Aim Higher

“Aim higher. You don’t need to talk. They are American citizens. They won an election. Take on their policies. The bottom line here is this is a diverse country.”

Part of a statement from Senator Lindsey Graham during a recent interview on Fox & Friends.

“He said, ‘Aim higher. Shoot higher.’ What am I going to do? Wait until we get somebody else in a higher position? A higher office? These are people that hate our country.”

A portion of President Trump’s response to Senator Graham’s call to tone down the rhetoric.

While I could go on ad nauseam about my extreme disappointment with the senator from South Carolina who once fashioned his political behavior after that of the late John McCain, even I don’t believe that presidential apologist and lackey Lindsey Graham was suggesting that the President set his sights on someone in an elected office higher than the four freshmen female members of Congress who were the most recent recipients of Mr. Trump’s bigotry and bogus patriotism.

Perhaps I’m being a bit old-fashioned, but during my lifetime when our presidents talked about improving our aim, it meant walking that high road, taking that next hill, or even reaching the Moon! As we take the time this weekend to celebrate the achievements of all those who brought about the success of the Apollo 11 mission, and to remember the martyred President that united all Americans behind a common goal of placing human beings on the lunar surface, I find the present state of our national discourse disgusting and disheartening.

A well placed wood carving behind the bar of McSorley’s Old Ale House in lower Manhattan bears the following warning for those patrons who might be lacking in proper tavern etiquette “Be good or be gone.” We are privileged to live in a country where a bartender has the right to tell unruly customers to go back from whence they came, but a president, or for that matter any elected official, is bound by their oath of office to accept, tolerate, and even embrace anyone who exercises their rights to legally express their dissatisfaction with the conditions of this 243 year old establishment called America. It would appear that the longevity and prosperity of both taverns and countries depends upon their ability to better serve the needs of an ever changing neighborhood.

Even McSorley’s, a place that had served the enlightened likes of Abraham Lincoln and Woody Guthrie during its long storied history, finally relented on its own bit of provincial prejudice by opening its doors to women clientele in 1970. Today every freshmen member of Congress would gladly be welcomed!

As for the President’s lack of welcome to the ladies of the House, many of his critics have used his latest Twitter feed channeling of McCarthyism as ironclad proof of his blatant racism. While I am not yet fully prepared to commit to that particular point of view, I am of the opinion that what he has done might even be worse than racism. Any politician that seeks to maintain their power and position by pandering to those who are the victims of their own fears and insecurities is guilty of committing an even more reprehensible act!

There is always the hope that through experience and a greater understanding of those differences that divide us, even the most hardened heart will conclude that we are all equal in this life and the next. But demagogues almost always take their ways to the grave.

Thankfully though, our Constitution provides that the person in the voting booth enjoys the same power as that person behind the bar. It’s simply a matter of …

Posted by Chris Poh for American Public House Review

Be Good or Be Gone

 

Based upon the tone at recent town hall meetings, it appears that some rather spirited Americans are experiencing the summer of their discontent. This may one of those rare times when our elected officials wished that they would have chosen to forego recess in favor of the tedium of late night legislative sessions in Washington.

 I know that I speak for the entire staff of American Public House Review when I say that we fully support the right of all of our citizens to assemble in order to express their concerns and opinions; but that we strongly disagree with the apparent lack of decorum and the disruptive tactics that are being implemented by certain individuals and groups under the protection of free speech. Hooliganism may be acceptable at a tea party in Boston or an English soccer match, but it degrades and dishonors American democracy. When we award undue credence to the clamor and clatter we greatly diminish the ability of those voices of reason, on either side of an issue, to be rightfully heard.

 During the protests of 60s and 70s it was common to hear the phrase “America, love it or leave it” being uttered by anyone that felt that those on the street were ill-mannered or in abuse of their First Amendment rights. I’m not about to advocate for the banishment of any American to Canada, especially since their public health care system probably doesn’t cover treatment for malice and malcontentedness.

Back Bar at McSorley's Old Ale HouseNo, what I’m suggesting is that we adopt the house policy at McSorley’s Old Ale House in Manhattan. Enshrined behind the bar in that beloved New York institution are the words “Be good or be gone.” Those words serve as a kindly reminder to all that enter that they have the right to gather, kick up their heels a bit, and to express their opinion on any matter, as long as they are well behaved and respectful of the rights of those on either side of the bar.

 We at American Public House Review raise our glasses to all those who honor and exercise our democratic freedoms with dignity and goodwill toward their fellow citizens.

 

Posted by: Chris Poh

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