October 07, 2008


As we get within a month of the decision, I find myself revisiting Dean Esmay's pledge from 2004.

I tend to hold to a rather odd doctrine myself, which is that partisanship is supposed to stop at the water's edges: we can argue as loudly as we want about domestic policy, but we do our best to speak with one voice once we get past the nation's shores. Old-fashioned and crazy I know, but it's just how I see the world. There was a time in America when if you'd spoken of the Democrat Franklin Roosevelt as a liar, a traitor, and a warmonger during World War II, accused him of engineering the Pearl Harbor attacks, referred to our war over there as "Roosevelt's war" (as a few dipshit Republicans did back then) you might well have gotten yourself a bloody nose even in the most Republican counties in America.

Because debate all you want but, once a decision is made, partisanship should stop at the water's edges. At least so far as I'm concerned.

Now here is my interesting question: I've made myself some friends among conservatives by speaking this way. But I do find myself wondering: how many of you on the right will embrace such a philosophy if John Kerry should carry the election in November?

I don't want to hear why you think it won't happen. Indulge me: pretend it might. How many of you will have the patriotism to say, "I disagree with many of his policy directions, I do not think he is conducting our foreign policy in the right way, but I will do my best to get behind him and support him until elections come around next time?"

I'm genuinely curious. For that is the stance I intend to take. I will refuse to call him traitor, loser, liar, incompetent. He will be my President, my Commander In Chief, the Chief Executive of a great nation, elected by the will of a majority of the electors in these 50 great united States. So even if he does things I disagree with in conducting foreign policy, I will say, "I respectfully disagree with the President's directions, but I will do my best to express my dissent respectfully and hope that I am mistaken and that he has made the proper decisions after all."

That's my pledge. How many of you will take a similar one?

As I face the idea that Barack Obama might become my husband's boss, I wonder if I can uphold the same pledge I made to be respectful to John Kerry. I ought to be able to do it; it's not like Kerry's meeting with the Viet Cong is any less heinous than Obama's relationship with Ayers.

Good heavens, that just gave me pause. Why do the Democrats keep nominating people who consort with the enemies of our country?

Four years removed, I am having a hard time conjuring the gut feelings I had for John Kerry. It feels now like I dislike Obama more than I disliked Kerry back then, but I doubt this is true. Is there really any difference? (Well, the Obamessiah stuff is pretty unsettling.)

I can't promise that if Obama is elected I will like it. However, I will pledge to try to be respectful of the office of the presidency. I can, as MAJ Winters said, "salute the rank, not the man." I will write against Democrat policies, but I pledge that I will never call Obama names or compare him to a chimp, as classless people have done for the last eight years.

But really, it makes me sick to think I might have to do this.

P.S. This pledge in no way prevents me from laughing at stuff like this.

Posted by Sarah at October 7, 2008 08:57 AM | TrackBack

Name calling just makes the person calling the name look stupid. I make every effort to try and be respectful to the office, even if I can't stand the person.

No "Barry" from me, even now. I don't call him "Ears" either.

And for the love of God I don't go around telling other people how stupid their governments are when I first meet them like we've both experienced, Sarah. Even if I think they are.

Posted by: airforcewife at October 7, 2008 09:37 AM

People aren't their governments. The opposite can backfire, too. What if you praise their government, only to find out they hate it?

Let's suppose it's the 30s. You run into someone from the Soviet Union. You know nothing else about this person. Do you praise Stalin, or condemn him? I would do neither. There's no way to know if that person is a sympathizer or a dissident. Just stick to business, at least at first.

I've met with and worked alongside people from many countries, and I'm glad that none have ever told me how stupid my government was when they first met me (or even afterward!). I never said anything about their governments either.

Posted by: Amritas at October 7, 2008 10:50 AM

I have to be honest: if he's elected, I'm going to need to abide by the, "if you can't say anything nice..." doctrine - out of principle and necessity. (PC police... ;-)

Of course, if he happens to do something I think is in the *right* direction, I'll give him credit. (Although, granted, I might miss it from trying not to look too closely as a rule...)

And yes, I prefer to stay on a personal level - even with people in my own country - except where political exchange is specifically appropriate. I really do care more about how individuals are doing than what governs their political philosophy; and for some of them, I'm doing us both a favor by not giving them a reason to think I'm evil (you know - since I'm "one of those hateful conservatives")... LOL.

Posted by: kannie at October 7, 2008 12:34 PM

"But really, it makes me sick to think I might have to do this."

Let's wait before we have to go down this road. But I do agree, just can't bring myself to talk about the possibilty of it all. Besides, there's a reason we hold elections, if polls were worth anything it would have been Pres. Gore/Kerry.

Posted by: tim at October 7, 2008 12:42 PM

I'm having a very hard time with this concept. I could have handled a John Kerry victory much better than an Obama victory. For one thing I think there will be, or has been, far more illegal activity in registering voters in this election. I know from a daughter in law who was a caucus person for Hillary here in Texas that there were shenanigans there. Althouse had some talk of that in the Austin area from her son, my DIL in Austin is an Obama supporter so she saw nothing wrong with what happened. NOT GOOD. So I will have a hard time feeling this is actually my president, my CIC, much like some of the Democrats apparently felt in 2000, although they were proven wrong they have never admitted to it
and have been like an angry hive of bees since.

Posted by: Ruth H at October 7, 2008 01:59 PM

I'm with Tim. I had the same thought earlier
today about those 'exit polls' last time.

Let's just wait and see before giving up the ship.

Yes,I agree that the high road needs to be taken
with regard to Senator Obama. Liberals claim that
they are the party or peace,love and understanding
but it's a lie.

Republicans are far more tolerant.

The Slate had a marvelous article on it some 4
years ago.

Posted by: MaryIndiana at October 7, 2008 03:14 PM

I don't much fancy the idea of his being my boss for the next 4-8 years, but it's a possibility that we have to face. Honestly, though, I haven't said that much about him on my own site up to now and it won't be a big stretch to say nothing about him afterward, should he win. For that matter, I haven't commented on much of anything relating to my current commander in chief, about whom I am rather ambivalent. There's enough idiocy going around NOT in my chain of command to comment upon.

This won't stop me from linking to interesting pieces via my Google Reader shared items, of course.


Posted by: Sig at October 10, 2008 11:35 PM