January 21, 2013

Respecting the Presidency

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In the 12 years that Franklin D. Roosevelt served as the President of the United States, there were only two photographs taken of him in his wheelchair. In addition, just four seconds of video of him attempting to walk from one end of a room to another exist.

The reason behind the lack of photos of Roosevelt in his wheelchair, aside from the absence of devices such as digital cameras and camera phones, is that both the media and his surrounding advisors believed that the office of the president should be portrayed in the most dignified way possible. This meant that newspapers, magazines, and other media outlets refrained from publishing pictures of Roosevelt out of respect for both him and his title of president.

Unfortunately, however, the respect given to President Roosevelt and many of his predecessors is gone. Starting, arguably, with the Clinton sex scandal, jokes about the president and his decisions have become commonplace. It became accepted, and it was even considered humorous to compare George W. Bush to a mentally challenged child. Because of this, both comedians and media pundits have made livings off of finding unique and clever ways to degrade the office of the president.

A perfect example is the second term of Bush’s presidency. As President Bush’s decisions and actions became more and more unpopular among liberals and even some conservatives, the insults and scorns of the president increased greatly. During that time there was at least a song or a show that was solely dedicated to mocking the president released almost every day. People would put bumper stickers on their cars declaring their utter hatred for Bush, and some would actually publicly call out for his death. The level of respect that the general public had previously shown towards the presidency had been greatly diminished.

Thus, in the wake of President Obama’s inauguration, I urge my fellow conservatives to at least be respectful of the actions and mandates of the president. Although there are numerous people who might not agree with many of his policies, productive public discourse can be the result of showing some reverence towards the office of the president. Mutual respect will allow both politicians and delegates to reach across the aisle and make the decisions that are best for the country. If Republicans treat Obama the same way liberals treated Bush, it will be very difficult for this country to make any positive advancements.

Original Author: Nicholas Rielly