Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Whoever Wins, Chill A Bit...

Whoever Wins, Chill A Bit

Glenn Harlan Reynolds 11.04.08, 3:07 AM ET:

We've had eight years of Bush Derangement Syndrome. Before that, we had eight years of Clinton Derangement Syndrome. And though people forget it now, President Reagan inspired a lot of anger and hatred, too.

Can I ask that, regardless of who wins, we tone things down a bit?

There's been a bit of leadership on this front in the blogosphere. Rightish blogger Rick Moran, in a post entitled If Elected, Obama Will Be My President, wrote: "An Obama election will mean changes - not all of them for the better. So be it. We will fight like hell against what we believe to be wrong. But we [will] not do it by trying to delegitimize the elected president." In response, leftish blogger (and famous science fiction writer) John Scalzi wrote: "This is exactly right. And this is why, you'll notice if you crawl the Whatever archives, I have made a point of noting that George Bush is my president.

… One of the reasons I have always registered as an independent voter is that I believe my highest allegiance as a voter is not to a political party but to the Constitution of the United States, the foundational document of our law. Our Constitution sets up the system we use to choose a president. If a candidate--any candidate--fulfills the requirements of that system to become our president, then I believe it's my duty to acknowledge that, yes, that candidate is now my president. I can criticize that president, argue with that president, loathe that president and work to replace that president in the manner allowed for by the Constitution … but what I can't do is deny that he or she is my president. That's wrong, factually and morally, and it's dismissive of the Constitution of the United States."
I agree. I thought it was wrong when Bush supporters in 1992 slapped "Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Bush" stickers on their cars before Clinton was even sworn in. The simmering Clinton-hatred was bad for the country and, for that matter, for Republicans. Likewise, the even more over-the-top Bush-hatred of the past eight years has been bad for our polity, and for the haters. Now I hope that whoever wins, the nation will follow the lead of Moran and Scalzi.

You don't have to love the "other guy." You don't have to hold back on fighting against policies you don't like. You don't have to pull punches. But once someone is duly and legally elected president, you do owe some respect to the office and the Constitution. And to your fellow Americans.

I'm not an Obama fan, particularly, but a lot of people I like and respect are. To treat Obama as something evil or subhuman would not only be disrespectful toward Obama, but toward them. Instead, I hope that if Obama is elected, their assessment of his strengths will turn out to be right, and mine will turn out to be wrong. Likewise, those who don't like John McCain or Sarah Palin might reflect that by treating Palin and McCain as obviously evil and stupid, they're disrespecting tens of millions of their fellow Americans who feel otherwise. And treating a presidency held by a guy you don't like as presumptively illegitimate suggests that presidents rule not by election, but by divine right, so that whenever the "other guy" wins, he's automatically a usurper.

We don't have to agree on issues, or on leaders. But if we can't agree that a free and fair election can produce a legitimate president even when it's not the candidate we like, then we've got a very serious problem.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a law professor at the University of Tennessee, and will be commenting on the election at PJTV.com.

These are the thoughts of Glenn Harlan Reynolds and do not reflect the opinions of Abstract Minds N.Y.C


Very interesting outlook indeed. In a time where "choosing or losing" is a more than ever scathing reference to which "Guy" you choose, we must remain composed and realize that there is no right or wrong when expressing your political views in regards to the Constitution of the United States. One point that was brought up and duely noted, was that the Constitution of the United States is held as a foundational document to which fulfillment and duty fall on the shoulders of the elected. Whoever you deem eligible for occupation of the assigned position, whether it be Court Justices etc., should be your matching principle for your Constitutional beliefs.

With that said, we will wait.

With Respect.

Abstract Minds N.Y.C


Anonymous said...

I did vote for Obama and am also an independent, actually have been an indepeendent activist for many years (see www.independentvoting.or). However, I find your comments really thoughtful and agree with what you're saying particularly not relying on party or a candidate to determine my allegience and respecting others' right to make their choice. In fact, regarding the latter, thought you'd be interested in reading this column that came out today: http://www.independentvoting.org/news/Listen.html


The Delve said...

We appreciate your response Gwen, and thanks for the link.

This election has stirred up, if not the most in recent elections, an unadjusted bias and conflict resolution struggle between our citizens. The theory of voting for the "lesser of two evils" need not apply if most people realized that they should be aligning their choice or choices with what is expected constitutionally of the nominated candidate.

Of course we realize that citizens, for the most part, will sway judgement based on the current state of the Union. However it was made quite clear during this election that a majority of people showed an uncanny affinity towards caring a little too much about what the candidate may not be capable of rather than worrying about what the candidates job description is and how he or she can fulfill it with their mission statement.

Here's an equation:

(How are things currently in the Country)/(The foundations of the Constitution) x (The presidential nominees mission statement) = Formulated Choice

iAM JaNKo said...

I'm so excited about the outcome of this election man. I'm reminded of the stories my grandfather's bestfriend Mr. Margaret would tell me of his days as a young black man growing up in the 50's, 60's, 70's, 80, 90's+.... and the hardships he faces because of his skin color. This is such a monumental moment, we should continue on celebrating and being more active and involve with this movement. He just opened so many doors not only for black folks but for other minorities such as myself that we can do anything you can do and even do it better. i'm so grateful that i'm alive to live and see the making of this history!

Vanessa B said...

I really and truly appreciate this blog in it's entirety including the comments above mine. The slogan for this election has been "Change" and "Yes We Can" and I believe more than anything else the pride and glory I feel in my country, my fellow Americans, and my age cohort as well, is the involvement (finally) I've seen in the election process. The air and sentiments around this election have been so electrically charged it's thrilling. Regardless of who you voted for I feel there is a unanimous feeling that a staggering amount of the population let their voice be heard and our democratic process was finally utilized by the people.

We are all facing hard timess, those who have always been facing hard times, those who were on the brink, and maybe others who are living comfortably but I think one thing people agree on is a need for change. I believe my vote and that of so many other millions brought us to a place where we can achieve that.... after 8 years looking out upon the rest of the world with sorrow in my heart and apology in my eyes I can finally say I am prouder today to be an American and my country is not only in my heart but my *government* represents me, the person, and we the people. It's a day beyond words... but I hope some of these suffice.

"A nation's culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people." -Mohandas Ghandi
Today... I can say this is beautifully realized.

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