President Bush Is Not the Enemy
- 29 September 2006 by Author 0 Comments
President Bush Is Not the Enemy
By Richard Larsen
Published 9/29/06 – Idaho State Journal
Last week Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addressed the United Nations. In his address he referred several times to the President of the United States as “the devil.” I’m sure that many around the country responded as childishly as many at the UN did; with apparent glee, as manifested by applause and giddy chuckling. Chavez repeated these well-received lines at a church in Harlem.
To his credit, Representative Charles Rangel of New York railed against the Venezuelan leader for choosing his New York congressional district to launch an attack on the president of the United States. “You don’t come into my country, you don’t come into my congressional district and criticize my president,” Rangel said from Capitol Hill. He added that “it would be crazy to think that Americans do not feel offended” by Chavez’s remarks.
That comment by Rangel begs reflection: how many Americans were not offended by Chavez’ comments, but rather, like the majority of Muslims around the world after the attacks of 9/11, cheered and rejoiced?
There are several aspects of these events and concomitant remarks that also warrant further analysis. Representative Rangel, like many others, has made regular sport of Bush-bashing. Not the mature, thoughtful, and deliberative analysis of policy and expression of opposition to the same, but the rancorous maledictions of name-calling, aspersions, and repetitions of inaccurate incantations.
Was Rangel jealous of Chavez that he could call Bush “the devil” and not only get away with it on American soil, but be hailed as the latest anti-American dictator to take New York by storm hurling insults along the way? Was Rangel concerned that Americans would indeed be offended by Chavez’ comments and realize that those comments sounded just like those hurled by Rangels party for the past six years? Perhaps he was concerned about a backlash by the average American, and saw his chairmanship of the House Ways and Means Committee in jeopardy if his party’s rhetoric too closely matched that of Chavez.
As has been aptly argued on these pages in prior issues, we have a veritable enemy to the United States, and to the liberties and freedoms that we enjoy. These people are a minority in the Muslim faith, but seek to destroy us or convert us.
Conversely, we have a President who recognizes that threat, and is ostensibly doing everything he can to prevent another catastrophic attack like we experienced five years ago. Some feel he has gone too far in that effort. That’s always open for debate, as any policy issue is.
However, as Americans, who do we see as our enemy? Regrettably it seems too many Americans view the President as the enemy, he who is sworn to protect us, rather than the real enemy, Islamic extremists.
There are those amongst us who sport the t-shirts or the bumper stickers “He’s not my President!” I want to ask them what country they’re citizens of. If you’re an American, he’s your president, like it or not. If you disagree with him, fine, disagree and voice your opinion. But he’s still your president.
When President Clinton occupied the Oval Office, I had issues with Clinton Administration policies and extra-curricular activities that the President was engaged in, but alas, he was still my President. I would no more wear a t-shirt declaring my disapprobation of him as my President than I would consider making a movie about a hypothetical assassination of him, as some of our Canadian “friends” have done about Bush.
Let’s implement a football analogy for a moment. Let’s say our outstanding ISU running back, Josh Barnett, has a problem with how Larry Lewis is coaching the team. How productive would it be if Josh were to decide that the Coach was his greatest opponent, rather than the opposing team on the field? He can voice his opposition, try to persuade the Coach to run the team the way he thinks it should be run, but he ultimately must decide whether to support the coach or turn against him. He must decide who his “enemy” is.
There are too many who view our national “coach” as the enemy. Representative Rangel was correct when he said “it would be crazy to think that Americans do not feel offended” by Chavez’s remarks. As Americans, we should take umbrage at such maligning. The response of the UN attendees confirms their anti-Americanism. A little introspection may reveal that many of us suffer the same malady. When we wish more for the failure of our President than the defeat of our enemies, we’re in that camp.
As Americans, we owe it to our country and our posterity to be realistic and rational about who our enemy is. And it’s not our President.
Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History and former member of the Idaho State Journal Editorial Board. He can be reached at email@example.com.