Keith Olbermann’s special comment was especially powerful tonight…
â€œI didnâ€™t vote for him,â€ an American once said, â€œBut heâ€™s my president, and I hope he does a good job.â€
Thatâ€”on this eve of the 4th of Julyâ€”is the essence of this democracy, in 17 words. And that is what President Bush threw away yesterday in commuting the sentence of Lewis â€œScooterâ€ Libby.
The man who said those 17 wordsâ€”improbably enoughâ€”was the actor John Wayne. And Wayne, an ultra-conservative, said them, when he learned of the hairâ€™s-breadth election of John F. Kennedy instead of his personal favorite, Richard Nixon in 1960.
â€œI didnâ€™t vote for him but heâ€™s my president, and I hope he does a good job.â€
The sentiment was doubtlessly expressed earlier, but there is something especially appropriate about hearing it, now, in Wayneâ€™s voice: The crisp matter-of-fact acknowledgement that we have survived, even though for nearly two centuries now, our Commander-in-Chief has also served, simultaneously, as the head of one political party and often the scourge of all others.
We as citizens must, at some point, ignore a presidentâ€™s partisanship. Not that we may prosper as a nation, not that we may achieve, not that we may lead the worldâ€”but merely that we may function.
But just as essential to the seventeen words of John Wayne, is an implicit trustâ€”a sacred trust: That the president for whom so many did not vote, can in turn suspend his political self long enough, and for matters imperative enough, to conduct himself solely for the benefit of the entire Republic.
Our generationâ€™s willingness to state â€œwe didnâ€™t vote for him, but heâ€™s our president, and we hope he does a good job,â€ was tested in the crucible of history, and earlier than most.
And in circumstances more tragic and threatening. And we did that with which history tasked us.
We enveloped our President in 2001.And those who did not believe he should have been electedâ€”indeed those who did not believe he had been electedâ€”willingly lowered their voices and assented to the sacred oath of non-partisanship.
And George W. Bush took our assent, and re-configured it, and honed it, and shaped it to a razor-sharp point and stabbed this nation in the back with it.
Were there any remaining lingering doubt otherwise, or any remaining lingering hope, it ended yesterday when Mr. Bush commuted the prison sentence of one of his own staffers.
Click on the headline to read the entire article. It’s well worth your time.
Update: YouTube video here.