Editorial: Disagree But Don’t Disrespect

Monsignor William J. Linder

By Monsignor William J. Linder

When historians look back on the two terms served by President Barack Obama, they will find a common theme that seemed to permeate his time in office. No President in the history of our country has endured as much disrespect and disdain as our current commander in chief.

What other President, for instance, has had an elected representative call him a liar while he was in the middle of delivering a speech to Congress? And don’t forget about the finger-wagging President Obama endured at the hands of Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer a few years ago on an airport tarmac, as if she was putting him in his place. And then there was the recent snub by Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who initially proudly announced he would refuse to meet the President at the airport in Austin for a “quick handshake” before later changing his mind.

Let me be clear in stating that there is nothing wrong with disagreeing with the President and that is your right in a democratic society. I cannot help but believe, however, that the way disagreement with this President has been and continues to be expressed is certainly unprecedented.

Some of the images and hate speech about President Obama that have circulated on the Internet, for instance, has been overtly racist without restraint. The same can be said of some protests.

Even the House of Representatives is making history now by threatening to institutionally sue this President for allegedly overstepping the powers of his office as it relates to application of the Affordable Care Act.

While Barack Obama has been in the White House, I dare say that the Office of the President of the United States itself has somehow been devalued in the eyes of some.

This is a sad commentary on our society, especially since Obama’s election—and yes, re-election—was thought by many to represent real progress when it came to race relations in this country.  The evidence suggests we still have a long way to go.

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