'm consciously choosing to not hyper-ventilate. Before I go on with this piously saintly drama, I must say that I simply expected more from the President. I thought back to recent days when I used to hear the former President botch the word nuclear; and, how I can empathize as I have a very difficult time saying the month of February. In fact as I think about it, I'm stuck with stuttering at Feb-----. But as difficult as that impediment or defiant behavior was to listen to; I could never really know which; the recent words spoken in public by a person holding the highest office in America was at best, unsettling. During commercial break the chatter centered around him not having done anything he should apologize for. And then I, the odd person out, commented: He said the "S" word. To which they questioned if he'd said the "SH" word. How odd I really felt when they alluded that those words were okay to say in this day and time. It didn't register for a person who has never been okay with the anything-goes crowd; whoever that are or were. In private company, I realize the language one speaks becomes his own. But in public he's the voice of everyone from the unborn to those breathing their last breath. I thought of teachers who already have a tough job with "potty-mouthed" students. Interestingly, I thought of the 3-year-old in the store who unleashed a tantrum, saying, "Mommy, Mommy, I'm sorry; I know I "screwed up." To which his mom would reply as she picked up her jaw from the floor: "Where did you learn such language?" To which the toddler would proudly reply as he pointed to the cover of TIME magazine's "Man of the Year;" the articulate and highly-educated President Barack Obama. I have one final thought as I conclude this article. In a few years suitors will begin shadowing the family's doorstep. I'm curious to know how he will handle it when, in front of his daughters and wife, one of the apologetic suitors runs a little late; and has to apologize with a cumbersome, "Sorry, I'm late. I know I screwed up. I should have taken a different route. Traffic was really backed up." With all due respect, I've been reproved for burdening Mr. President with such a seemingly minuscule issue. But life has taught me that it's in the smallest details that the biggest damage is sometimes done. Youth in general, and Black male youth especially, need an example of intolerance for the vile. For me, the "S" word comes too close to the "F" word. I'm not certain; but, I don't think either of those words are allowed in most homes, nor any classrooms. Please help strengthen our moral consciousness, Mr. President. Some language should only be used (if at all) in adult settings. I'd never offer insult to give him alternatives to this slang; but, I'm hoping leaders around the world won't think the majority of Americans are comfortable with inferred vulgarity in speech, action, or deed. In closing, many prayers of gratitude to God for Him blessing us with this new leader of our country. Just as I'm thankful that he keeps his need for a cigarette away from the eyes of the children; I'm equally hopeful he'll keep the sometimes crass and undeniably vulgar slang away from them as well.