Rex Rammell (kind of sounds like Rommell, hmmm….), a long shot gubernatorial candidate from Idaho, and also a Republican, recently “joked” about buying “Obama tags.” These tags are a reference to hunter’s tags–licenses essentially to hunt and kill animals. Now, not to sound too bleeding heart or liberal (which I kind of am, and I am not ashamed of it) but REALLY?!? Is it really a joke? Is it okay to joke about something like buying hunting tags for the President of the United States of America? And was it really a joke, or is Rammel just trying to stem the damage caused by his irresponsible and violent promoting remarks?
You can read the articles that describe the situation in more detail here
In the second article, he offers a kind of apology, saying:
“I was just being sarcastic. That was just a joke,” Rammell told the paper. “I would never support him being assassinated. “She kind of caught me off guard, to be honest with you.”
But when CBS 2 talked with Rammell, he said the paper got his words wrong.
“The comment didn’t come from me,” Rammell said. “A woman asked about Obama tags and I just joked back…” that you’d buy some, we asked? — “Yes. No, that we could sell some. They misquoted me.”
Now, it is possible that he was misquoted initially, but his “apology” is just as ridiculous as his statement. Oh I was being sarcastic. Oh, I wouldn’t buy Obama tags, but I would sell some (doesn’t that still encourage the idea of making hunting tags for the POTUS available to the public?).
It is time that people (Republicans and Democrats alike) start to realize that words have power, and that they should think before they speak. The woman caught him off guard. Ok, fine, but you know what anyone should do when we are caught off guard like that?
TAKE A BREATH! It is called a pregnant pause. Use the time it affords to collect your thoughts so that you can make an appropriate non-inflammatory remark (assuming that is what you want to do in the first place). But since Rammell did not take a breath or the time to actually THINK about what he was saying he found himself encouraging (albeit in a discreet fashion) the idea that it is acceptable to assassinate the President.
I do not care that it was a Republican who said this about a Democrat President. I would feel the same if it had been a Democrat saying this about a Republican President. Mr. Rammell wants to become a political leader (the Governor of Idaho) and as such he needs to be mindful of what he says. He (supposedly) has supporters and followers who will take him seriously, and it doesn’t matter what his intent was (he was joking, remember?). Assassinating the POTUS is not something that should be joked about, especially on the public stage. Now, if he has said this in the comfort of his own home, in a private conversation, that w0uld be one thing. But he didn’t. He made these remarks in a public forum for all the world to hear, and that is unacceptable, especially considering the fact that people have been openly carrying firearms at town hall meetings, some of which Obama atteneded.
Rhetoric like this encourages violence, even if it was just a joke, and should be reigned it, not by the government per se (I believe in free speech and think that it is the most important right that we as American citizens have) but by the very people making these remarks. As I said before: THINK before you SPEAK. Maybe then you would say something (moderatley) intelligent and wouldn’t have to apologize for an ill-conceived and poorly received “joke.”