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Manfull: A president’s patriotism

BY ERIN MANFULL | FEBRUARY 27, 2015 5:00 AM

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The age-old phrase “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all” doesn’t really seem to apply to politics. If Frank Underwood has taught us anything from “House of Cards,” it’s that politics isn’t a place for fun or frills — it’s cutthroat and ruthless.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the most recent example of a politician not abiding by the common ideology of playing nice.

On Feb. 18, attending a private dinner featuring 2016 Republican presidential contender Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Giuliani openly began to question President Obama’s patriotism and dedication to America. In front of about 60 right-leaning attendees, Giuliani boldly said, “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.”

Even though it is his First Amendment right to express how he feels about the president (he made no threats or insinuated violence), it’s just plain and simply rude. My father, a rooted Republican, has always taught me that it doesn’t matter whether you agree with the political choices the leader of our nation makes, you still treat him with the upmost respect.

Our president is an elected official in the most prestigious and arguably the most challenging job obtainable. When I heard that Giuliani made such egregious remarks about Obama, I couldn’t help but to feel grossly embarrassed by his comments. A public official for seven years, a man who takes credit for putting New York back on its feet after 9/11, Giuliani should be ashamed of his comments about the president.

On Monday, Jon Stewart and “The Daily Show” graciously reminded viewers that “[Giuliani] isn’t the mayor of Sept. 11,” and although he’d like to think so, he isn’t the King of the World, either. Stewart pointed out that Giuliani knew he was pushing the limit with his comment because before he even said it, to a crowd of Republicans, he had to preface it by saying “I know this is horrible.”

Politics has and always will be messy and complicated, but to question our president’s patriotism and love for his county? That seems a little ridiculous. Giuliani claimed that Obama has no stated love for America or the American people, yet in his July 27, 2004, speech, Obama said, “These people are part of me. And they are part of America, the country that I love.” In fact, a Washington Post article goes through and finds countless times where Obama has included his patriotism as part of his speech because “patriotism has no party.”

Although Giuliani has attempted to retract his statements and clarify his comments, the fact of the matter is that he still said them. It’s totally acceptable to question agendas and policies, that’s the democracy Americans have fought for. But it’s uncalled for to question patriotism or national identity. I don’t necessarily align my political beliefs with Obama, and I strongly believe in the rights offered by the First Amendment, but Giuliani went too far to publically call the president of the United States of America, the commander-in-chief, unpatriotic.


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