It was harmful to our country for the opposing party and the Left to demonize President Bush. He did not deserve it, but there are those who place political posturing and advancement over country.
My prayers and admiration for President Bush were constant. There were some policies with which I disagreed, but I always prayed for him and admired his strength and grace.
I continue to respect the office of the President. I continue to pray for President Obama. I ask God for him to live up to the highest standards of the office and to be successful in leading our country. There are some policies with which I already disagree, but I pledge my disagreement will not be personal.
Let me make three observations:
1. I never gloat when my candidate wins. I suggest that those who voted for Mr. Obama behave accordingly. The best way to create unity behind a President is not to gloat. I believe that President Obama for the most part has not fed this "gloating." There have been some pretentious statements and staging. He is spending more on his inauguration than has ever been spent. For the most part it appears that he is gracious and graceful, and is listening to those of us in the minority.
President Obama is not the second coming of Christ. Nor is he the anti-christ. Let us be gracious in victory and dignified in defeat.
2. Race - I understand the significance of this moment for our African-American citizens. America's record on race has not been perfect. I can recognize that. I can also recognize that this moment reflects how far we have come as a nation. Events such as President Obama's election really reflect progress already made more than they move us forward. They are a revelation or a symbol rather than a turning point.
I suggest that while we admit racism as a factor in American life, that we also admit great progress in this area. We also need to admit that racism is a two way street. As I look at the demographics of this election, I see that 55% of the "white" vote went to the "white" candidate. 95% of the "black" vote went to the "black" candidate. Which vote was based more on race?
Also, let us recognize that President Obama does not truly represent the "Black Experience" in America. His ancestors were never slaves. His father, whom he met only once, was a "black" Kenyan. His mother was "white," and he was raised by "white" middle class grandparents living in Hawaii.
I am told by some "black" persons that I cannot understand their feelings because I have not experienced what they have. I disagree (just try being a conservative Christian, or being a Marine in the early 1970's), but my observation is that President Obama has not the "Black Experience" either. My point is, let President Obama be OUR President, and let none of us attach anything more than that to him.
3. Our military deserves much credit. Overwhelming the military connected with President Bush. To a lesser extent (but a significant majority -70%) military personnel supported Senator McCain for President. Our military does not stage a coup or attempt to "hijack" the political process and circumvent the constitution. Our military pledges its loyalty to a President whose campaign and party saw their mission as immoral and a failure that was based on a lie. They believed persons in the military to be ignorant dupes who were prone to individual immoral and violent acts.
I pray that President Obama can see what has been accomplished by the military and who the military is. It appears that this President is prepared to carry forward the "Bush Doctrine" of engagement against Middle Eastern Fascism - more than his supporters know at this point.
We have the best, most intelligent, most moral, and most powerful military in the world. What other countries have a military that removes itself from the political process? We can trace this fine heritage back to England. It is only in the English speaking culture where the military is so loyal to the political leaders. Look at Great Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America. I could even include India marginally. The English speaking people have for the most part left stable democracies with subservient militaries wherever they have gone.
God bless America and the President of the United States.
Yours in Christ,
Lt. Col. John W. Slider, USMC (ret)