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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Loyal Opposition

Senator Barrack Obama is now the president-elect.

I congratulate him and his supporters on the victory. I hope they govern fairly and justly.

I will make every effort to hold them to the high standards they spoke of during the campaign.

I may not agree with his or their vision for the future, but I respect the right of others to have ideas that differ from my own. Probably there is a pertinent quote about how our differences make us stronger when we work together.

I hope we share an American view of the importance of freedom, free speech, the rule of law, property rights, and a healthy skepticism toward authority.

I hope we all agree that all men and women are equal before the law.

Does the election of a person of color tell us that point has finally sunk in? If so, it has taken us a long time to get there, following a difficult trail beset by fear, violence, compromises, and a hugely costly war followed by hugely costly "separate but equal" path that was neither.

We have come a long way from the days when my father was a white cavalry officer with all black troopers in a segregated Army who patrolled the dusty southwestern border in th early days of World War II, an experience that made my father a fierce opponent of segregation. We have come a long way from the day when President Truman did the right thing and ordered the military services to integrate. We have come a long way from federal troops accompanying high school students to school. We have come a long way from the days when Sergeant Powell, an Air Force NCO, could coach my on base little league team and yet not go off base and share a meal with the team in the same dining room. We have come a long way from Freedom Riders, Selma, the March on Washington, the Civil Rights Act, the murder of Dr. King, James Meridith, and so much hatred based on something as simple as skin color. We have seen the rise of successful black actors, comedians, athletes, musicians, and politicians. If it took us a while to get where we are, and if we are still making progress in living up to "equality before the law," at least the journey was started and progress can be measured and no longer in small steps.

Is there the promise that one of my grandchildren, regardless of their skin color can become president? Yes, there is.

Does it mean the a President Obama is above crticism? Of course not. It should mean that so long as the criticism it against his policies, plans and performance it is fair criticism and not bigotry.

So, I salute the election winner. As a man who loves this country and its Constitution, I will be a member of the loyal opposition to Mr. Obama and his policies that I disagree with.

As it once said on one of my fitness reports, "He has strong opinions and doesn't hesitate to express them." Which I suppose was meant to tell the Navy that I was a mouthy SOB and unworthy of promotion. I took it as a compliment. I still got promoted. And I promise to express my strong opinions, inviting others to do the same in response.

Freedom. Ain't it great?

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