Rude and bratty heckler says she’s not a rude and bratty heckler
It makes me cringe — almost with a sense of embarrassment — when a political activist with whom I agree on certain points acts like a childish fool.
Such was the case the other day when Medea Benjamin (above), co-founder of the anti-war group Code Pink — repeatedly interrupted a major policy speech by President Obama at National Defense University in Washington.
Obama handled Benjamin’s rudeness gracefully (see HERE), but she won’t even admit to having heckled the president.
HERE‘s what she told Carol Costello of CNN:
“First, I want to take objection with the term ‘heckler,’” Benjamin began, “because I actually had an invitation to get in.” She did not specify how she got access to the event, but apparently she was able to attend as a member of the “press.” Benjamin also insisted that she “waited until the end of the speech” to begin shouting “You can close Guantanamo today,” when in reality her outburst came at the beginning of Obama’s section on that topic.
“You clearly interrupted the president, though” Costello told Benjamin. “That would be called heckling.” When the protester pushed back on that description, Costello added, “it seems the president was changing his tone on Gitmo and on drones, so you were kind of getting what you wanted anyway, so why go into this speech and heckle him when he’s kind of talking in a way that you should welcome?”
Benjamin maintained that her actions were justified because she wasn’t hearing the policy prescriptions in the speech about the drone program and Guantanamo Bay that she and her group had wanted the president to announce. She brushed off Costello’s assertion that she was perhaps “hurting her own cause” and seemed “rude” and “a little crazy” by pointing to the “fabulous response” she has received.
Oh, now I get it! If you don’t like what a public speaker is saying, you have every right to interrupt his speech. And if your interruptions meet with a “fabulous response” from other people like you…well, then, you’ve done no wrong.
This episode reminds me that all of us political types, lefties and righties alike, are sometimes uncomfortable with certain people who claim to be on our side of the ideological fence.