America with malice
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         Shortly after Barack Obama was elected President of the United States I began to hear the loathing. Nobody ever mentioned race. It was just that the Obama guy was going to drag the country down to the depths. America would never be the same after his inauguration. Nobody mentioned his race.
          The loathing talk has slowed down a bit, but it still goes on.
          When George W. Bush was President I heard complaints, but not loathing. Some people made fun of President Bush. Some strongly objected to his handling of a variety of issues facing the country. The biggest complaints fell on the creation of a war in Iraq.
          I criticized some of the decisions of President Bush. Certainly I objected to the sending of American troops to Iraq to battle for no cause; for no danger to the U.S.
          Now that Mr. Bush has left office and we’ve all had a couple of years to look back upon his presidency I have somewhat altered my opinion of him. After some soul-searching I have come to the conclusion that Mr. Bush was a good American. I believe he wanted to do the right thing for the country, although sometimes misguided. We have to face the fact that the war in Iraq was a major blunder. No way around that one. The most crucial decision of his presidency was a wrong one, no matter how you judge it.
          And yet, the Republicans, the conservatives, continue to defend President Bush’s actions. It is almost as though they accept the totality of his Presidency. There is no “line-item” thinking. It is all or nothing for the defenders.
          That same type of no “line-item” thinking affects the views of the current president.
          When amidst a group of conservatives, dare to offer a bit of criticism of former President Bush and you will discover the wrath of the loyal. Talk to them of the war in Iraq and they will tell you that the result of the combat was the courageous saving of America’s soil and populace.
          As I mentioned, I look upon former President Bush as a good American. I have come to the conclusion that the presidents as a group were and are good Americans. They did what they thought best for the country – in most cases, and that includes the current office holder.
          I have been a life-long Independent voter. With each elected administration in Washington I’ve grown increasingly skeptical and cynical concerning politics. Over the last decade I have watched the conservative Republicans become far superior to the liberal Democrats in their ability to state their positions and criticize their opponents. During the same time the Democrats have become almost unable to debate with their more caustic adversaries.
          The liberal Democrats have no one able to carry the fight to the Glenn Becks or the Rush Limbaughs. The poor Liberals have grown languid. President Obama stands alone to receive the slings of the more potent and perspicacious conservatives.
          Amidst carrying out his duties as president Barack Obama has to overcome the vicious attacks in every area of his personal and presidential life.
          Glenn Beck, he of the cued crying jags, has said that Obama hates white people. “Birthers” claim that the president is an illegal alien and lacks the necessary citizenship to be president. Others claim that Obama is our nation’s first Muslim president. There are those that compare Barack Obama with Adolph Hitler. President Obama has been yelled at, called the “Anti-Christ,” told to “Sit down, boy.” People in crowds have yelled, “Kill Him.” “Tea Partiers attack his every move.” Rush Limbaugh’s daily diatribes against the president surely must stir the animosity against the president with a fervor.
           So, where does that leave us Independent voters? We, who find it impossible to join the ranks of either liberal Democrats or conservative Republicans. We, who prefer to make our assessment of the president and politics on the basis of each action and decision rather than on a general personal determination or prejudice.
          During a recent luncheon conversation I sat between a conservative Republican on one side (naturally, on my right) and a liberal Democrat (seated left). The talk started gently and with each passing moment accelerated to a point of unpleasant, rancorous disagreement. Most of the conversation between the two centered on the very being of the president. Was he born in Hawaii, or not? Was he a Muslim or not? Would he ruin the country, or not? Was every move and decision he made bringing us closer to a Socialist state, or not?
          By the time a half hour had passed the conservative Republican’s thesis was that president Obama was unfit to be president. The liberal Democrat defended the sitting president and his actions and disparaged the conservative’s attitude.
          In the midst of this deprecation and defense I realized what has kept me on the outside of the political sphere.
          I find it impossible to hate a president of the United States and every decision he makes. And I find it impossible to defend wholly and totally every action taken by the same president.
          I wish that there was more of a “line-item” mentality used by both parties.
          I don’t know of a single person, including a president of the United States that is all good – or all bad. It took me a while to conclude what bothers me most about the state of current politics and the membership of both parties.
          It’s the malice that bothers me.