Democracy at it's best.

"You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that. But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food. I would hope, from time to time, that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself," - Harry Taylor, American Patriot.

The Washington Post reports on a shockingly candid and tremendously brave encounter between George W. Bush and an ordinary American Citizen who happens to represent the 64% of Americans that think the President is a horses ass.

By the time Bush landed in Charlotte, these audience-participation sessions had produced some skeptical questions, some interesting back-and-forth, and even a few off-script comments by a famously disciplined president.

But until Taylor came along, no one had really gotten in Bush's face. No one had really confronted him so directly on the issues of war and liberty that are at the heart of both his presidency and his political troubles. And no one had given him the opportunity to look unbothered by dissent.

"I would hope, from time to time, that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself," Taylor told Bush after rattling off a litany of grievances.

Bush responded only to Taylor's complaint about warrantless eavesdropping. "You said, would I apologize for that?" he said. "The answer is absolutely not."
The Washington Post also manages to provide a little bit of real journalism too.
The president boasted of building democracy and rebuilding infrastructure in Iraq, without mentioning that his administration is scaling back funding for both goals. And he seemed eager to re-litigate the original reasons for the invasion.

"I fully understand that the intelligence was wrong, and I'm just as disappointed as everybody else is," he said. But he added: "Removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing for world peace and the security of our country."
Italics mine. By all accounts, the crowd was mostly made up of Bush supporters. North Carolina was won by Bush in both elections. To stand up in a hostile crowd (most others had courteous questions, comments, prayers or encouragement for the President) is the kind of courage that the Democratic party is lacking. How many Senators or Congresspeople have stood up and spoken truth to power so directly? Harry Taylor is an example to all Americans and Democrats in particular. We must not let Mr. Taylor be the only hero in stories like this and we must not settle for elected officials that don't do justice to the ideals of people like Mr. Taylor.

Go see the video at Crooks and Liars.

Credit to Gerald Herbert, Associated Press, for the Photo. The painting is, obviously, by Norman Rockwell.

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