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No president should be above criticism
By Dennis McWilliams

As I read some of the , I repeatedly recognize recurring themes: idol worship, a bizarre mixture of fundamentalism, radical right wing politics and veneration of politicians.

I'm sorry, but no president of the United States is a candidate for beatification or sainthood.

A recent letter stated, "It has also brought to light some serious flaws in the moral fiber of our country. Much of that is reflected in the hideous display of disrespect to the office of the president and the man who now occupies that office." This writer remarkably equates our constitutionally guaranteed freedom of political dissent with "serious flaws in the moral fiber of our country." Strange!

On the contrary, I suggest someone study a little American history. George Washington was called a "jackass" in a number of opposition newspapers. Every president since has been called names a lot worse than "jackass." To say that the president should be beyond criticism is both absurd and un-American. Contrary to some of his partisans' wishes, George II is not our king nor does his touch heal disease. In addition, contrary to the belief of some of the members of his cult, George W. Bush is not anointed by God.

In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt wrote:

"The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants. He should be supported or opposed exactly to the degree which is warranted by his good conduct or bad conduct, his efficiency or inefficiency in rendering loyal, able, and disinterested service to the nation as a whole. Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth about his acts, and this means that it is exactly as necessary to blame him when he does wrong as to praise him when he does right. Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile. To announce that there must be no criticism of the President, or that we are to stand by the President, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. Nothing but the truth should be spoken about him or any one else. But it is even more important to tell the truth, pleasant or unpleasant, about him than about any one else."

In my view, the statement that any president was "appointed and anointed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for such a time as we now face" contains a whiff of blasphemy. It is a disgusting concept to mix the Holy Name of Jesus Christ with that of a politician. It is also repugnant to the Constitution of the United States of America.

Dennis McWilliams
Originally published Wednesday, April 16, 2003