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Friday, November 25, 2011

Homestead fans who booed first lady Michelle Obama should be ashamed of themselves; give NASCAR fans a bad name (WITH VIDEO)

I am thankful for a lot this Thanksgiving.

I have a wonderful family, including a beautiful 4-month-old daughter who has changed my life in ways I could never have imagined.

I have a job that I enjoy doing, which Is more than a lot of people can say (some might not even have a job at all).

And I have my health, so I can enjoy all the above.

And I’m thankful for something else, too: I’m thankful that I’m not one of the awful people attending the race at Homestead who felt the need to boo first lady Michelle Obama when she appeared at the race along with Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the vice president. These two women showed up in connection with a group that supports our country’s brave military members, and their families, so in a patriotic sport like NASCAR you would think they would be cheered like anyone else giving the command to start engines.

With a huge nationwide audience (the Homestead finale was the most-watched race broadcast on ESPN with a peak audience of 10.5 million), these yahoos in the crowd did the worst thing possible – they reinforced the belief that a lot of non-NASCAR fans have: that anyone who watches the sport is a racist , uneducated redneck.
Of course, that’s not true. Anyone who has followed the sport knows that there are all kinds of NASCAR fans: Some are smarter than others, but having been to tons of races I can say with confidence that a very small percentage would fall into the ignorant stereotypes that the sport’s detractors tend to portray.

So I was very dismayed when I heard the booing last Sunday, as I knew the type of reaction it would cause from the general public – which is exactly what happened when the clip of the booing spread to CNN and other mainstream media sources.

The free speech argument
Before I go any further, let me dispel the lame arguments people are using to try to defend this horrible display of disrespect to the nation’s first lady that unfortunately was aired for all the world to see.

IT’S FREE SPEECH, they scream and holler.

True, we do have the right to express our beliefs in America. And I’m not suggesting they didn’t have the right to speak their mind.

As a journalist, I cherish this right above all others. And if this had taken place at a political event, I wouldn’t have any issue. If President Obama and his wife had shown up at a rally to support his jobs bill, or some other scenario like that, boo all you want and line up the protest signs and chants. You have to right to speak out against politicians you don’t like.

Couple problems with applying that to Homestead, though. One, this wasn’t a political event, and it wasn’t even a politician – it was his wife. That’s just low-down to boo a guy’s wife, as if she has anything to do with whatever Obama policies you may disagree with. She’s his wife and the mother of his kids, not a policy adviser to him. Two, she was there standing beside a military family and spend the weekend drumming up support for military families, a cause that should be embraced by all. She did not mention any politics or even her husband’s name. By booing her, those fans were booing that military family in extension; and that’s completely ignorant.

If I was the first lady, I would have a really bad feeling about NASCAR fans right now – and that’s too bad, because most of us aren’t idiots like the boo-birds. She shows up for a good cause, and these fools try to inject politics into a nonpolitical appearance.

To top things off, conservative talkers made things worse in the aftermath. Notable nitwit Rush Limbaugh defended the booing, and added that a lot of people don’t like Michelle Obama because she acts “uppity”

"What the hell is there to cheer for?" Limbaugh asked. He said that people didn't like "paying millions of dollars" for Obama's vacations. "They understand it's a little bit of a waste," he said. "They understand it's a little bit of uppity-ism."

This guy (and the people who booed, many of whom are likely Limbaugh fans) just don’t understand how to talk or act like a respectable human being. You don’t use racist code words like uppity to describe the first lady, and you don’t boo someone who’s just trying to support a good cause. Her “vacations” have nothing to do with this Rush. It’s a matter of simple respect, something that far too many people fail to show these days in society in general. This is just the latest example of it.

Rudeness from left and right
Before you start calling me a whiny liberal who wants to suppress your right to boo Democrats, let me tell you that I know that this level of respect show be shown on all sides of the political spectrum.

The day after the Homestead incident, GOP candidate Michelle Bachmann appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show, and his house band (hip-hop group The Roots, led by drummer Questlove) played some very dubious intro music without her knowledge. The song was titled “Lyin’ Ass Bitch”, an obvious nod to the left-leaning band’s disapproval of the GOP candidate’s views.

Just like the booing of Obama at Homestead was not necessary and lacked respect, this is the exact type of situation occurring on the other side of the political spectrum. I happen to enjoy The Roots and their music, but I also recognize that they were way over the line to basically call Bachmann what the title of the song is. They have no business doing that, as it’s completely rude and yet another example of how nobody can have a healthy political discourse with their opposition nowadays without resorting to name-calling and insults.

Questlove is a smart man. If Bachmann bothered him so much, he could have gone on Twitter and started a conversation about Bachmann’s beliefs with the public. Or he could have written a column for a newspaper about whatever positions she had that he disliked. Playing an intro song that calls her a “Lyin’ Ass Bitch” is just not a good way to start any political discussion. He said he was trying to be “snarky”, but if that kind of rude name calling is acceptable our society has degenerated into a complete lack of civility.

Questlove later said, in a weak apology that nobody is buying: “The performance was a tongue-in-cheek and spur of the moment decision. The show was not aware of it and I feel bad if her feelings were hurt. That was not my intention.”
Come on dude. Calling someone that kind of name isn’t meant to hurt her feelings? Really?

So there you have it. People on all sides of the political spectrum are acting childish. We’ve gotten to the point where if anyone is associated with anyone we don’t agree with, we boo them and call them names. We act like children. Instead of recognizing that Michelle Obama was just there to support military families, these morons in the crowd decided to boo her based on the fact that her husband is president and they don’t like what he’s doing in office.

Simply pathetic, and it made me embarrassed to be a NASCAR fan. When I went online and read the deluge of “NASCAR fans are dumb rednecks” comments on Sunday night, I didn’t really have a reply, because that’s how the Homestead crowd had acted.
Now, almost a week later, on behalf of all the non-ideological NASCAR fans, I must say that we’re not all this bad. Most of us are good people who, whether or not we agree with President Obama, can be respectful when his wife comes to the racetrack to make an appearance.

And to the people who booed, do me a favor and don’t go to the races anymore: You give us NASCAR fans a bad name and I’d rather not see you around, or hear your ignorance come through my television set.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I was there, I would have booed her because I don't like how she has been first lady

November 25, 2011 at 5:59 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She deserved to be booed. She was there for votes. She and her husband don't give a darn about the troops. Do you really beieve the troops are that easily fooled? At NASCAR races the crowd is for the most part Vets. Liberal media is the only people that seem to be bothered by the well deserved boos. The fact that there has"nt been any comments to this point tells me most people agree. You're most likley still waiting for favorable comments.

November 25, 2011 at 6:57 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like it or not the First Lady is a public figure. As such she is a subject for either praise or criticism of the public.
So why would anyone be surprised that a generally conservative crowd would boo a left wing public figure? Certainly if it had been cheers no comment would have been made on it.
Booing after all is a harmless expression of ones feelings. Again as so much else about Nascar is these days, we have much ado about nothing.

November 25, 2011 at 6:58 AM 
Anonymous T.L. Headley said...

Michelle Obama is NOT just the First Lady and the mother of his kids.. she has injected herself into the political discussion many times, including her infamous "for the first time in my life I am proud of my country" line.
Second, this was by no means "non-political." It was just another campaign stop -- and an ill-advised one at that.
I applaud the NASCAR fans for showing Michelle Obama and "Dr." Jill Biden the raspberry. The Obama Administration is living in an Ivory Tower and doesn't have a clue (or a concern) about average American.
Third, your partisanship is showing through with your reference to Rush as a "nitwit" and your effort to slant this as some type of racist attack (by implication the Homestead fan reaction as well).
I don't care about Obama's race. Few of us out here on the right do. We do care about our country and about what the Obamas are doing to it. We do care about our children's future and we aren't about to give the Obamas a pass -- ANYWHERE and ANYTIME!

November 25, 2011 at 7:25 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't have a problem with the fans booing Michelle Obama.

I remember her saying she didn't like our country.

I also don't believe she cares for the cause she was promoting.

I however, along with most of NASCAR Nation do!

I think she has associated herself with it for political reasons only.

Apparently not just my opinion.

Harry in Calif.

November 25, 2011 at 8:59 AM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

1. I am mostly seeing partisan comments here. The exact problem I mentioned. Respect the fact that the first lady is there; don't inject politics into it.

2. Rush Limbaugh is a nitwit not because he is conservative, but because he said foolish, outlandish things that insult people and are racist at times too.

November 25, 2011 at 9:14 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If anyone is to blame, it Brian and NASCAR for not realizing that this could happen. Another example of them not knowing their fans!

November 25, 2011 at 11:21 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one with any common sense and general understanding of the real world has any respect for Obama, so I'm happy that many in the race audience in Miami booed another political stunt by the Obama team.

Obama and his out-of-touch team have ruined our country in world-record time. Obama will go down in history as the worst excuse for a President of all time!

November 25, 2011 at 4:53 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me begin by saying that I support Obama and am a die-hard NASCAR fan. However, I understand that many fans are Republicans; that is their right. But respect is necessary. In high school, I had the privilege of hearing President Ronald Regan speak. I did not approve of his policies, but I stood and applauded his introduction as he was president. Real people voted for Obama and watch NASCAR. Sunday's booing was an embarrassment.

November 25, 2011 at 9:29 PM 
Blogger trat said...

"These two women showed up in connection with a group that supports our country’s brave military members"

No the only reason they were there is to try to get votes for their husbands............The fans should have thrown tomatoes at them! neither care about the country, the heros, or NASCAR

November 26, 2011 at 8:20 AM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

I have a question for the people claiming Obama and Biden don't care about the troops and are only at the event for votes ... Do you know the women? Can you say that for sure, or are you just assuming? ... I would like to think most Americans support the troops, especially the wives of our president and vice president, and have no reason to believe otherwise.

November 26, 2011 at 10:01 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's refreshing to be called a stereotypical NASCAR fans these days. We're the only one's that can be called rednecks and bigots with no regard.

Bless your liberal heart.

Shayne Flaherty
Raleigh, NC

November 26, 2011 at 6:43 PM 
Blogger trat said...

you said: "I would like to think most Americans support the troops, especially the wives of our president and vice president, and have no reason to believe otherwise."

Matt...........their past actions and words show what their true feelings are!

November 27, 2011 at 4:17 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those horrible people are called race fans. They are an extreanly valuable commodity and you as a supposed jourlenist should understand that. I am sorry that you have Such disdain for sport that you do not care for. Maybe it is time to do something else.

November 27, 2011 at 4:37 AM 

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