Shame Day: Americans and the Environment

Today is Election Day for the United States of America, so I suppose this is just as good a time to write about this as any. While the embedded video below “stars” Mitt Romney, he is in no part the focal point of this post.

The video was brought to my attention via a tweet by Canadian webcomic artist Kate Beaton, which linked to an article titled “Watch Romney grin awkwardly as his audience shouts down climate activist.”

A breakdown of said video:

  • Mitt Romney has some things to say about ways to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.
  • A man yells at around 00:22, and says  “What about climate? What about climate, that’s what caused this monster storm!”
  • He holds up a sign that says “End Climate Silence.”
  • This is almost instantly met with boos.
  • The boos turn into a rousing cheer of “USA! USA!”
  • At around 36 seconds in his sign is violently yanked down.
  • Seemingly unperturbed, the man tries in vain to yell above the crowd; he does not succeed.
  • 00:54 has the camera zoom in nice and close on Romney’s awkward grinning face.
  • Thirty seconds after the man’s outburst, Romney continues his speech where he left off as if nothing happened.

Even watching that video for a third and fourth time to write this I’m still both shocked and angry. This man was raising a legitimate point about  the source of the storm, and he was shouted down. What’s more, he was shouted down by dozens of people yelling the name of their country over and over and over.

Why did this happen? Sure, the guy may have been interrupting what was ultimately supposed to be a way for Gov. Romney to raise support, but is that a reason to boo him? Is it a reason to yank his sign down? You can see the man struggle to keep it up and then decide it’s not worth the trouble.

As a presidential candidate, can you stop Americans from crying “USA! USA! USA!”? Yes. You can. When what is typically a patriotic cheer is used to instead bully someone and invalidate their opinion. It is disgusting what happened, and anyone involved should feel disgraced by their behaviour.

A reply to Beaton’s tweet put it well when he said:

“Nero, what about the fire?” “USA! USA! USA!”

Oh, and here is an actual video where Romney basically says that caring about the environment is a joke:

5 responses to “Shame Day: Americans and the Environment

  1. Juat wanted to throw this out there. Having been to more than a few political rallies, I can tell you that the vast majority of the people there had no idea what he asking about. They booed because he was hackling and then chanted USA because for some reason that’s what you do at political rallies now to drown out hecklers. I’ll be the first person to tell you that republicans need to change their stance on the environment and climate change, but I’m not sure this is the best example of ignorance. More just the excitement of a political campaign/rally.

    • I definitely didn’t know the full context of the first video, so thanks for shining a little bit of light on that. I am a little troubled by that particular chant used to drown out any voice, but I guess that’s just what happens.

      • Yeah, I’m definitely not arguing with you on that one. Basically they do that because they don’t want to drown out negativity with booing, and because they don’t want to give the opposition a video clip of the entire crowd booing at a Romney event. That’s too easy to use in an ad.

  2. I’m less concerned about the first video (hordes of people being stupid, as hordes of people often are), and more concerned about the second. For one, I had no idea that Obama was in charge of natural disasters and that he could have stopped the hurricane from happening. So thanks for pointing that out, Romney.

    And I understand that this is the way of campaigns – getting dirty to put down your opponent. But I don’t like that he’s using pain and suffering to get ahead, and making light of it in the process.

    Third, his face annoys me in both videos. I think it’s something about his eyebrows. They make him look both startled and cocky. Especially in the first video.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Pingback: Explaining American Politics to Non-Americans – Part II: The Republican Party | Culture War Reporters

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