The election is over. We have our President-elect. I didn't vote for him, but he will be my President, too. As I learned years ago, you don't have to respect the man (or woman, someday, I'm sure) but you have to respect the office. Let me be clear that I am speaking professionally and that my respect for Mr. Obama isn't in the negative, it just hasn't yet been earned. I hope that someday, in spite of my doubts and reservations, that Mr. Obama does things that will also earn my respect for him as a leader.
All that being said, I am bothered by what I have seen in this country since the election: poor winners. As much as the Democrats and Liberals have decried what they perceived as divisiveness by the Republicans and Conservatives over the past 8 years, they wasted no time diving in to the deep end of the "us and them" pool since their candidate won. Isn't this behavior supposed to be wrong...for everyone? Isn't it hurtful?
I have seen anti-Sarah Palin sites and postings, George Bush count-down clocks, impeach Bush movements. I even saw someone say someone else's opinion about the country's treatment of President Bush was wrong. And the language: hateful, vitriolic, aggressive, threatening, insulting, vulgar, base, crass...you get the point. Is this what the country has to expect for the next four years? A malignancy of discourse so repugnant and offensive that it scarcely seems worth writing, let alone reading? Is this what we have become?
Some will say it's President Bush's fault for starting it. That's it - the little kid's argument from the playground: "he started it." But, as adults, aren't we supposed to end it by not giving in to the need to spit back. I can hear it now - the religious mockery with people saying "Bush reaps what he sowed" but tell me, honestly, what rights did you lose under President Bush? What freedoms were taken? How did the President lie to you and about what? Remember - a lie requires deliberate intent to mislead...can you prove that? How? And conspiracy theories don't count. Do you have hard evidence of intent and action. Would it stand up in court? Acting on bad information isn't lying - it's just being wrong.
Look, what we had wasn't perfect, but neither is what's coming. Neither one hates this country and both want the same things - a safe, secure, prosperous and happy country. It's only methods that differ, not intent. As citizens, we just vote for the one we think has the ideas we believe will work.
I hope those of you who elected Mr. Obama will be brave enough to look at him through the same smudged and dirty glasses you used on Mr. Bush. Be as critical, and cynical, and quick to condemn. Hold his feet to the proverbial fire every minute of every day of his administration - be it four or eight years long. Use the same yardstick to measure him to that you used to measure the current President. Be the first to post everyone of his verbal gaffs on You Tube (c). That's the stuff real courage and loyalty are made from.
Then, in your free time, put on the other glasses - you know the ones, the rose-colored ones though which you watched Mr. Obama rise to glory, and look back at things President Bush did. You may find that he wasn't the ogre you pretended he was. Instead, he was just a man dealing with one of the most difficult times in our country's history the best way his education, experience and conscience told him.
Personally, I have already resolved to be a loyal opposition to Mr. Obama. I will praise when warranted, criticize when necessary and work very hard to make sure I don't let rhetoric cloud my judgment about which is appropriate.
- New England, United States
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