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You may not agree with his definitions of "safe," "prosperous," and "free." You may not agree with how he wants to achieve those goals, or wonder if he's really all that concerned about one or more of them. You may even think he's lying down on the job, or being ill-advised on how to do it.

But absent any serious, real proof of corruption, wrong-doing, or truly bad motives, you risk your credibility every time you impugn the character of the President, or indeed any elected official. You can criticize his actions, his beliefs, his record, and his words, but if you begin to treat him like an enemy of the American people, you will only reap bitter fruit.

(Of course, if it turns out high crimes and misdemeanors have occurred, then by all means accuse, make your case, and run him out of town on a rail if you can. But you should be sure that what he's done actually are high crimes and misdemeanors, and not merely a crucial difference of opinion on a hot button topic of the day, or the very underpinnings of our Republic. One can differ in good conscience, but it's hard to justify signing off on an actual crime.)

I have also been there and done that, many times, and I looked like an ass doing it. I didn't always know that I was being an ass. And the sad thing was that, even when I was right in my facts, and correct in my morality, and bang on in my predictions of what would happen if this deleterious policy was continued, at the end of the day I still just looked like an ass.

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I would spare you the donkey ears and buck teeth if I could, dear friends, and that is why I say you should dedicate yourself to working alongside the President for the next four years.

What does this mean? Simply put, it's time to become the loyal opposition.

It's time to be respectful, even in disagreement. You will never get him to change his mind if every other word out of your mouth is a pejorative or a threat. You will never set him back on the right course if you insist on trying to burn his sails with your anger. Speak softly but firmly, and take the opportunities to show him that, yes, you were right after all, and do so with the quiet, well-composed dignity of having been correct. But be willing to admit when you were wrong, too.

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It's time to be united, even when divided. It does no good for an entire body of our government to decide that its number one priority is to unseat a President, and stand stock against almost everything that he wants to accomplish. It does even less good to do this in time of war, or international instability, or economic crisis. At a time like this, we must come together, find compromise, and move forward. There will be sticking points and places where you will not want to bend, of course, but many more where some middle ground can be found. Seek these out and concentrate on them, and be willing to share both credit and blame when their effects become known.

It's time to move forward, not backward. Even a conservative knows that standing totally still is a bad idea, they just want to do so carefully. But without liberals to pull and push, the cart might not go anywhere, and may even slide back down the hill. This is why we need each other to make this system work. So don't grind in your heels for the sake of doing it. Be ready and willing to move when it's needed. (Just be sure to have a hand on the brake, for when it's not.)

Alongside , we accomplish great things together. Against , we might do nothing, or at least very little, and end up with situations where what is done is resented and hated.

Alongside , we maintain a united front against a world that sometimes wishes us ill. Against , we look like people fighting over who gets into the lifeboats first as the icebergs come to close for comfort, rather than deciding how best to steer away from them.

Alongside , we share in the credit for keeping America safe, free, and prosperous. Against , we snipe and argue and find ourselves parsing every accomplishment or failure so as to claim credit where it isn't due, and avoid blame when it is.

This does not mean that you have to be pushovers or yes men. If an idea is a bad idea, it should be said to be as much. The Emperor needs to know when he's naked, and his followers need to be woken up from their delusions. If they won't agree, then fine, but, again, be respectful in this awakening process.

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This does not mean that you have to meekly accept that the President is the President. You not only can but should seek to have your own party back in the Oval Office, again. To do otherwise is to abdicate your part in things. An Emperor needs not do anything because no one will challenge his deeds, his words, and his legacy, but an elected President must defend those statements and actions before the opposition's criticism, and then have the voters call him into account.

This is how this is supposed to work. This is how we are supposed to work.

Together .

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J. Edward Tremlett is a lot of things, currently. He's back in the states after a seven-year stint in Dubai, UAE. He's been published in such diverse places as The American Partisan, the International American, The End is Nigh, Pyramid Magazine (more...)

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