ELIZANDRO: Conceding conservatism

John Elizandro

As a McCain supporter, it’s not hard to imagine my feelings as I watched the election results pour in on Nov. 4. Disappointed if not surprised, I had always held out just a little bit of hope that the polling would be wrong and somehow McCain would snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat.

Though a last-second comeback was not meant to be, I did notice a mildly unexpected feeling as the Obama victory was cemented: I didn’t want to move to Canada. After watching the reaction of the liberal left after the 2004 election, I had assumed such a sentiment was natural. I remember hearing the promises (most of them tragically unfulfilled) of several radical Hollywood stars pledging to move to Canada in the event of a Bush reelection. In no time, I started seeing bumper stickers and T-shirts proclaiming Bush was “Not MY President.”

Remarkably enough, after a grueling and ultimately unsuccessful election campaign, I feel no inclination to abandon my country. I don’t want to move to Canada, and I don’t feel compelled to camouflage my American accent when traveling in Europe. I may have voted against him, but Obama will indeed soon be my president.

If there is a silver lining to be found in the election loss for the 57 million people who voted against President-Elect Obama, it is that we will finally be spared the venom and disrespect directed at the presidency by the radical left. For the last eight years, Bush’s opposition has descended from a thoughtful critique of his policies to petty name-calling and vicious personal demonization. Comparisons to Hitler were routine, and personal insults about the intelligence of a man with degrees from Harvard and Yale were commonplace.

As Obama takes office, conservatives in America would do well to remember their outrage over the left’s classless behavior. I have no doubt that similar T-shirts and bumper stickers are already being printed to oppose Obama’s election, but Obama is worthy of the same respect as Bush.

That’s not to say we should not oppose his policies. On the contrary, it’s vitally important that we do everything we can to thwart the “progress” Obama will attempt to implement in the country. Obama plans to enact the largest increase in government power since the 1960s. His tax plan is economic suicide in the midst of a recession; his foreign policy exudes weakness to a world full of America’s enemies. His ties with past radicals are frightening, and his intention to “spread the wealth around” rings of socialism.

All of these measures should be opposed, but the opposition should not be defined by the same rage that was the hallmark of liberalism’s exile.

It is important as well to acknowledge the triumph of Obama, the first black president in our nation’s history. He has achieved what would have been utterly impossible just 20 or 30 years ago, and his election has finally put to rest the haunting of racism in America’s past. But the euphoria of the history of the moment cannot cloud our judgment of his policies. Disastrous policies are no less disastrous when pursued by the first black president.

Ultimately, conservatism’s opposition to Obama should be measured not by the vitriol of its rhetoric but by the power of its ideas. We should oppose vehemently Obama’s liberal agenda, but it must always be done with class and dignity. Republicans’ disdain for Obama is not unreasonable, but despite our contempt, Obama will soon be the president of the United States and should be treated as such.

You will read no harsher critic of Obama’s liberal policies than myself, but he is the democratically elected leader of my country. He has earned both my congratulations and my respect, and despite my disagreements, he will have both.


John Elizandro is a freshman from Radnor, Pa. He can be reached at [email protected].