Every now and then I receive a note or a phone call from a Wednesday Journal Viewpoint reader. For the most part, my polite followers flatter me. That said, I have received a few nasty comments. I received a call from an unidentified woman at 7:15 a.m., the morning after the State of the Union Address. She called to say that she knows I will write something “terrible” against “a true American Republican woman, Marjorie Taylor Greene, who spoke truth.” Before I could respond, she hung up!

My early-morning caller was correct about my plan to write about Congresswoman Greene and criticize her behavior during the State of the Union Address. I was appalled by her inappropriate outburst, disrupting the President’s address to the nation. I do not agree with Greene’s comments, though I’m supportive of her right to express her views.

However, I was distressed by her embarrassing display of poor judgment and her lack of decorum in the Congressional chamber. She took the role of a heckler instead of a dignified, self-respecting member of the House of Representatives. There is a time and place for action and criticism. Interrupting the President’s State of the Union Address is neither the time nor the place for such behavior. Were she not a member of Congress, security would have escorted her out of the chamber.

Most of us are aware of the disdain Rep. Greene has for President Biden and Democrats. However, as a member of Congress, she took an oath to support our Constitution and our democracy, and she has an obligation to respect the office of the presidency regardless of whomever the president is. As a member of the opposing political party, she may, and I believe that she should, express her views, but she should do so in an open forum, or perhaps on social media.

My views are the complete opposite of Ms. Greene’s publicly-stated views. She has been very vocal in support of conspiracies theories, white supremacy, and of course Trump’s “big lie” about the 2020 election results. Greene readily talks about her anti-immigration stance, in addition to uttering racist and anti-Semitic slurs. Of all the ugly and hateful statements she has made, I believe her most dangerous words were those in full support of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection, an attempted coup to overthrow our democracy.

How can she be trusted as a representative of our government, swear an oath of office to uphold the Constitution, and then hate the government enough to support its demise? Various points of view expressed openly are critically important in a democracy. Civil, oppositional discourse is a valued component in making appropriate decisions and policies. For this to take place, we need to have qualified leaders offering differing viewpoints. We must vote for legislators who will be responsible and knowledgeable leaders, and not merely political hacks. Honest leaders with sound judgment are needed if we want to end the partisan idiocy displayed. Yet very recently some experienced, highly qualified Democratic House of Representatives committee members have been replaced by unqualified people like Marjorie Taylor Greene and George Santos, just because they are Republicans. Does this emphasis on party affiliation rather than on qualification make any sense? It should, no matter which party is “in charge.”

Our nation is faced with many challenges. Perhaps I’m too idealistic, but I truly believe in the possibilities that our system of governance, guided by our remarkable

Constitution can accomplish. Our leaders need to be non-partisan people of integrity, who reflect the diversity of people in this great nation. I still remember Miss Oakley, my super-patriotic sixth-grade civics instructor, enthusiastically teaching our class about how great our democracy is. I still feel that the “great American experiment” is just that … great — and possible, too.

Let’s support our democracy by exercising our precious right to vote in free and fair elections, and choosing truly qualified people who respect their elected positions and act accordingly.

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