[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/20/obama.inauguration/art.obama.bush.cnn.jpg caption="The Obamas met with the Bushes at the White House on Tuesday after a morning church service."]
Since the election, I have made a point of helping my kids understand that as Americans, we must respect the office of the President and that even though mom and dad didn’t vote for him, Barack Obama, is “our” President and Michelle is “our” First Lady. Today I reminded them that this is our inauguration party too!
Interestingly, I was in D.C. in 2000, when George Bush was inaugurated. With our baby in her stroller, my husband and I were confronted with hundreds of angry protesters hell-bent on destroying what should have been a bi-partisan celebration of the “peaceful transition of power”. They yelled at us and shook their fists as we peacefully walked down the street trying to find a spot on the parade route. Sadly, as Laura and President Bush drove by, our cheers were challenged by a band of sore losers behind us who booed and screamed “Usurper!”
Here’s an excerpt from a letter from Democratic Representatives Anthony Weiner and Jim McDermott chiding President Bush for the cost of his inauguration and suggesting festivities should be scaled back in light of the war as President Roosevelt and Wilson did:
"President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake…During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified."
Despite such hypocrisy, polls this week show bi-partisan rallying behind Obama (80% approval) and a whole lot of goodwill from a whole lot of Republicans who just suffered a brutal defeat a mere two months ago.
Even though 2/3 of the country does not expect a major economic turnaround in the next two years, 61% remain optimistic that things will be better within five years time. That’s quite a show of confidence.
All weekend, I’ve watched the media chalk all this bi-partisan support up to the power of Obama to inspire and unite. OK, I expect that. But how about giving Republicans the credit they deserve for rising above politics, supporting their new president, and simply being good sports. Beginning with President Bush’s elegant commitment to ensure a smooth and cooperative transition, it seems to me that the Republicans have taught the nation a lesson in patriotic graciousness.
Editor's Note: Rachel Campos-Duffy is a television host, pundit, author and mother of five. She is currently AOL’s resident parenting expert and writes a weekly column for Parentdish.com. She also contributes to AC360.com, the Daily Beast and other online publications.
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