Friday, October 22, 2004
Violence in the name of peace
Note: On Thursday night, an antiwar protestor in Milwaukee spit on a returned Iraqi war veteran, Marine Major Jerry Boyle. Boyle is a Republican candidate for Congress in Milwaukee. Boyle served in Operation Iraqi freedom and was posted to Baghdad shortly after the invasion. Although he is an underdog in the race, he has shown up for every campaign forum, where he's won high marks for his civility and willing to face hostile audiences...
On my show this morning, Boyle described himself as "livid" over the incident, but had restrained himself from responding in any way...
Here's the story as relayed to me by one of his campaign aides:
I would like to relay to you a disturbing and unsettling incident which happened tonight at the Alverno College debate between Gwen Moore and Jerry Boyle.
Boyle has attended every debate and forum he has been invited to, even ones where it has not been the friendliest of audiences receptive to his Republican message.
Last night's debate at Alverno College was one attended by mostly people which will not vote for him in next month's election, but was a well run and fair debate none the less.
The questions were pointed and thoughtful and the answers were equally to the point. The topics ranged from foreign policy to the economy. The stark contrast between Moore and Boyle was pretty clear to those in the audience. Boyle was to the point and made it evident that although his was not the most popular opinion in the room, this is what he believed in.
Many people approached him following the debate to discuss the topics and their views and several said although they did not agree with his stance, commended him on making great arguments and being forthright in his presentation.
One man, unfortunately took the opportunity to ruin the evening.
As Boyle was walking from the stage to the reception, a graduate student from UWM spit on Boyle as he passed by.
Boyle, restraining himself, went to the restroom to clean up let this incident go.
I, however, did not.
After seeing Jerry wipe the spit from his jacket, I asked him what was going on and asked the young man why he spit on him.
Although it was witnessed by several people (at least five) he denied it and approached me looking for a confrontation. He walked up to me and got right in my face.
I asked him why he spit on Jerry and he said he didn't but should have because Jerry didn't answer his question to his satisfaction.
He called me an imperialistic pig and said that I was a puppet for an imperialistic regime. I asked him if that was a new term he had just learned in school and that I was very proud of him for using it in a complete sentence.
To make a long story short, after a little more verbal back and forth, he was ushered away by his teacher and escorted from the building.
My point is this. Are we now at a time when, even at a debate with dissenting views have the right to spit on each other?