Friday, January 23, 2009

Individual Responsbility - Part 2

The second item I read this week that reminded me of the great need for all of us to take individual responsibility was written by our oldest son, Stephen, who lives in Hong Kong. He is 30 years old and works as an assistant editor for a book publishing company. In my humble opinion, he has a gift for writing that I hope will be utilized for good. Here is what he wrote:

The Shoe is on the Other Foot

It will go down, perhaps, as one of the most historically important moments of this century. At 12:05 p.m. in Washington D.C., the son of an African immigrant took the oath of office to become the President of the United States. But as the world looked on, we all cringed in unison. We watched painfully as President Obama and Chief Justice Roberts stumbled over each other in trying to repeat the sacred oath.

But why? Why should a simple mistake immediately bring such trouble to our hearts? Understandably, both men were nervous on this monumental occasion. Indeed, it is not unusual at all to see a bride or groom stumble over their vows at a wedding. In fact, if such a thing happens at a wedding, we would merely smile and wish the happy couple all the best. So what exactly makes this slip up any different?

Simply put, the political discourse in American politics has gone off the deep end. Everyone’s actions, and none more so than the President, is examined and then re-examined under a microscope by their political opposition.

We saw this for eight years under former President Bush. Every mispronunciation, every stumble, every minute mistake was shown brightly to the world. The defenders of President Bush would, predictably, make excuses for the blunders. They would blame the mistake on others, or simply brush them off by saying everyone stumbles or mispronounces words occasionally, especially when they are under pressure.

Now, the shoe is on the other foot. Those who defended Bush’s blunders now point the finger at President Obama. Those who trumpeted the gaffes of President Bush now find themselves defending a stuttering Obama.

And so it goes on and on. We may remain hopeful for a change in the political discourse, but change will not come from one man alone. We must all change. From politicians, to the media, to the everyday man on the street, we must all change the way we think about and react to those whom we disagree with politically. Can we change? Yes, we can. But will we?

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