I was called unpatriotic when President George W. Bush was in office. Not by many. But, by a few. I was no fan of W as President. I voted against him both times. I disagreed with him politically and philosophically. I thought he was a war-monger and I think the term "compassionate conservative" is an oxymoron. But, (and this is a big but), I never questioned the man's motivation. I never questioned his patriotism. I never questioned his dedication to doing what he thought was the best for the American people. There's a conservative radio host who praises his callers who agree with him with the phrase "You're a great American." Funny. He never says that to the callers who disagree with him. Well, as much as I disagreed with W's policies, I can say with all sincerity he is a "great American". Anyone who runs for the office of President of the United States sacrifices much. We should thank anyone who puts up with our crap for four or eight years. And, we should never, ever question his patriotism.
Good, patriotic people can have huge disagreements over how to get what's best for our country. But, we what we have in common is we want what is best. And, as long as we can all keep that in mind, compromise is possible. Heck, maybe even consensus is possible on a few issues. But, when we start questioning each others' motivation, we get ourselves into real trouble, trouble I think we are in today. And, I'll say it, it's mostly coming from the right.
Look at the picture above. What comes to mind? Does the President look disrespectful of his office? Does he look like he hates America? Does he look like he thinks he's "king"? I'm guessing you answered no unless you saw the idiotic email circulating among some conservatives now.
Now look at this picture. What comes to mind?
When one of my conservative friends was faced with the truth about this picture and the sheer hypocrisy of the outrage over this picture but not a whimper about Bush (or Ford) putting his feet on the desk, he responded with this:
The difference is that no one ever doubted that Gerald Ford and George Bush were on the side of America and loved the country. It is clear that Obama is not on the side of America and hates the country. He is a domestic enemy of the United States and this is further proof of it.
You know... he's right- in this sense. One thing us liberals never did was say George Bush was trying to destroy the country. We may have said he was destroying the country. But, not that he was trying to destroy the country.
C'mon guys. Isn't it enough to say Obama's not the legitimate President because his father cooked up a conspiracy from the time he was born almost 50 years ago to get him elected President even though he was born in Kenya? Isn't it enough to say he's incompetent and naive? Isn't it enough to say he's a "thug"? No. You've got to say he's an enemy of the country, bent on destroying the land he's called home since shortly after his birth in Kenya. He's a secret Muslim who only pretended to be Christian for decades so he could hatch his plot of being elected President and selling us out to the Muslims who build mosques in the United States as symbols of conquest (I kid you not, one of my friends said this yesterday- mosques in the United States are a symbol of Muslim conquest).
Yesterday, when I walked away from a conversation just shaking my head, one of my conservative friends challenged me with "silence doesn't solve anything". True enough. But, it's really, really hard to come to common ground with someone who doesn't even trust your motivations.