Whether you like him or not, whether you agree with him or not, one thing can definitely be said about our President. He has some cojones. I don’t mean this in the pejorative sense, as in, “Where he does he get off saying that?” No, I mean nothing but respect. His stances may not always be popular but at least they reflect a sense of integrity and a fundamental understanding of the law.
Let’s start with sports. The President is a White Sox fan and even though I don’t like the White Sox, I respect him for sticking by his guns. When he showed up at Nationals Park to see the Sox during interleague play, he didn’t throw on the home team cap. He wore a Sox cap, same as opening day. In fact, one of my many issues with Bill Richardson during the primary campaign was his claim that he liked both the Red Sox and Yankees. We all know that’s not possible. Baseball law says so. There’s none of that tomfoolery with Obama.
And when you get into what are often referred to as more “substantive” issues, Obama also rejects tomfoolery. Like health care or “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.” People may not like his stands but what he does is based on a firm understanding of the Constitution.
Which is why I’m also proud of the President’s stand on this ridiculous Ground Zero mosque kerfuffle. Yes, I understand that the men who crashed those planes into the WTC claimed to be Muslim. Timothy McVeigh claimed to be Christian. Does that mean no churches should be built near where the Oklahoma City Federal Building stood?
You can argue that the President may not have chosen the best time to weigh in on the controversy. But what you can’t argue is that the United States is a country built on the rule of law, the foundation of that law being the Constitution. When the Constitution grants the freedom of religion, that’s not just the freedom to be Christian. It’s the freedom to follow any religion or even no religion at all.
Sometimes this freedom isn’t pretty, like when you’re dealing with Hare Krishnas at the airport or Moonies milling about in Central Park. But it’s also the reason your mom and sisters don’t have to shave their heads and why we men don’t get in trouble for trimming our beards. It’s sad that a public figure being willing to say this requires cojones.