i call myself a conservative, although not of the right-wing variety. i believe that smaller government is much more effective than bigger government, and that the government should keep itself out of our lives fiscally and personally. in return, we should be free to live our lives as we see fit, with the caveat that should we make a mistake or even fail somewhere along the way, we right ourselves through our own efforts and through the assistance of friends and family and even charity, but that most of the time, the government is not there to bail us out (with exceptions such as hurricane katrina, 9/11, etc.).
as most people who know me are aware, i did not vote for barack obama, and i have had mixed feelings about not voting for him. (nor did i vote for john mccain, for the record; i voted libertarian party, as always.) i could not bring myself to vote for him, no matter the historic precedent set by his presidency, because i simply do not agree with his many of his policies. i was simply following dr. king’s edict about judging people by the content of their character, and not skin color. i am still concerned especially about obama’s economic policies, because i am simply not convinced that they will affect our current economic problems in a positive manner. however, even though i didn’t vote for him, i am still very proud that seemingly the majority of people in this country were able to look past skin color and elect our first african-american president. it brought tears to my eyes the night he won the presidency and i looked out my windown and saw neighbors of many colors running jubilantly down the middle of my street. it brought tears to my eyes yesterday seeing the reactions of individual people among the crowds as dr. king’s, and their own, dream was finally realized by obama taking the presidential oath of office. and of course, it brought tears to my eyes hearing ‘hail to the chief’ being played for obama for the first time. (although i always cry when i hear it, even for those presidents who i, um, didn’t care for so much.)
so obama is now my president (and apparently the world’s president as well), and i have a great deal of respect for him for that reason, and for the office of the presidency as well. no matter what i think of his policies, i do believe there is a great potential for integral leadership here, so i will hold out hope that he will listen to and consider the policies of those he is not always in agreement with. i will even go out on a limb (no pun intended here) and hope that perhaps some day he can even sit at the same table with the likes of rush limbaugh, with the possibility of an intelligent exchange of ideas. back in the day, i was something of a dittohead (don’t worry, i’m over that now), believing that limbaugh was right about a number of issues. nowadays, i see him for who he truly is, someone firmly entrenched within blue and orange memes, someone who displays a willful ignorance about the way things really are instead of the way he thinks they ought to be (a return to the glory days of ronald reagan – who i voted for in the first election i was eligible to take part in, much to the chagrin of everyone around me). still, i will say that i am in agreement with him about the notion of personal responsiblity, but that’s pretty much about we agree on anymore.
whatever respect i may have had left for limbaugh was lost yesterday. i normally work during his program but am sometimes able to catch rebroadcasts overnight, which i was able to do late last night. my initial reaction upon hearing his commentary about inaugural events was, what an ass. (however, i will admit to also being taken aback by reverend lowery’s benediction.) limbaugh has eight years to rant and rail and be dismissive and make fun and do whatever it is he does regarding obama’s policies, but yesterday was obama’s (and this country’s) big day. limbaugh spent a good part of his show, critiquing not only the content of obama’s address, but its style as well. since people weren’t swooning in the aisles as in past speeches, limbaugh’s opinion was that the speech was mediocre at best. i’m sorry, but the transition of power is a solemn moment, and this country faces serious issues on several fronts. i don’t think it would have been proper for him to get up there and start chanting, ‘yes, we did!’ and the 1.4 million people on the mall to start doing the wave in response. obama was addressing some of the upcoming challenges we face, and he had what i thought were some great lines: e.g., ‘to those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the west: know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. to those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist…’
limbaugh said that obama didn’t say anything new, and to that i reply, well, solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, says in the book of ecclesiastes that there is nothing new under the sun. limbaugh himself says very little that is new, and i think that his broadcast yesterday is a prime example of that. no matter what he thinks of obama, i think he should have at least shown respect for obama and his office for at least one day, and the following day, and forever more, he could have returned to his usual tirade against ‘his’ president. he keeps repeating that obama is his president, which of course is true, but he doesn’t treat his president with the respect one would expect. he can disagree with the man’s policies and still be respectful, and still let the most powerful person in the world have his moment. but, i think this whole thing is really right-wing conservatism’s last gasp, that he and others like bill cunningham can see that they are a dying breed (which reminds me of something i *think* can be attributed to ken wilber, in which he says (and this is paraphrased from a distant memory) that the only way right-wing conservativism will die out is for the generation who believes in it to actually die – of natural causes/old age, of course – and i think he may be right). they will continue throw all sorts of accusations at obama having nothing to do with his governing ability or policies – he’s not really african-american because he has an african father and an american mother, he wasn’t born in hawaii, etc. right-wing conservatism is backed into a corner and is doing what it thinks it has do to defend its existence and keep itself alive just a little longer. it’s the best they can do, because ronald reagan is dead and he’s not coming back.