Is it ok to publicly bash President Obama?

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  • #614722
    Letakein Girl
    Participant

    Im a bit disturbed by a speech one of my teachers made in school the other day…

    She was talking about the lack of respect that is so obvious in today’s generation, and as an afterthought, she added, “and it’s not just you, girls! Even the president of the US has no concept of respect. He was the first president to have put his feet up in the Oval Office.” Or something like that.

    And it bothered me when she said that! Sure, Obama is not on the list of Top Ten Presidents. But to bash him like that? Isn’t that a lack of kavod malchus?

    Anyone agree?

    #1055638
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    In a representative democracy we elect officials and then bash them. It is the rule.

    #1055639
    akuperma
    Participant

    We hired him. He’s our employee. Can you criticize the janitor in your shul if he leaves a mess? What about the cook in the pizza who messes up your slice? Your cleaning lady if you are rich enough to have one?

    America is a democracy (small “d”) and a republic (small “r”), and the president is at most the senior civil servant – if there is an analogy to a ??? in American law, the constitution makes it very clear it is the “people”. Note how in England laws begin with “I the king/queen …” am making this law, whereas the American laws begin with “We the people…”. In a democratic republic, the leaders are just are fellow citizens whom we have assigned to do some work for us. Nothing more. If they want respect, they need to earn it.

    #1055640
    ubiquitin
    Participant

    What should disturb you is that your teacher repeated a silly canard. a simple google search will reveal pictures of other presidents including Ford and Bush (jr) with their feet up in the oval office.

    That being said it is perfectly acceptable to bash a President, that is one of the great things about a Democracy The PResdient serves you. But only when called for, not for silliness especially when it isnt true (and easily disproved)

    #1055641
    TheGoq
    Participant

    Yes we can attack him for his harmful policies and mismanagement of our country but personal attacks based on anything else such as race, religion, looks, and so on are wrong, it irritates me when opponents make fat jokes about Governor Christie if you disagree with his policies than take him to task for that not his weight.

    #1055642
    mw13
    Participant

    I don’t think that the concept of kavod malchus applies to democratically elected president (which is why we don’t make a bracha upon seeing one). That said, I do believe that there is a basic level of respect and appreciation that we should be showing to the head of a state that has been so good to us, which is unfortunately often not the case.

    #1055643
    FrumRav
    Member

    Letakein Girl, according to ur definition is call Mr. Obama a secret muslim, bashing him

    #1055644
    the plumber
    Member

    To all those except letakeingirl

    Question: if/when you go visit the president, would you go in a suit?

    If your answer is no, i dont believe you

    If your answer is yes, why?

    Is it not because of kavod l’malchus

    Obviously he is not a “king” but he has the “final” say in our country

    Its definately not a good thing that its known that the jews dont support him

    #1055645
    american_yerushalmi
    Participant

    Our people are guests in the United States. Common sense if not halachah dictates that one publicly evince respect for the president and the presidency. Even if you disagree with his politics, even if his rule is not considered “malchus,” and even if he really did put his feet up on the desk. He is the president for the next 2 years or so, and he holds considerable power and influence in his hands.

    #1055646
    haifagirl
    Participant

    Question: if/when you go visit the president, would you go in a suit?

    If your answer is no, i dont believe you

    In the Oval Office or on the golf course?

    #1055647
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    I would wear blue jeans and an olive green T-shirt with a picture of a camel.

    #1055648
    akuperma
    Participant

    Most rabbanim I know would dress respectably to meet you. Dressing respectably in public has nothing to do with the rank of whom you are dressing for.

    #1055649
    the plumber
    Member

    There is a huge diff bet respectably and a suit

    #1055650

    I think even if you don’t like someone you should still respect them

    #1055651
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    the plumber,

    he doesnt have “the final say” if congress did their job correctly they could stop him

    #1055652
    writersoul
    Member

    I agree with ubiquitin. It just wasn’t an intelligent comment.

    As Obama is a public servant, criticism is perfectly valid and even warranted, considering that we are part of a government “by the people, for the people.” In fact, the ultimate criticism is not voting him back into office- and that’s the point of democracy. But ad hominem attacks are not criticism. He deserves those only in the same way that any other person would (generally, I’d say, not at all).

    the plumber: I believe that most people do not wear a suit in front of the president because of kavod malchus, but rather because, over time, a certain etiquette has developed as far as the way we behave in front of a president. Or, perhaps, it may be kavod malchus (the position, but mostly the mystique, power and “coolness factor” of the office) and not specifically “kavod melech.”

    #1055653
    profound101
    Participant

    curious yenta: Why?

    What is your definition of respect?

    Respect is a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity, and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem. Respect can be a specific feeling of regard for the actual qualities of the one respected. – Wikipedia

    If you don’t like someone it is reasonable to assume you do not hold them in high esteem. It is therefore quite difficult to respect them.

    #1055654
    The little I know
    Participant

    Respect needs to be earned. One should not be honoring anyone outside of parents (it is a mitzvah) or anyone else for whom the Torah is specific in the obligation to honor. Otherwise, the individual must deserve it. The president, in the opinion of many (including me), has not earned anything but awards for being the opposite of what deserves respect. We might engage in some political debate, and perhaps should. But unless I recognize that he is honorable, I have zero obligation to offer him a drop of kavod. I would not do disrespectful things to him, more out of fear of consequences. But why must I accept the trashy things he has done, in my opinion, to the Constitution, to foreign policy, to his acceptance of radical Islamic terror, etc.? Respect? Tell me why?

    #1055655
    kj chusid
    Participant

    Obama is to pro Israel for me to like him

    #1055656
    BarryLS1
    Participant

    I have a little different take on this. First, I have no respect for Obama, his actions or his policies. That being said, no teacher should impose their politics on students no matter their beliefs.

    Look at the leftist brainwashing taking place on college campuses. The country is raising a bunch of ignorant people devoid of basic knowledge.

    Neither side should be allowed to do this.

    Bashing of politicians is perfectly acceptable if you speak the truth, not made up drivel.

    #1055657
    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Obama is to pro Israel for me to like him

    I think this is the first time ive ever heard that said before

    #1055658

    (Without addressing any issues…)

    This is not the first such occurrence I’ve heard of:

    A teacher made misinformed negative remarks to

    my sister’s class about the First Lady’s choice

    of clothing for her husband’s second Inauguration Day.

    #1055659
    ☕️coffee addict
    Participant

    spot on barry!

    people cant complain that it shouldnt be done to Bush but then do it to Obama

    #1055660

    Profound, because I learned in school that even if someone is like really mean and you get all nervous by them and you really don’t like them they always have a good side to them and you just have to find the good in someone and not the bad so when you find that maybe he has some good in him then you can finally respect him

    #1055661
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=887&st=&pgnum=274&hilite=

    It’s a shailah whether or not he has the din of a melech, but even if he doesn’t, there should be some level of respect given.

    It’s one thing to criticize his policies, or even his behavior, if the point is to learn something from it (which actually might have been the case regarding the OP), but the immature name calling is wrong.

    #1055662
    Shalom
    Member

    I’m glad people are talking sense about the respect we must have for our leadership. Anyway, it can be a huge chillul Hashem when Jews lower themselves to bash Obama in public, it can possibly lead to Jews being disliked by politicians, and it cultivates bad middot, in addition to the other halachik issues with doing that.

    #1055663
    The little I know
    Participant

    There is another question here, and it is a bit off the topic for this thread.

    What is a teacher doing discussing politics with his/her class? If the class is about politics, one might wonder whether this should be part of the curriculum. But it certainly does not fit in a class of Limudei Kodesh.

    #1055664
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    It’s a legitimate hashkafah issue.

    #1055665
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Americans are not polite. Politeness is very rude.

    #1055666
    profound101
    Participant

    I do not condone the public bashing of anyone. However freedom of speech still exists unless you say something untrue (which may have been the case in the first post on this thread).

    Curious yenta: Firstly I think this mostly refers to Jews however I will take your advice and while I’m at it I will try to do the same for Mr. Abbas (not that I am drawing any parallels…).

    #1055667
    Jersey Jew
    Participant

    That wasnt a BASH that was the EMES!

    #1055668
    Jersey Jew
    Participant

    keep in mind, when moshiach comes or when we had a melech in EY, ANY criticism or anything said of the king was subject to mo’rid b’malchus death.

    Example, you couldnt even make an off hand comment of ” he’s a fool.”

    #1055669
    The little I know
    Participant

    Hey, Mark:

    The melochim to which you refer were qualified. Their experience was more than media popularity and having been a community organizer. Furthermore, no one achieved that position because of their skin color and the “political correctness” in the folly of “affirmative action” to promote the unqualified to positions of power. The current leader has been a total disgrace, and has yet to earn any of the respect that should be given to a head of state. We have someone who prioritizes golf to major world events, does by inaction and by action negative things to the country’s allies and friends, befriends every rogue state and terror group – essentially destroying his own country! He also gave us Obamacare, an absolute wrecking of the health care scene, plus uncountable other policies to destroy this country from the inside (immigration, open borders, silly taxes and taxing policy, etc.). He has used his position to be an enemy of the country that he leads. Our tafkid is to learn to tolerate this destruction and to elect someone who can reverse some or most of this disaster. Respect? He is a melech? Come now.

    #1055670
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Come, now, The little I know, is he really worse than Paro?

    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9596&st=&pgnum=84

    Second Rashi on the page.

    #1055671
    charliehall
    Participant

    “according to ur definition is call Mr. Obama a secret muslim, bashing him “

    I don’t know if it is bashing him or not, but it is motzi shem ra. It is also spreading a lie started by an anti-Semite.

    #1055672
    charliehall
    Participant

    ” it irritates me when opponents make fat jokes about Governor C

    Christie “

    Me, too. I don’t like Gov. Christie’s policies or his attitude but the fat jokes are completely out of line. It would serve Democrats right were he to be elected President after a backlash of sympathy for the unfair abuse. A lot of Americans struggle with weight and this is nothing to laugh about.

    #1055673
    charliehall
    Participant

    “We have someone who prioritizes golf to major world events”

    Eisenhower played far more golf than Obama, and Wilson far more golf than Eisenhower. It can be seriously argued that Wilson won a World War while playing golf! And before then, John D. Rockefeller, Sr. became the richest man in the world while playing golf. You know that Obamahaters have nothing serious to say against Obama when they bring up golf.

    ” He also gave us Obamacare, an absolute wrecking of the health care scene”

    The truth is of course the opposite of what you say. Obamacare made it possible for the first time for people with pre-existing health conditions to get health insurance. In the states that took the program seriously, like New York and Kentucky, individual insurance costs dropped and coverage expanded. And the spectacular increases in healthcare costs that had been destroying business after business and threatening the entire US economy have been curbed.

    “(immigration, open borders,”

    You clearly aren’t a Jew, or at least you don’t think like one. Would that Franklin Roosevelt had risked impeachment in the late 1930s to protect illegal immigrants the way Obama is doing! Jews have always depended on open borders to survive!!!

    #1055674
    charliehall
    Participant

    “I think this is the first time ive ever heard that said before “

    The anti-Semite who dreamed up the “Obama is a Muslim lie did so because he didn’t like Obama having so many Jews as close advisors and didn’t like Obama’s support for Israel.

    But you can also find similar sentiments on the internet sites of the Arab and Iranian rashaim.

    #1055675
    charliehall
    Participant

    ” However freedom of speech still exists unless you say something untrue”

    Under US law you can even say things that are false; although you might get sued you won’t be imprisoned. However, while secular law has no penalties against false and defamatory attacks on against public figures unless they are made with actual malice, halachah may be a lot more strict here. The motzi shem ra that Obama is either a Marxist, or a Muslim, or not born in the US would seem to be particularly problematic.

    #1055676
    charliehall
    Participant

    “Look at the leftist brainwashing taking place on college campuses.”

    There isn’t much of that going on. At today’s college campuses, there is so much partying and drinking that students aren’t susceptible to being swayed by much of anything. 🙁

    #1055677
    charliehall
    Participant

    “Its definately not a good thing that its known that the jews dont support him “

    Actually, the exit polls were pretty consistent in showing that Obama got the votes of about 70% of Jews in the last election. The Republican Jewish Coalition exit poll even showed him winning by 4% over Romney among Orthodox Jews. Many Republicans are trying to make Israel a partisan issue and Baruch HaShem they are failing.

    #1055678
    kfb
    Participant

    Yes,it’s called the first amendment. Obama hasn’t taken that away from us yet, has he?

    #1055679
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    You know that Obamahaters have nothing serious to say against Obama when they bring up golf.

    Would you similarly say, “You know that Christiehaters have nothing serious to say against Christie when they bring up weight.”?

    It may be true that arguments without substance are made against both sides of the aisle, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t arguments that are substantive.

    #1055680
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    halachah may be a lot more strict here. The motzi shem ra that Obama is either a Marxist, or a Muslim, or not born in the US would seem to be particularly problematic

    The halachos of lashon hara and motzi shem ra are not applicable here.

    Let’s just say that it’s a terrible midah to lie about someone, and leave it at that.

    #1055681
    ubiquitin
    Participant

    More than a terrible midah.

    It makes the speaker look foolish and detracts from any real issues.

    I’ve heard this nonsense about feet on table or being in the oval office without jacket /tie. It is so easy to refute with a simple google image search yet I hear it repeated over and over.

    #1055682
    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    It makes the speaker look foolish and detracts from any real issues.

    It does. My point is that if we’re going to bring halacha and frumkeit into the discussion, let’s try to be accurate (or risk looking foolish and detracting from the real issue).

    #1055683
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Being a Muslim would not disqualify a person from being president. And it shouldn’t.

    #1055684
    ubiquitin
    Participant

    Reb Yid. It shouldnt but as of today 2015 It absoultly would

    (which is why the lie was started int he first place)

    #1055685
    charliehall
    Participant

    ‘Would you similarly say, “You know that Christiehaters have nothing serious to say against Christie when they bring up weight.”?’

    Yes, I would.

    #1055686
    👑RebYidd23
    Participant

    Ubiquitin, legally it doesn’t.

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