Am I overreacting?

I know, I know. I’m not exactly busting apart that “Republicans are a bunch of no-fun white guys” stereotype.

Still, there’s something about the White House that made me cringe and shake my head when I first saw the photograph of skateboarding legend Tony Hawk moving his way through it, hands in the air. Please don’t get me wrong — I have nothing against Hawk, or against skateboarding or skateboarders. In fact, Hawk is known for doing wonders for underprivileged kids, for giving a whole lot back to various communities and charities, and as far as I know I’ve never seen him in a mug shot.

Regardless, the White House is not a half-pipe. Yes, it is the “People’s House” and, yes, nearly every president has seen fit to make it his own–Nixon, I believe, installed a bowling lane–but watching somebody skateboarding through the home of every president since John Adams just rubs me the wrong way.

In fact, it was John Adams who prayed that “Heaven . . . bestow the best of blessing on this house and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it” and expressed his hope that “none but honest and wise men [shall] ever rule under this roof.” Regardless of what you think about its current inhabitant, or the previous ones, is it too much to ask that this president and future presidents treat their temporary home–the People’s House–with the respect it deserves?

Andrew Jackson voiced his opposition to a national bank from there. Abraham Lincoln contemplated the Civil War there. Harry Truman decided to bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki there. Staffers quietly moved Jackie Kennedy out of that house as Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson moved in.

The White House is a living museum of American History, not a skate park. I think it’s great that Barack Obama decided to honor famous fathers in advance of Father’s Day. Still, permitting even perhaps the greatest skateboarder of all time to ply his trade in those hallowed halls is a little over the top.

The president’s residence, just like the presidency itself, should be respected. That means no renting out the Lincoln Bedroom to prominent campaign donors. That means no hummers in the Oval Office bathroom.

Am I overreacting? Perhaps. I’m sure that Tony Hawk wasn’t grinding his board down railings or against statues, but that’s not the point. The point, instead, is that the president and his staff are stewards of the White House, just as the president himself is a steward of the presidency. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama already is displaying a drive-it-like-you-stole-it approach to the country as a whole, I don’t think it’s proper to have the same attitude toward his temporary home.

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Comments

  1. Hugh says:

    Jeff:

    You seem spot on concerning this issue. Respect is critical!

  2. Moonbeam says:

    President Barack Obama already is displaying a drive-it-like-you-stole-it approach to the country as a whole, I don't think it's proper to have the same attitude toward his temporary home.
    Read more.

    See you hit the nail right on the head! There is no longer respect in the White House. Obama himself has set the tone and many will follow. It's a " fist bump" era. Kinda like the AirForce 1 drive by.
    Right on.. Right on

  3. Chuck in San Diego says:

    What are the bets that when the current "First Family" leaves the place will be stripped of items in a similar fashion to when the Clintons departed?

    http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/t/trashingthewhitehouse.htm

  4. goddessdivine says:

    This just shows the lack of respect these people hold for the office. No, you are not overreacting. What an embarrassment. Please, let's get someone with some dignity, manners, and proper decorum to reside at 1600 Penn. Ave.

  5. Left Coast Rebel says:

    Jeff – I don't think that you are overreacting. It seems to me that many in our culture don't have repect for our founding principles and our institutions. Certainly using the White House as a skate park – even the implication of seems to lack taste. It just seems odd.
    Left Coast Rebel

  6. Anonymous says:

    i am with you on this 100%.
    there is a reason we call these people we elect, LEADERS. WE EXPECT TO POINT OUR CHILDREN TO THEM AS EXAMPLES.

    pump-fisting, people walking up to him on street of France to kiss him? will they dare do that to Prince Charles or Tony Blair?

    no wonder countries are suddenly not respecting us?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ya this is wrong. Tony Hawk is AWESOME. I love X games as much as any young punk and am a HUGE Shaun White fan to boot. BUT this was just wrong. Tony Hawk could have connected with youth by doing his thang outside the White House. For less than the President spent on date night with Michelle they could have brought in a half pipe.

    Jeff I am a Conservative not a Republican or a white guy and I disapprove of this.

    TJ

  8. Anonymous says:

    If everything goes as he plans don't count on the White House being a temporary stop for him.

    FREE

  9. WEEEEEEEE!, THE PEOPLE says:

    whats wrong with this? after all oral sex in the Oval Office is cool….. gone are the days of Reagan and not even removing your suit jacket out of respect. OBAMA IS A JOKE, AND HE'S INCLUDING THE WHOLE COUNTRY IN ON IT.

  10. MOMBASA MANIA says:

    its now a
    ….Kenyan
    …..Klown
    ……Kollege

  11. DR OZ says:

    Please be careful skateboarding in there with all his extended family walking around…. I hear Kenyan bones are brittle.

  12. JEFF SCHREIBER says:

    TJ, I consider myself a conservative as well (increasingly, a Libertarian). And I like Hawk.

    Your comments were spot on.

  13. Anonymous says:

    "Exactement," Jeff. This ride down the hall is just another example of the dumbing down and lack of respect for traditions and values. This is just sleazy fun time to me.

    "O Great One" and his wife will continue to degrade whatever they can to soothe their egos while satisfying their revenge on our country at the same time.

  14. Gail B says:

    Has anyone seen Obama/Soetoro show respect for anyone in the United States or representing the U.S.?

    The image of his deep bow to the Saudi king still dumbfounds me!

    Saul Alinsky would be proud of him, but I'm not.

  15. Claudia says:

    It just goes to prove that Obama disregards and disrespects everythig that is American tradition and honor. He has not a care about playing basketball in the white house, shooting hoops in the rotunda, where balls can go astray and break potentially priceless articles of our history, just as he sent the bust of Churchill back to England, he has absolutely no respect for anything that is precious to the AVERAGE American who might never even get to set foot into the White House, let alone view some of the content that he disregards every day, and we can't even voice our appreciation of the beauty that has been captured there by all of those past residents who made that house as a gift to US by securing for us certain memorable things of history,, onor and pride for our future to have as a keepsake.

  16. ENEMY OF THE STATE..FARM says:

    I'd love to see if the homeowners policy on the White House would payout for a broken skateboarders neck.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I firmly believe it is 0's plan to tear down every tradition and do it in your face. This is so in line with who he is. Shocked? No. Saddened? Yes.

  18. IZ says:

    I (who follow Hawk on twitter) logged on to twitter just after he did this, and at first I thought I must have read it wrong. I love hawk, and as a former skateboarder, I agree that there are some places where it is definitely not appropriate to skate.

  19. Robowang says:

    No Jeff, you are not over reacting.
    Obama has been using the White House as his own Advertisement set. Each time he does, he corrupts the venue for everyone else.
    I believe it's purposeful as Obama does not have respect for the Office OR the White House as the living quarters of the most powerful men on earth. Until now, anyway.
    We will see Coke or Pepsi using it next.
    And ABC broadcasting out of the East Wing is appalling. I don't like the Pres having his own News show, but I guess he can.
    But NOT in the PEOPLE'S house!

  20. Robowang says:

    Chuck in San Diego said…

    I won't bet against it.
    They'll probably get advice FROM the Clintons!
    Or, maybe not if Hillary STILL thinks she can be Pres, they want to save all the "good stuff" for her to take home.

  21. Anna Leigh says:

    Will wrestling or roller derby be next?

    These people are clueless when it comes to having any respect for tradition.

    Where's the outrage? Part of this country's dumbing down, I guess.

  22. DenverSportsRadio.com says:

    Did the boy/man sign a waiver on the insurance?

    Can you imagine if he had of fallen, the law firm would have been bitch boxer's husband out of oakland, I'll bet.

    Or what if a secret service man had turned a corner and the boy/man ran into a wall?

    Hey Tony….stick to the driveway.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I swear, when these folks finally leave, the place must be exorcised!

  24. Anonymous says:

    There goes the neighborhood!

  25. MUJERLATINA says:

    How do you say "ghetto" in Ebonics?

  26. Anonymous says:

    http://www.wethepeoplefoundation.org/UPDATE/Update2009-05-25.htm

    JEKYLL ISLAND:
    A NEW BEGINNING FOR AMERICA

  27. Rix says:

    I am fed up with conservatives' inability to name a spade a spade in blind deference to policial correctness. Open your eyes, folks! There are millions of black people, here and abroad, who rose above their tribal upbringing and victimization culture but Barack Obama, quite obviously, is not one of them. He is an ape, an upright walking chimp wearing a well tailored suit who was skilfully trained to talk. No human being would have so little respect to Western history as to bring the Queen of England a Chinese-made iPod. No human being with a shred of dignity would pull that Air Force One stunt over New York City. No human being would dare to publicly defile a symbol of the country he rules, and that's precisely what happened. That's the nature of the beast, my friends.

  28. Robert Nelson says:

    Good, bad, or indifferent Obama uses brilliant pr strategies to slap you in the face and get your attention.

    Your country is blessed to have such an intelligent, caring man as your leader. You do not have to look far right now to see places you would not want to live in and experience the tyranny going on.

    Ease up!

  29. Gail B says:

    Happy Father's Day!
    (Sunday, June 21)

  30. Anonymous says:

    Just curious, Mr. Nelson; what is your favorite flavor of Koolaid?

    Intelligent? Granted, but name a narcissistic cult leader who wasn't.

    Caring? Certainly not about the traditions, rooted in the Constitution, that made America great. Again, his type of "caring" is the same kind that was used by all of the famous cult leaders in recent history. The result is masses of brain-dead people who will follow him blindly to the Koolaid vats.

    If you want to worship a REAL agent of change, the most intelligent and caring person who ever walked the face of the earth, try Jesus Christ. If one thinks deeply and searches His words carefully, you will recognize a flawless path to the solution of every relationship and economic problem known to man.

    May I suggest that you start believing your "lying eyes" and recognize what is coming down instead of what the magical "Great One" with the dazzling smile says.

    Old Bob

  31. Anonymous says:

    I wouldn't even let my favorite grandson skateboard down the halls of my humble abode, nevermind the White House. I think this administration is a disgrace and there is not one day that goes by that I do not read something else outlandish that has been done.

  32. cal says:

    Of course no one should skateboard through the White House. This is an insult to all Americans and Obama knows it. He has no respect for this country. As for Hawk, I have lost respect for him. He should know better. This was a father's day event. Part of being a father is setting an example for your children. Hawk has failed miserably in this respect when it comes to teaching his children and others that you should respect the hallowed halls of freedom that have allowed for his financial success.

  33. Linda says:

    You are not overreacting. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who was angry about this . . . or rather, I was APPALLED when I saw this. But then again, what do you expect from a president who sits with his feet up on the desk in the oval office – a picture I saw recently on the internet. No surprise – this administration is an entire DISGRACE to not only the home of the most important person perhaps in the world, but unfortunately to this country as a whole. I don't buy the "younger generation" crap. The White House is, and should always be, almost a sacred place. Our country's entire history has passed through it in one way or another, and now it's been treated like the newest skate board ramp. Anger doesn't begin to express how I feel.

  34. Keri in Taxachusetts says:

    Yours is the only blog I've seen comment on how disrespectful it is to allow Tony Hawk to skateboard through the hallways of the White House since I saw the story on the news Friday night… Thank you for delivering this message, and it absolutely has nothing to do with who holds the office, but everything to do with what the White House means to the United States of America…

  35. Anonymous says:

    I've said it from the beginning and I stand by…Mr. Obama does not like America.

    We know that his wife hasn't liked America, only now since her husband became president.

  36. Still a Patriot says:

    Hi Jeff -
    You are not overreacting – Iam appalled & disgusted at his total lack of respect for this country shown over & over again.
    Old Bob – AMEN!

    Susan

  37. Bodenzee says:

    Just shows that Barry is short on class. His table may have a taxpayer provided white linen table cloth, but a BigMac is still consumed with plastic utensils.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Why not just let him ride the rails or down the stairs in the Capital Building, too?! Disgusting.

  39. HIRE HALL MONITORS says:

    Obama, THE EVIL (knievel) EMPIRE.

  40. BUT CAN HE SNOWBOARD? says:

    Maybe this winter Tony can snowboard down the hill from the Lee House and across the eternal flame on Kennedys gravesite.

  41. SKEET IS NEAT says:

    I shoot skeet, think Secret Service will let me in to show off my hobby?

  42. Anonymous says:

    Great words, TJ! Wise input…

    Well, let's see…Kennedy let Marilyn Monroe run nude through those hallowed halls. Clinton did the unmentionable with Lewinsky under the desk, and Obama let's a skateboarder do his "thang" (as TJ put it). Now, when you look at the three, it seems Obama's transgression is the lesser of them; however, with a deeper look, who do you think did it on purpose? Who did it as a deliberate act of disrespect? And, the cameras weren't around when Kennedy and Clinton did those things. That was all to be hush hush. No, this is what others have said…"in your face". Also, this isn't an act of trying to conncect with the youth. It's an act to manipulate them, and a message to the rest of us.

  43. JOHN BELUSHI says:

    ANIMAL HOUSE !!!

  44. 10 lb pressure says:

    Pretty sad when you develop a yearning to land mine the White House halls.

  45. BAN ROLL ON says:

    Anonymous @ 2:53……
    We are not allowed in the Capitol anymore because Harry Reid thinks we smell funny.

  46. 3 SHOTS AND A PIKE says:

    Is Tony available for performances at Arlington funerals?

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