By Monsignor William J. Linder
The resignation of the Secret Service boss and the appointment of an interim replacement is only the first step in reforming an agency badly in need of a shake up. There needs to be a whole new mindset and culture shift in the Secret Service. When agents aren’t receiving the proper training to protect the President, and even the firearms set aside to protect him are not being tested on a regular basis, how are we to believe the job is really being taken that seriously? Shots are fired at the White House and a housekeeper is the one making the discovery and passing the information along to the Secret Service? We can only be thankful that the latest security breach, involving another White House fence jumper, the second in a little more than a month, was thwarted by Secret Service dogs.
I was very disheartened when a major U.S. Daily newspaper, the Boston Herald, ran a racist cartoon recently featuring President Obama and the first armed intruder who scaled the White House fence back in September, making it deep inside the official residence and workplace of the President of the United States. While an unflattering caricature of Obama is seen in the cartoon brushing his teeth, the intruder is pictured nearby in President Obama’s bathtub, asking him if he has tried the “watermelon-flavored toothpaste.” An obvious African-American stereotype. The cartoonist later issued what I consider to be a half-hearted apology (pleading ignorance to the overt racial overtones of the cartoon) and the Boston Herald also issued an apology, although its editors were oblivious to the offensiveness of the cartoon and sadly let it pass right through.
This takes me back to the civil rights era, when cartoons with racist overtones were run by newspapers all the time about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. One newspaper, in an actual article, even dared publish the name of the hotel where Dr. King would be staying—The Lorraine Motel—and his room number, the day before his assassination on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tn.
What is clear today is that the laxness shown by the Secret Service in protecting President Obama and his family must end. For the consequences of the slip-shod practices that have been passing for security are too grave to even consider.