I voted in my first Presidential election in 1972 when George McGovern got his proverbial butt handed to him. Through the years, each campaign has become a little more nasty and a lot more personal.
Fast forward to 2008. I was thrilled to vote for the first African American President of the United States and lest there's any question Â- I am still glad I voted for him and will vote for him in 2012. But I have to say the level of discourse has become so disgusting and so base.
Somehow, we as a country have taken a swan dive into the cesspool of civility. We are in a political environment where Republican Cong. Joe Wilson thinks its wholly acceptable to yell "Liar" at the President of the United States as the President is giving his annual State of the Union to Congress. And the GOP leadership is silent. Another member of Congress, Tea Party darling Rep. Joe Walsh Â- he of questionable moral standing himself (house foreclosure and a n allegedly obscene level of past due child support) thinks that a disagreement on interpretation of facts warrants a video calling our President a liar. And the GOP leadership is silent. And Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn who represents the district where Focus on the Family is domiciled calls the President a "tar baby." Again, silence from the GOP leadership.
H ow did we get here? As far as I'm concerned, we need look no further than Presidential candidate John McCain who unleashed the half-term governor, liar, and narcissist extraordinaire Sarah Palin on us. Thanks Senator. Since Ms. Palin came onto the scene, her behavior and assertions have given rise to a level of behavior and disrespect for the office of the President that is just, well, unprecedented and frankly disgraceful. It's okay to disagree on policies. It is NOT okay to throw out innuendo, opinion, and lies. Nor should it be ok for the media to cover such trash and treat these uneducated opinions as fact.
Our President has endured taunts about his being an "outsider," not a "real American," which, as far as I'm concerned, gave birth (pun intended) to an unprecedented request for the President's birth certificate! Really? Are we really asking the President of the United States "for his papers"? As a Jew, the concept of "show me your papers" makes me more than a little uncomfortable. As a human being, it sickens me. Goldie Taylor, who hosts the "The Goldie Taylor Project", an opinion blog devoted to contemporary issues confronting urban America wrote passionately about her own African American great great grandfather's humiliating experience being thrown in jail in 1899 St. Louis for not being able to show "his papers" when asked. Through all the conversations not only has the GOP leadership remained silent, House Speaker John Boehner, while publicly saying he believed our President was born in the US, smugly refused to quell the issue within his own party.
But that wasn't enough ... once the birth certificate was released in a public news conference (while, we later learn, the President was in the midst of hunting down and ordering the raid that resulted in the killing of the world's most wanted terrorist) Donald Trump complains that it's a fake .. with no proof whatsoever, and not only is theGOP leadership silent, the media covers the story as if it were newsworthy.
Now, somehow, the new thing is demanding that our President Â- our Commander-in-Chief, leader of the free world, elected in an historic landslide -- release his college and law school transcripts. Really? President Obama held the distinguished position of Editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. But this and other facts just don't seem to mean anything. In fact, to the Republicans and Tea Party, somehow a good education makes you "an elitist" and "out of touch," like education is a bad thing.
Since the day after the last election there have been calls to "impeach Obama" so any argument about this being "about policies" is disingenuous at best. President Obama has been called a "communist," "socialist," "marxist," and a "nazi." (Gee, I wish they'd make up their minds). Cartoons appeared almost immediately in African garb, stereotypically showing our President with a bone through his nose, or eating watermelon Â- disgusting stereotypes in this day and age. And in an attempt to further discredit him, he's been called "not a real Christian," a "Kenyan," and worse. Senator Mitch McConnell, the Minority Leader of the US Senate has even gone on record saying that his NUMBER 1 priority is to ensure that the President serves only one term. Not Jobs, Not the economy, Not bringing our men and women in the Armed Forces home, but ensuring that he takes down our President. And bloggers and rightwing radio and tv hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity think it's appropriate to call our President "Barry." His name is not Barry Â- it's President Obama.
What happened to respect for the office? Never before has any President had to deal with such lack of respect, not George W. Bush, not George WH Bush, not Bill Clinton, not even Richard Nixon!
Since when is it patriotic to put politics before country? Oh, I know, when there's a black man in the White House.