Sunday, October 11, 2009

Applauding AGAINST America? Seriously?

A few days ago I wrote about the idea of conservatives cheering Chicago's lost bid for the Olympics. Today I saw a segment of "The O'Reilley Factor" that showed a clip from a meeting of a group called Americans for Prosperity where people broke into applause at the announcement of Chicago's loss. I was horrified. It was all too reminiscent of an experience I had in January 2005.

I represent my college on a committee called the System Council on International Education, a committee comprised of representatives of the 35 public colleges/universities in Georgia. In January 2005 we had a workshop/meeting/dinner that happened to fall on inauguration day. University professors are notoriously liberal, with liberal outnumbering conservatives eight to one and, in the area of humanities (which includes foreign language, my area), 32 to one. I wasn't surprised that my colleagues on the committee were less than thrilled with Bush's second victory. But I was taken aback when, after the chairman remarked with something less than enthusiasm that this was inauguration day, a number of the members of the committee booed. These middle-aged Ph.D.s in professional business attire actually booed the inauguration of the president of the United States.

That moment wounded my spirit profoundly. I love my country, and I respect the office of president, regardless of who holds it. I understood that they hated Bush, just like the members of Americans for Prosperity probably despise Obama. But just as Americans who love their country (although I suspect not all of my colleagues fall into that category) have no business booing the inauguration of the president of the United States, Americans who love their country have no business cheering the loss of an event that would bring prosperity, ironically enough, and prestige to the United States.

The eight years of Bush's presidency opened my eyes and taught me something important: how not to behave. Besides seeing my colleagues showing disrespect for the office of president, I saw liberals show a blatant lack of respect for that office time after time after time while claiming to have a love for their country. I hope those people remember how they acted when Bush was in office when they see offensive outbursts like those at the Americans for Prosperity meeting, but conservatives certainly shouldn't let the previous disrespect of liberals be an excuse to act in a way that demonstrates a lack of love for America. I'm thankful that my colleagues' behavior and that of other liberals during those eight years opened my eyes and taught me what not to do and how not to behave.

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