I’m a Patriotic American Who Stands With the POTUS

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I used to work with a guy I respect a lot. Still do. He’s a smart, sensible and sensitive human being. Works hard, loves his child, pays his taxes, lives his life with conviction and takes responsibility for his actions.

There’s just one thing that bothers me. While we disagree politically, I just don’t understand his vitriolic hatred for the President of the United States. He HATES Obama. Not just distrust or disagree. HATES. Wants him impeached or jailed.

I probably went overboard on Facebook when I all but accused him of drinking the Tea Party Kool Aid. Then he responded that only “Libutards” (like me, I presume) drink Kool Aid. Really? Here I was thinking that everyone in our hyped-up, angry, social media-driven times has their blood boiling and is standing their ground, at least online.

But I gotta say, whatever my misgivings about Obama — and I do have them — I think history will be kind to him. He is succeeding on some policy fronts — economic recovery, health-care reform, climate change, and education reform. I don’t see what he’s done to directly harm the people of the US. Nor have I heard a word from the GOP/Party of No that isn’t just negativity or a rehash of what hasn’t worked before.

Ten years ago, some of my left-leaning friends screamed at me because I was against Bush/Cheney impeachment, despite the mess in Iraq. To me it wasn’t smart or realistic. My father may turn over in his grave, but from the perspective of 40 years I would not have favored Nixon’s impeachment — though resigning was the right move.

I wanted Hillary in 2008 and thought he was drastically under-qualified. Too many people bought the hype and expected him to be more than a politician. Surprise, surprise! It’s taken a while, but he’s finally gotten some political courage.

Maybe it’s just the realization that there’s no point trying to get people who hate you and want you to fail to see your POV. The GOP has done everything they can to stop Obama with no effect. He just rolls on.

This week they’ve reduced themselves to filing a lawsuit against the White House for choosing executive action instead of waiting for Congress to say what it usually says — No. It would be funny if it weren’t so pathetic. Go cry in your beer, Boehner. You blew it.

Am I defending the POTUS? No. But I’m a patriotic American and a realist. I support our Commander-in-Chief, even when he’s not a Democrat. I’m not happy about the trial and error, on-the-job training of our POTUS. There’s plenty I don’t like, and our foreign policy remains a disaster. But today I see a guy who’s doing a job, sometimes badly, sometimes well. Too often he’s doing the job he was elected to do against people who do nothing and hate him automatically, often because of pre-conceived notions or frankly, the color of his skin.

Bergdahl and Manufactured Outrage

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It’s the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. Thousands of Allied lives were lost defending the values, freedom and way of life that we cherish. We were led by a military that took a no-nonsense, yet compassionate approach to the high price that would be paid for something so risky. We are very fortunate that the forces of good prevailed.

Today we have to conduct wars against ideologue groups that have no borders. Many rules have changed except for one thing: the United States military brings every soldier home whenever possible.

A prisoner-of-war soldier has been returned to the United States. He’s hospitalized and being examined. He may have deserted. If so, he’ll receive a military trial and receive many years in jail, on top of the five years he’s spent in captivity.

Time and time again, old people send young people off to war and expect all of them to keep their sanity and perspective. From what it sounds like, Bowe Bergdahl did not.

There are those who think we should have left him out there to rot. Yet somehow I suspect those same people would scream bloody murder at the Obama Administration if the Taliban sent video of Bergdahl’s head on a spike. I’m being graphic because I’m sick of the manufactured outrage that people who hate the President are conducting.

Reality check: I don’t know what happened. You don’t know what happened. Even those serving with Bergdahl may claim they know what he was thinking and doing, but they don’t.

On the surface, it looks like Bergdahl deserted. If so, he will get a military court-martial and spend most of his days in jail. That won’t bother me much. Deserters get jail. But whatever Bowe Bergdahl is — and by most accounts he was an unhappy and confused 23-year-old soldier who left his post and got caught — he served as an American soldier. He deserves a fair trial by the greatest military force in the world.

Again, the United States military brings every soldier home whenever possible. Deal with it. Bloodthirsty politicians and the people they rile up don’t understand that because they choose not to.

As I get older and understand history better, I have more admiration for military leaders. Unlike most elected officials, they know the price of war. They mostly have a better understanding of how to be rational about engaging with our enemies. Looking back, I sometimes wish I’d have served my country when I could.

However, the hypocrisy and screaming of Lindsey Graham and John McCain – who really does know better – is outrageous. I agree that the “deal” which released five Taliban terrorists from Guantanamo Bay stinks. But I also don’t think it matters.

The five terrorists were in Gitmo captivity for 13 years. They’re useless to the Taliban as anything but propaganda tools. It seems pretty stupid (http://www.salon.com/2014/06/05/the_worst_bowe_bergdahl_trutherism_debunked_partner/) to state that they’ll go out and commit terrorist acts right away. That’s about as likely as the U.S. Navy getting John McCain out of a POW camp in 1973, then telling him in the hospital that he has to start flying surveillance missions over Soviet-bloc countries the next week.

Some deals stink, but they get made anyway. And in this case, they make people irrational. But even some conservatives like Charles Krauthammer (http://www.politico.com/story/2014/06/charles-krauthammer-bowe-bergdahl-deal-107471.html?hp=l1) are calm enough to agree that the U.S. government did the best it could with a lousy set of options.

Krauthammer would have made the same choice, does not criticize the President, the Defense Department or the State Department, and cited the example of Israel, which released 1,000 terrorists in exchange for one sergeant who had been taken captive.

He said, “those in the West put a value on the individual human life the way that the ones at the other end of the table don’t.”

That’s the difference between us and them. When we lose that, I’d argue that we’re no longer the United States.

Bowe Bergdahl has had a miserable few years, and it’s likely the rest of his life will be equally miserable. While I have serious objections to a lot of things this President – actually any President in my lifetime – has done, there’s a point when you say enough’s enough with the manufactured outrage. Let the facts come out and speak for themselves.