Sunday, June 19, 2011

An Unfettered President

Obama supporters like to claim that no criticism of him should be made, but the reasons they give tend to fail the test of logic. That he is “better than the alternative” does not, in my opinion, shield him from criticism, neither does the argument that he has done so many good things, and neither does the argument that he is in some cases merely doing what many presidents before him have done.

I can’t go to the judge, for instance, and claim that I should be absolved of burglary because doing so is better than the armed bank robbery that others are doing. Likewise, I can’t argue to the judge that my burglary should be excused because I help little old ladies across the street, I’ve been a “Big Brother,” I donate to charity, and I vote Democratic. The judge is likely to say all of that is irrelevant and send me to jail for burglary.

As for the final argument, my parents used to reply to my claims that “all of my friends are doing it” by asking if all my friends jumped off a tall building would I want to do that too? I was pretty rash as a kid, so the answer actually was “yes,” but I always merely retreated. The point is that previous presidential law breaking does not justify this president doing so.

This president has started a war in Libya in violation of the limits of power placed on him by our constitution, and we should not passively accept that just because we think that he is otherwise a good guy. Friends don’t let friends commit crimes. Speaking out against this act does not mean we want to throw him out, it merely means we do not accept this action, we want him to correct it and we don’t want him to do it again.

It is not only okay to speak out against a president whom we support when he does something with which we disagree, it is our duty as citizens exercising free speech to do so. We cannot be afraid that we will weaken that president by doing so, we should be afraid that we will weaken our nation if we do not.

We will maintain our freedom of speech only for so long as we use that freedom. It matters not why we curb speech, whether it is curbed by government for base reasons or whether we curb it ourselves for more noble ones, when ideas are not freely exchanged in honest dialog then freedom of speech is a dream slowly dying.

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