By in Politics

My Response to SoonerDad3's "Obama the Monarch"

( Author's note: What started as a comment on an article called, "Obama the Monarch," by SoonerDad3 and was 1800 characters (and still not finished), I submit here as a 1300-word response to his article. )

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I have mentioned in comments to you before that we may not always be in much disagreement in some of our political views. Our delivery of them is, most certainly, markedly different, as is how we deal with others who may hold opposing views.

I actually read much of what you write, either in your articles or in comment to others. Generally, I do not respond, because I am conflicted in how to do so, without appearing to be an ass. By the time I calm down, I choose to let sleeping dogs lie, as I know they will wake up again, and I will have an opportunity to respond at a later time in similar situations.

As many know, I am a veteran. I chose to serve this country years before I was old enough to take my oath of enlistment in summer 1973. When I joined it was not popular for me to do so as a woman or an American. We were still in Vietnam, and there was still a rather antiquated view of what roles women "should" take on. I am glad that I grew up on the west coast and not the south.

I joined because I believed that I owed my country and my fellow citizens something. I am one of approximately 8 percent of Americans who have done so.

I left the military, about the time President Clinton was in the limelight. So, I understand how one might have trouble calling someone "my President," as you do with President Obama. Whether or not ANY of them are deserving of one's respect is all a matter of perception, values, and beliefs. But any who will hold that office is THE President of the United States (POTUS).

When I took the oath of enlistment, I stated: "...I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic...bear true faith and allegiance to the same...obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice..."

I took that oath five times. I have defended it many more times in my nearly 60 years here on this earth to many who disagreed with my decision to have served for the reasons I did so. I have also had to defend it to people who, on the surface value military service, take issue with my stance on other issues and have called me "un-American" for doing so.

Nowhere did I give ever allegiance to a king or a President. You see, I understand that allegiance is not to a man or woman. In fact, I served with my Commander-in-Chief(s) being people that I did not vote for and had very little confidence in their abilities to lead us into war, if need be.

Interestingly enough, those of us who serve in uniform, do not have the same right (as those not in service) to speak our minds about the behavior/decisions/ideas of the POTUS. You see, we (as military members) willingly make that sacrifice to make sure that you do not have your rights taken from you. At least, that is how many of us still saw it 40 years ago.

So, my oath was to defend the rights of people from all walks of life, educational backgrounds, intellect, opinions, gender, age, status, to have the same rights to express their opinions and have their beliefs that I do, whether you or I agree with them or not.

Now on to how we deal with politics and people...

Name-calling or disparaging remarks from either side of any argument is abhorrent to me. Lack of respect of others as human beings is equally so. And that is what I often see from people who are ignorant, or mean-spirited in order to hide what they either do not know. Others maybe be threatened that people will not acquiesce to their way of thinking. They respond with unyielding, black and white argument, unwilling to be willing. Often times, all it might take to get past the angst that ensues would simply be to listen and understand the others stance on an issue.

I have seen dogmatic unwillingness from Presidents and others who call themselves, "Leaders," and I have seen that in the common man (and woman) from all parts of the world, having lived in big cities, small towns, and overseas. And I have seen evidence of some of the same behaviors/words coming from you. What you accuse others of doing, certainly looks to be the same that you do to others.

You call issue to the current POTUS' "demonstrat(ing) lack of leadership" or "passing up chance after chance to work with (others) to get meaningful things done." You refer to him as being a "bully" and "divisive," rather than being "the uniter" [sic] . You accuse him of "ramming" his ideas/policies down the throats of others.

You even go as far to say about another man, "He gives off this air of superiority that borders on arrogance and makes him come across as condescending when speaking in public..." and as long as others are in agreement with the things he is doing/saying, things are " hunky dory."

I am not quite sure if you are talking about the current "reigning" President, or yourself as the "King-of-Having-All-the-Right-Answers."

I would hate to have willingly taken on the responsibility that it seems you have accepted. Being "the first in line to say, 'I told you so'," will put you in the position of others turning to you to now rule the world, as they know it. Those are pretty big shoes to fill.

Stephen Covey, in his book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People," shares Step 5 as "Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood". When we use an empathic listening style so that we can be genuinely influenced by someone, it encourages (or even compels) them to be equally as such and be open-minded to being influenced by you. It shows caring, and a willingness to work together positively toward finding solutions to any problem.

While I did not vote for President Obama either time, the lion's share of American people who voted did so. I disagreed with the way that the healthcare issues were "resolved," as I believe that, if we are going to get the government involved with being the provider, a single-payer system would have been the better option. I often sit and shake my head at some of the things that I hear coming from the mouths of that side of politics, but I do the same when I hear those leaders in the right wing of politics open their mouths.

A title does not make one a leader. I learned that when I served in the military--two branches. I also learned that just because one does not hold a title, does not mean that they hold no responsibility for their actions or their words, especially when they want to influence others to another way of looking at a situation.

So, if I may paraphrase your words, and add my own flavor, as it applies here in presenting our views, if we want others to consider being open to hear or consider our views:

A leader is not supposed to say only what others want her/him to say, s/he is to speak the truth, first by listening to the whole before making a sound and just argument, and also to consider others when philosophies are discussed. Only when s/he shows that there is willingness to do so, and not be dictatorial in presentation, will others take the arguments presented as having merit.

Whether speaking about THE President, A King, or ONE common woman/man, each has an opportunity to share ideas and show that of which they are made. Each of them (us) has an opportunity to influence others (good or bad).

But very few will ever truly understand what might make them A LEADER.

© Coral Levang, 2015

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wolfgirl569 wrote on March 14, 2015, 2:41 PM

I want to thank you for serving, my husband is also a veteran from Vietnam. I also think you got your views across very well here. I hope it encourages some soul seeking and thought from all of us.

BarbRad wrote on March 14, 2015, 2:50 PM

As a veteran, you do have a perspective many of us don't, and I like the way you expressed it. I fear now, though, for those in the active military who are serving under this Commander.

CoralLevang wrote on March 14, 2015, 2:53 PM

wolfgirl569 Thank you for your kind comment, and my kudos and heartfelt thanks to your husband for serving. Although I am an -Era veteran, any of us who sign on the dotted line do so knowing that we could be put somewhere where others would not go. As a member of the service of the Cold War, there are many of us, men and women alike, who were veterans during peace-time and are told that our service "did not matter." So, thank you on many counts. We all must be willing to think. Unfortunately, we are not in a society that encourages it, even from those who think they do.

CoralLevang wrote on March 14, 2015, 3:05 PM

barbRad I fear for this country for those who are influenced by people who use any method to spread their agendas, without willingness to think about the whole.

And, I will agree with you about this CinC, but there are many others who have been no different. What I see as different, as I still serve working with those who are active military, is that people rarely join out of true service to others, but mostly about what is in it for them. The majority seem to join because of the paycheck (much greater than I EVER saw, the brand new teenager first joining making $18K taxable, and many thousands in non-taxable allowances, which some have reported in totality being excess of $30K for an entry level ) or for the educational benefit.

Last Edited: March 14, 2015, 3:22 PM

MegL wrote on March 14, 2015, 3:47 PM

Very well put for ANY country. If we are in a democracy, we accept the outcome of a (fair and open) vote.

cmoneyspinner wrote on March 14, 2015, 4:26 PM

God bless America. Everybody gets to say what's on their mind. If they CHOOSE to say it. If they don't want to say it, that's OK too!

CoralLevang wrote on March 14, 2015, 4:33 PM

Yes, even as a veteran, when it was against the UCMJ to speak ill of a CinC, it was still a choice. There was a consequence to doing so.

CoralLevang wrote on March 14, 2015, 4:35 PM

Thank you, MegL ... but thankfully, we still have a right to fair and open debate, as I see it. It is when either party tries to silence others unfairly that I take issue.

Soonerdad3 wrote on March 14, 2015, 5:59 PM

I too took the oath three times during my U.S. Navy service from '83-'92 and yes I had no problem showing my respect to the office of POTUS even when Bill Clinton was in office. After getting out of the Navy and no longer obligated to show such respect to POTUS I only did when they deserved it. So now with Barack Hussein Obama in the White House I don't see any reason to refer to his as the office he holds. I never said anyone has to agree with me after all, everyone is entitled to their opinions.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for service the U.S.A.

SoundNFury wrote on March 14, 2015, 7:37 PM

Thank you for your service. Very well put. I don't like everything about the president, but overall I think he has done a good job, especially considering the state of the country when he took office. I try to keep an open mind towards his detractors, but I find that some of them simply despise him, and nothing he does will ever be good enough or satisfactory.

j2jworkz wrote on March 14, 2015, 7:47 PM

I am always interested as to the reasons one chooses military service; whatever the reason(s) may be it is a definite sacrifice and a sacrifice on many levels those of us not in the military can only surmise. Thank you for your service. And thank you for a post which encourages thoughtful and respectful debate.

scheng1 wrote on March 15, 2015, 5:40 AM

Obama implemented a lot of policies that will make the future generation pay. This Obama care is one good example. Sooner or later the future generation has to pay dearly.

CoralLevang wrote on March 15, 2015, 10:03 AM

Yes, I remembered that you were also a veteran, and I will again share how much I appreciate you and any and all who have served. Thank you for your sentiment, as well.

Let me, once again, say that I have no problem with you sharing your opinions, but simply see your delivery being testament to similar behavior that you call others out for exhibiting.

Thanks for commenting.

CoralLevang wrote on March 15, 2015, 10:13 AM

SoundNFury Thank you on both counts.
"The state of the country" when anyone takes office is in dire straits, in my opinion. We do not have politicians on either side that can get things done. Anyone from either party that can be electable is not worth the votes. We have come to a point where we do not vote the best person for the job, but the lesser of the two evils, as we see it. Most do not make a choice based on research, but on the R or D words. People are typically small-minded or uninformed. We do not teach our children to investigate, question, and come to a conclusion, because we do not do it ourselves. Instead, we want puppets to mimic our thoughts and behaviors. Ego is the definer for most of us. Politics is only one way see that.

CoralLevang wrote on March 15, 2015, 10:16 AM

I appreciate your kind words.
I also appreciate thoughtful and respectful debate, versus the rantings that we all see most often where any issue is concerned.

Soonerdad3 wrote on March 15, 2015, 10:21 AM

Not quite sure I know what you mean by that in your last statement, but most of my post was purely a rant about Obama's tenure in the White House.

CoralLevang wrote on March 15, 2015, 10:21 AM

And the future generation will support and vote for future Presidents, which will do the same, as our generations have paid for policies that are ineffective today, such as Social Security. We all pay dearly, when we insist on getting our due (entitlement) to a program that might have had some merit, but is not sustainable. We must always remember that one person is not the culprit, either.

Again, I did not vote for this particular President, and I find it difficult to vote for any of them nowadays.

GemOfAGirl wrote on March 15, 2015, 1:10 PM

Thank you for being the Voice of Reason in a wildly passionate "debate".

I recently read a biography about Colin Powell, and it spent some time dealing with the fact that, as a member of the military, he tried to stay apolitical throughout his career. It's a truly remarkable thing, given that his wife is from Birmingham, and she was living in the area during the issues they were having there in the early 1960's while he was serving in Vietnam.

I have my deeply held opinions as much as anyone else, and I do try to keep my head about me and refrain from name-calling, but I know that I have moments (often) when I fail, sometimes quite badly. I'm currently in the middle of tax season (a big part of my job this time of year is preparing tax returns), so I hear a lot of uncensored opinions from every side of any issue, and the hardest part of my job is keeping my mouth shut and my opinions to myself. It's a part of my job that I see every day how the ACA has personally affected my clients, and in past years, I've seen how some clients have been affected by not having insurance coverage, so I tend to have strong opinions on that as well.

I know I've thanked you for your service in the past, and I thank you again. It takes cajones to make such a huge commitment, and to be able to do it with the amount of dignity and grace that you have is a testament to your character.

CoralLevang wrote on March 15, 2015, 1:27 PM

GemOfAGirl Thank you for your compliments. Please know that I am as human as the rest of 'em. LOL It's all I can do NOT to go ballistic when faced with what people spew as their "right" to spew. Though debate/philosophical argument can certainly become rather heated, it is always important to listen. Thanks again.

PriscillaKing wrote on March 16, 2015, 4:47 PM

While I think neither Obama nor Clinton nor Romney, nor anyone else who's promulgated an insurance-based mess in place of a sensible system of paying the actual cost of medical care, should ever get a vote from anyone not currently employed by an insurance firm, I'd agree that hating the person who's promulgated the bad idea is not going to solve anything either. Right now I think the Republicans in the Senate need to be seeing more discussion of viable solutions to Obamacare (and Romneycare).

CoralLevang wrote on March 17, 2015, 5:05 AM

PriscillaKing We are in total agreement here. Unfortunately, too many are more interested in keeping the argument going, rather than finding solutions.