Friday, March 3, 2017

The Oval Office and Grandmother's Rules!

Many years ago, folks had respect at all times in the Oval Office. In his book "A Different Drummer," former Reagan White House Aide Michael Deaver tells a story that epitomizes that respect.

As the story goes, he was accompanying President Reagan back to the Oval Office from the front lawn following the White Easter Egg Roll. Deaver describes the day as unseasonably warm and of how everyone was hot and sweaty upon their return. As everyone begins removing their suit coats and loosening their ties, he noticed that the President was not. Deaver suggested to the President that it would be fine if he did the same. With that, the President looked up towards his staff and remarked that his respect for the office and the hallowed they were occupying prevented him from doing so. With that Deaver said the entire staff tightened their ties, put there coats back on, and never again thought of entering the Oval in anything less than a suit and tie during the workday.

This last week, President Trump  invited presidents and administrators from Historically Black Colleges to the Oval Office for a meeting. During the meeting a photographer took a picture of the event. Everyone was standing around the President in a normal staged setting for photographers, except for White House advisor Kellyanne Conway who was sitting with on her feet on the Oval Office couch.

As for me, I’ll just say that she should have been standing and standing out of the way, not sitting in front of everyone on the couch, on her feet on the couch. BUT that should be a minor Protocol issue that can be corrected and not happen again; however, the press and liberals blew it up and then the ensuing retorts from the Right have followed keeping this in the news and making it a much bigger issue than it should be. Meanwhile, the realists of society sit here and give it the much-adieu-about-nothing head shrug.

But here’s the truth, the Oval Office is not just a work place, it’s not a lounging area, and it’s not a hangout spot. The Oval Office is a special place. This is the office of the Commander and Chief of the United States of America. This is where the people of America expect the work of the President to occur. It’s the one office where Americans demand the utmost of respect and decorum.

So whether it’s Kellyanne Conway’s feet on the couch, Obama’s feet on the Resolute Desk, or other frolicking in the Oval Office; it really doesn’t matter, disrespect is disrespect.

But like everything else in the last twenty-five years or so, both sides of the political aisle are trying to one-up each other on who has had the most, or the least respect for the Oval Office. As usual, it’s political gamesmanship, and another episode of the venomous back-and-forth that weakens us as One Country.

So how about rather than making it a Democrat/Republican issue, we simply use Grandmother’s age old test of, “Would you do that in your own home and with your own furniture?”

For the Record, that was a trick question. If you answered no, she would respond with, “Then don’t do it here.” If you answered yes she would respond with, “Well this isn’t your house!”

So just like Grandmother’s house, it’s never alright to disrespect the Oval Office, even unintentionally.

Keep your feet on the floor,
Bill

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