Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Respecting the Office ... if not the Person

I've noticed lately that a lot of people I know in the military are slamming President Obama. This would bother me less except that these are the same people singing a completely different tune when the man in charge of running the USA was George W. Bush.

Politics are a tricky business, and I certainly don't want this post to be some sort of conservative vs. liberal thing. I mean, I have strong political opinions; I've read a lot and studied a lot and have a pretty good understanding of political repercussions throughout history. I'm well aware of the big picture. I'm also well aware that there are legitimate arguments on all sides, that people can back up their opinions with solid data (although I was married to a statistician for seven years, so I know that you can mathematically prove anything--including that the sky is green--if you design your experiment a certain way).

So no, I don't want this to be a political post. Just to get it out of the way, I voted for Barack Obama. I even voted for him in the primary, when he was considered a long shot to the Clinton machine. I think he is an amazing, inspirational, intelligent man.

There, now that that's out of the way ...

I thought that George W. Bush was an idiot. I constantly wanted to correct his grammar (or teach him how to produce the word "nuclear", at the very least), and one of my favorite books is a collection of his verbal slip-ups (I realize that everyone makes mistakes, but to make enough to create an entire book?). That being said, I respected the office of the President of the United States. I might not have liked Bush, might not have agreed with many of his decisions, and I certainly didn't vote for him, but he was the President, and I honored him for that.

As a side note, I was brought to tears by Bush's words when he spoke at Ground Zero shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and I was inspired by his courage when he threw out the first pitch at the World Series. I mean, talk about a sitting duck, yet there he was. Good for him. And yes, I mean that sincerely.

Anyway, many people I know, particularly those in the military, really got vehement when me (or my liberal brethren) slammed Bush. Troops stationed in the middle east were very much of the, "He's our Commander in Chief. He's our leader. Even if you don't like him or agree with his politics, we in the military have to respect him."

So why are so many of these people so blatantly, obnoxiously rude about Barack Obama? They make socialist comments, badmouth him, and even make references with barely veiled racist undertones. I mean, shouldn't the party line continue to be, "He's our Commander in Chief. He's our leader. Even if you don't like him or agree with his politics, we in the military have to respect him"?