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Letter to the editor: What would Harry do?

As I watched the State of the Union address, I was not shocked but I was dismayed by the behavior of U.S. Rep. Lauren Bobert of Colorado and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green of Georgia when they heckled the president of the United States. Being a student of Harry Truman for over 50 years, I asked myself, “What would Harry do?”

One can never be certain what a president would do in any given situation, but a student of Truman, who has come to understand the motivations, the values, the demeanor of the man can make a considered approximation of his response.

What would Harry do?

I believe President Truman would have stopped mid-speech, he would have looked straight at the perpetrator and he would have said words to the effect, “Representative [Taylor or Green] I don’t care in the least what you think or say about Harry Truman the man. I have my values and I live my values, and the judgment of others will not change either of them. But tonight, you are not heckling Harry Truman the man, you are heckling the president of the United States, and if you cannot separate the man from the office, you are not qualified to occupy the office you hold.

By your actions you bring shame on your country, you bring shame on the Congress, you bring shame on the party you belong to, and by inference you bring shame on those who elected you. As president of the United States, I will defend the office of the presidency. I say shame on you, and as president of the United of States I order you to take your seat and show respect for the office. What you do after you leave these chambers is between you and your constituency, and you and your conscience. Harry Truman the man is no gelding and he can take whatever you dish out.”

Now I may be wrong in my assessment of Harry Truman, but what I have just written was inspired by his interactions with Douglas MacArthur and Paul Hume.

Kermit Nielsen, Cloquet