It’s always hard to write something that you’re pretty sure is going to upset or frustrate groups of people — because you never know which group to go after first.
So, let me start with two basic thoughts and then I’ll explain them.
Thought #1: The Democrats need to stop saying what a great president Barack Obama is, because he hasn’t really done anything.
Thought #2: The Republicans need to stop saying what an awful president Barack Obama is, because he hasn’t really done anything.
It was frustrating and tiring to hear all my left-leaning friends and colleagues and the liberal media speak of President Obama on Inauguration Day as if he is almost something more than human. Guess what? He’s a human being who puts his pants on one leg at a time and who might do great things but also might make mistakes.
But it’s been equally frustrating and tiring to hear my right-leaning friends and colleagues and the conservative media speak of President Obama as if he is something less than human. Guess what? He’s a human being who puts his pants on one leg at a time and who might do great things but also might make mistakes.
I read in USA Today about how an elementary school in Hempstead, N.Y. has already been re-named to honor the president. Seriously? Doesn’t this border on fanaticism and hero worship? Are we that desperate as a country and a people? Have things gotten so bad that we must manifest hope in a single individual and then cling to him like some kind of life raft that will carry us away from the wreckage and return us again to a life we can enjoy? How sad.
Things are simply not that bad. But they will be if you put all of your stock in one man — if you fail to see his faults and put your full faith in his ideals instead of yours. Things will get worse if you believe that only President Obama and the government he wishes to recreate in his vision is the only thing that can save you. President Gerald Ford once said, “A government large enough to give you everything you want is a government large enough to take away everything you have.” And he was right.
On the other side of the spectrum, you have Republicans who can only find fault. A group of conservatives was on FOX News tonight discussing the inauguration and the flubbed oath of office. They wanted to make an issue out of the fact that President Obama didn’t say the oath correctly and had to repeat it later behind closed doors. What’s worse is they tried to make an issue out of the fact that during the private swearing in, the president didn’t have his hand on a Bible.
Seriously? Both President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts flubbed their lines. And later, just to be extra cautious, President Obama decided to redo the oath. The thing is, it wasn’t necessary. Many constitutional and legal scholars have said the president became president at noon on Jan. 20, long before the goofed up oath or the perfect oath were taken. That’s because the oath of office is something the president takes because it’s important, not because it’s required. And presidents put their hands on a Bible for emphasis and, honestly, for showmanship. Doing so is not required if you want to be president.
Have we become so negative and hateful that we cannot disagree with someone without vilifying them? How sad.
So to all of you on both sides of the aisle — those of us stuck in the middle don’t appreciate the clowns to the left and the jokers to the right. Just let President Obama do his work. Let him do his best. I didn’t vote for him because I don’t support his policies. I probably never will, but there’s not much I can do about that. Enough people in this country disagreed with me and those who felt like me on Election Day that we were outvoted.
That’s the American way. That’s what makes me proud to be an American. And, come Election Day 2012, I’ll cast my ballot for president. I’m not sure yet how I’m voting, I’d rather wait and see what happens. If I’m right, there will be four years of policies I can’t stand and that I believe will make this country worse off and I’ll vote for someone other than the incumbent. If I’m wrong, hallelujah, things will be better and I’ll give President Obama four more years to continue his work.
Agree with me or not. I don’t care. It’s America. I’m entitled to my opinion, and I’ll gladly fight to defend your freedom to have an opinion, too — even when it differs from mine.
As Lady Bird Johnson once said, “The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom.”
And what a sweet sound it is.
* Picture courtesy of www.visitingdc.com