Friday, June 06, 2014

Politics can ruin even a soldier’s return home

One of the primary functions of our constitutional republic is that we elect people to make decisions on our behalf. We don’t always like the decisions they make. Some people, it would seem never like the decisions they make.

Personally, I’m not thrilled with the prisoner exchange orchestrated and executed by President Barack Obama that traded five Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. It has nothing to do with Bergdahl’s alleged desertion. It also has nothing to do with the claims by some that the five men we traded for him are the “terrorist dream team” or whatever. I just like the theoretical policy of not negotiating with terrorists.

All that said, we elected President Obama to make these decisions for us. Sometimes we’re not going to like them. When that happens, we should grumble … complain … maybe write our congressmen. Those are all patriotic expressions. Instead, what I’ve seen is a bunch of “adults” acting not very adult.

Barack Obama can’t brush his teeth these days without someone demanding an investigation and claiming it’s an impeachable offense. He can’t walk down Pennsylvania Avenue without someone making it into a political football — as they have with the Bergdahl exchange.

Maybe Sgt. Bergdahl isn’t an example of the best and brightest our military has to offer. In fact, maybe he’s a deserter — and by some accounts a traitor. But right or wrong, he’s an American.
He languished in a Taliban run Afghani prison for five years. We had an opportunity to get him back. And we did. Now that he’s returning home, we can address his alleged wrongdoings.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, members of congress are deleting tweets and recalling press releases that express any measure of happiness that an American soldier is returning home. The same congressmen who a few days ago said that they agreed with the exchange are now retreating from their statements and distancing themselves … primarily because the deal was orchestrated and executed by the president.

As generally apathetic as I am towards President Obama, the neverending zeal by the radical right to paint him as a Satanic Muslim terrorist who eats small children makes me root for the guy. I joke at times that if President Obama solved world hunger, the right would issue press releases lambasting him for contributing to overpopulation. If he cured cancer, they would chide him for killing jobs in the medical field. If he successfully negotiated to have an American soldier returned from a Taliban prison, they would call him unpatriotic and demand congressional hearings — oh, wait. That one happened.

We don’t have to agree with everything our government does. We have a God-given and Constitutionally recognized right to voice our opposition, even. As well we should. But opposing every single thing the president does because you want him to fail isn’t patriotic. Rooting against American prosperity because you don’t like the guy in the White House isn’t something to be commended.

Frankly, it’s treasonous.

The radical right has deserted our country. I demand hearings.

Scott Leffler is generally likable in person — until you get to know him. Best to just follow him on Twitter @scottleffler.