Michelle Obama told off a heckler who yelled at her when she was trying to give a speech yesterday.

Good for her.

Such protests are traditionally the way that the left wing fringe tries to get publicity for their causes, but alas, with the start of the tea parties, heckling and interrupting speakers is now a bipartisan activity.

Such things should not be tolerated, yet one wonders when some in the press seem more worried about the protester’s feelings, even though this was a professional protester who had a history of disrupting meetings and even mild violence against those she disagrees with.

Luckily, the protester was ejected, but only after the audience supported Michelle’s outburst against being interrupted.

However, most of the news stories were sympathetic with her agenda, and so sorry that she had her feelings hurt that they allowed her a lot of print to talk about her agenda  rather than what the First Lady talked about (while most of the articles covered the protest and the protester’s agenda in detail, ironically they ignored the substance of Mrs. Obama’s talk, about how gun crime and gangs are killing our children…)

Incivility in public events (or in private events such as this one or when someone gives a talk at a college)  is a growing problem.

Essentially, it allows protesters and hecklers to stop someone else’s freedom of speech, and when it occurs in private meetings, it is especially ominous, because it means someone associated with the institution is cooperating with the heckler.

In my last post, I referred to Professor Woodruff’s book on how public ceremonies reinforce civil society, and why those attending are required to respect the traditions used in these ceremonies, even when they might disagree with part of the ceremony.

When it comes to meetings and speeches, where everyone wants to have their say, what does one do?

This was the problem that General Roberts confronted:

Henry Martyn Robert was an engineering officer in the regular Army. Without warning he was asked to preside over a public meeting being held in a church in his community and realized that he did not know how. He tried anyway and his embarrassment was supreme. This event, which may seem familiar to many readers, left him determined never to attend another meeting… 

To bring order out of chaos, he decided to write Robert’s Rules of Order, as it came to be called

Yes, there are rules, and although breaking rules was the god of the baby boomers, we now are inheriting a society that is in danger of anarchy and even civil polarization, partly because the extremes on both sides of the issue are willing to stop being civil (and the press contributes to controversy to sell papers or get television ratings).

So maybe you might want to review Robert’s rules of order before you hold a meeting in your area, and shame those who refuse to cooperate. (librivox has it in audiobook here)

Finally, one wishes that the press would stop “rewarding” those who break the rules by giving them their two seconds of fame, and maybe even give the one that these bozos are trying to censor a few paragraphs to explain their point of view.

The press bias against those of us who follow the rules is one of the reasons that incivility is becoming so common in today’s world



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