Focus on the Record and Not the Salute

salute
Before this article goes any further, let us make one thing perfectly clear: This writer does not like Barack Obama. However, it has everything to do with his record and nothing to do with his salute.

As a Christian, does he pray for him? Yes.

Does he feel Obama deserves respect? For his office, yes.

But he does not like him and he did not vote for him in either election.

There are many reasons why he does not like the man. The writer is a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ and President Obama represents everything he is against.

He is for abortion. To the Christian, abortion is the taking of human life. The Christian believes that life begins at conception. To one who holds that view, the federal funding and authorization of clinics that do that very thing is criminal.  Even more heinous is the idea that the leader of the free world supports it because, in his own words, he would not want his daughter (if she should get pregnant out of wedlock) “punished with a baby.”

The Christian does not support the homosexual lifestyle. He does not consider himself better than the homosexual nor does he believe that homosexuals will go to Hell because of their lifestyle. People only go to Hell for the rejection of Jesus Christ. He simply understands that word of God stands in opposition to that very thing that the American government is now making legal and acceptable.

These, to the Christian, are acceptable and perfect reasons to stand in opposition to the current Chief Executive of the United States. A Christian who is truly following Jesus cannot separate his faith from his politics. His faith permeates every part of his life. He cannot compartmentalize because that would not be self-denial according to Matthew 16:24. He must stand on biblical principles regardless of his comfort zone or how others are pressuring him.

However, a latte salute is not a reason to dislike the current President. It is not something that should have garnered this much attention.

Was it wrong? Absolutely. It was disrespect in its purest form. Our military stand ready to put their lives on the line with just one order from this man. They stand in harms way so that we can be protected.

Now, do not misunderstand. Technically, he does not have to salute. This was a tradition reportedly started by Ronald Reagan. However, anything worth doing should be done correctly  and not halfheartedly. He’s is not the first and probably won’t the last politician to be guilty of this.

The problem is his disdain for the American soldier. He traded five terrorists for one traitor & then leaves a good Marine in a Mexican prison. This cannot be seen as anything but very disrespectful and it just adds to the list of things he has done to disgrace this great nation. When a  military general was killed in Afghanistan, who was absent from the funeral? Where was Obama? Playing golf.  Some things are more important in life.

Criticize his total disregard for the American military. Criticize what, at times, appears to be a total lack of patriotism on the part of his wife. Criticize that he goes overseas and apologizes for his country. All of those have merit. But a botched salute just does not seem worth it.

Even Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly said it was a tempest in a teapot. On the morning show “Fox and Friends”, the well-known acid-tongued, conservative journalist seemed to come out in favor of the President.  He said that every once in a while, Obama had to be given some slack and that he honestly felt that nothing malicious or condescending was meant by Obama.  He went on to say that he realized why the vent angered some but said that it was “small stuff” and people should not fret with it.

Yes, there is definitely much to find fault with when it comes to the current leader of the free world. Much of it could affect our nation in a permanent fashion. Some of it could threaten the national security if not the very future of democracy. But a halfhearted salute while coming off of a helicopter? Hardly makes the list.

One of the biggest problems in political infighting and the voice of criticism on either side has been the total lack of decorum. If one is going to criticize, concentrate on the true issues and above all, be fair.

Already, a picture has surfaced of George W. Bush giving a similarly awkward salute while in office. He was not holding a coffee cup. Instead, he was holding his dog.

Lately, the President has come under fire for his vacation time.  For as long as there has been Camp David, there have been pundits who criticize every time a President makes use of these facilities.  He is never far from the ability to launch nuclear capabilities and there are always advisors who are close. It is completely unfair to criticize any occupant of the Oval Office for taking too many vacations.

What about the amount of vacation time that was taken by George W. Bush?  So far, Obama has taken 125 full or partial vacation days while Bush’s count at the exact same point in his presidency was 407. Others may recall when liberals castigated President Dwight David Eisenhower for his time spent on the golf course.

Presidents never get to completely retreat from their responsibilities. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, it is possible that those days away from the Executive Mansion could never really be called vacation days.  In truth, the President of the United States is never technically away on vacation. The job, along with all of its overwhelming responsibilities and powers is always present regardless of where the President is or what he is doing.

It again needs to be stated that this is not an article supporting Obama. However, credibility in criticism seems to be vanishing in today’s political world.

And not just with Republicans. In 2007, presidential candidate Mike Huckabee released a campaign commercial sending Christmas greetings. Behind him on his shelf was a cross. Many made a big deal out of this saying it was his attempt to insert religion into the race. Really?  As presidential pundit Dick Morris pointed out at the time, it was simply a Christmas decoration. Nothing more.

When silly accusations such as Christmas decorations, vacation days, or halfhearted salutes are where the focus is set, then the real issues fade away in the midst of heated rhetoric and shallow insults.  The accusers end up looking silly and the target comes across as a victim and gains even more of a standing. This is not always true (consider Sarah Palin). However, it is true more often than not.

It is the record that deserves the attention. Not the salute.

Opinion by Rick Hope
FactCheck.org
Statesman Journal

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