Shameful behavior

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by SpeedoGuy, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. SpeedoGuy

    Gold Member

    May 18, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Last night I attended a debate on US foreign policy between Howard Dean (newly minted chair of the DNC) and Richard Perle (prominent neocon) at the Schnitzer auditorium in downtown Portland. As expected, Dean received a standing ovation from the capacity crowd while Perle received a far less enthusiastic welcome punctuated by a few boos and hisses.

    The lights went down as both speakers were given time to lay out their respective positions about the direction of US foreign policy since 9/11. Dean spoke first for 15 mins followed by Perle. When Perle began to speak about the administration's pre-emptive rationale for military action the audience became restive and reacted with a multitude of boos, catcalls and hisses. Though I don't like Perle or his ilk, I was embarrased by the audience's poor behavior as they repeatedly interrupted the man during his solo.

    Then it got a lot worse. A few audience members stood up and shouted insults at Perle, ruining the course of his talk. The moderator called for quiet but the catcalls and bedlam got worse and before long some audience members were shoving each other and confronting each other angrily. As the noise and tension mounted, someone close to the stage hurled a boot at Perle's lecturn and then leapt toward the stage. The shoe was filled with powder that created a white dust cloud on the stage and the sudden surprise of the attack visibly frightened Perle. The screaming protestor was carried away by security as the auditorium reacted in confusion.

    After a few moments order returned and Perle regained enough composure to continue on his discussion. But it was apparent that he was shaken and distracted and his presentation suffered as a result. The debate went on without further interruption but Perle continued to receive occasional boos.

    So is this what were coming to? Bona fide debates on policy not possible due to partisan tension ratcheted so high? A sad state of affairs. As I said, I don't care much for Richard Perle and his ever shifting justifications for the Iraq war but he does deserve a chance to respectfully speak his piece without fear of being interrupted and attacked. The behavior of much of the audience embarrassed and discouraged me.

    CNN's article about incident here.

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