That is Patriotism!

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By Atiba Madyun

You’ve heard by now, that Rudy Giuliani who led NYC through 9/11, said that President Barack Obama is unpatriotic and doesn’t believe in America.  This led me to wonder, how do you define the President of the United States as unpatriotic?

How is a President, who led the nation out of its worst recession since the Great Depression, from double digit unemployment to 5.7%, unpatriotic?  How do you call the President unpatriotic, when he made the decision that led to our troops killing the mastermind of 9/11?

Mr. Giuliani’s comments were given on the heels of President Obama’s speech at the White House Summit on Countering Extremism.  In his speech, he referred to ISIL and other terrorists as “violent extremists” instead of linking terrorism directly to Islam.

As an American, raised in a Muslim family, I appreciated the President distinctly differentiating between violent extremists and Islam even when, some inside the White House wanted the President to link Islam with extremism. Instead, the President said to the nation and the World that, “We are not at war with Islam.  We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”

Imagine what the world would be like if a man like Giuliani was President, perverting the issue for political reasons?  It would divide us as a nation and separate us from other good Muslims in the world.  That would be irresponsible and unpatriotic.

Mr. Giuliani, the President is the leader of all Americans.  He has a responsibility to protect Americans here and abroad.  Had he done what you wanted him to, it would have added fuel to the fire and helped ISIL recruit even more people.

I am glad the President didn’t cave to hysteria and Islamaphobia.  Instead, he called on the entire world and religious community, in particular Muslim clerics to work together to combat “violent extremism.”

It scares me to think of a world where Giuliani or someone like him was President.  There is a reason you failed to secure the GOP nomination.  A President’s tone in this day and age has to be patriotic and resonate with the American majority.

Last month, when President Obama gave the annual State of the Union address, I was appalled when members of my party, the GOP failed to stand and applaud when the President said that the “State of the Union is strong.”  This was unpatriotic Mr. Giuliani, but we didn’t hear you call out the party!

Lines are drawn by Democrats and Republicans, as if we were at war with one another.  This week, the GOP is threatening to shut down the government over the President’s executive actions on immigration. Patriotism should always rise above partisan divide.  That’s why we came together when our nation was attacked on 9/11.

This nation is 150 years removed from slavery, an institution that nearly tore our nation apart.  It took the life of one of our most beloved Presidents.  Today, a majority of Americans are coming together around issues that we used to be far apart on.  Mr. Giuliani, it should be unpatriotic to be against raising the minimum wage.  It should be unpatriotic to close pathways to prosperity for many, so that a few can succeed.

I see things every day that show the President’s love for this nation.  It can be seen in his manner and decisions to make America a better place for his children and all children.   Is that not patriotic?

Our nation is on a better course than it was six years ago.  At times, I have questioned the President’s leadership and policies.  But, I have never questioned his patriotism.  As an American, it is my patriotic duty to voice concern, just as it is my duty to vote and give whoever is the President, an opportunity to lead and succeed.  Today, six years into his Presidency, with no more campaigns to run, he is free to lead his way and I like what I see!

In light of violent extremism, Mr. Giuliani, I wholeheartedly appreciate the President’s decision to take out this enemy.  To do this successfully, he will need to build a large coalition.  I believe him when he says, we will defeat them.  So we should give the President a chance and if he is wrong, then come back and criticize that, but not his patriotism.

His record as Commander in Chief has earned him that privilege.  The President is doing his patriotic duty, by seeking ways to destroy an enemy like ISIL, without putting more young men and women in harm’s way, as we did in the last decade.  Isn’t that patriotic and commendable?

Our President has ushered in affordable healthcare for millions of uninsured Americans.  He seeks policies that provide greater mobility for the middle class.  Why?  Because he knows that this will strengthen the economic stability of our nation.  Leveling the playing field, so that every American has an opportunity to prosper in the world’s richest nation is good for our national security and it is patriotic!

Mr. Giuliani, we are grateful for the leadership you displayed on September 11, 2001.  We would be more grateful if you did one more patriotic thing.  Get out of the way.  Let our nation, fulfill its destiny and the course our nation’s founders set us on, to become a more perfect union for, WE THE PEOPLE. That is patriotism!

Atiba Atiba Madyun is the President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm based in Washington, D.C. and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR) and Party Politics (PP).

Do The Right Thing!

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DC streets are empty as the #GovernmentShutdown enters Week 2.  If you ever saw the movie S.W.A.T., you may remember Samuel L. Jackson saying,”Sometimes doing the right thing, ain’t doing the right thing.” With that in mind, what if federal employees after the shutdown ends refused for days to go back to work? Would elected officials think two or three times before ever considering shutting government down again?

The President and the Democrats are right to stand firm on their position. What I offer here is a personal assessment. That is that Democrats should call out Republicans and in particular Speaker John Boehner. They should paint Republicans refusing to vote on a clean Continuing Resolution (CR) to get the government running, as “unpatriotic” and “un-American.”

Instead of going through the litany of accusations, Dems should say over and over, that keeping the government closed, weakens our national security. That it morally fails to protect poor children. That shutting down the government impacts good American families and is un-American.

This would raise the volume in the Republican echo chamber. We would hear people like Senator Rand Paul crying with statements like this one he made yesterday, on Meet the Press.  “President Obama is unwilling to negotiate.  He wants 100% of ObamaCare. He doesn’t want to give up on anything. It is his way or the highway.”

Senator Paul stop whining, stop crying! You’re as responsible as anyone for this #governmentshutdown. You want more than 100% of a number of things. That isn’t negotiation. You are holding the American economy, American worker and country hostage.

Dems should ask Senator Paul, how keeping health care to 40 million uninsured Americans is unpatriotic. How pushing reforms for preventive care that positively impacts all Americans is un-American.

Dems should ask questions like Vanessa Guthrie did hosting Meet the Press yesterday to Senator Paul, “if you think the Dems want to keep the government shutdown whey would you fall into their trap?”  Paul’s response was weak, because there isn’t a good answer.  Just like there isn’t a good answer supporting keeping the #governmentshutdown.

FEMA employees were called in over the weekend because of a storm hitting the east coast.  After the danger subsides they will be furloughed again. These are additional and unnecessary costs that impact the economy?

Employees at FEMA are an example of how good American people strengthen not weaken our nation. The budget sequester and the shutdown should never have happened. Both weaken our economy, strain American families directly and indirectly.  Where is the patriotism in this? How does it promote American values.

That is why Speaker Boehner, you can demonstrate your patriotism by putting a clean CR to a vote. Even if it means losing your position as Speaker of the House.  Sometimes doing the right thing ain’t doing the right thing. Because doing the right thing for one or some, isn’t the doing the right thing for all.

Have the courage! Do the right thing!  Call for a vote and let Congress vote it’s conscious. Hold a vote on the debt ceiling and stop tying this to a law that’s already been passed. Do the right thing!

Frederick Douglass a Republican said “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, it never will.  Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both.  The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

Speaker Boehner you are losing power. The course you are on, will lead to losses now and in 2014.

You can no longer secure power protecting just a few.  The right thing to do, is the right for the country. There is nothing to negotiate Mr. Speaker. Let none of us forget that “arguing with a fool, only means there are two.” Stop arguing with the Tea Party. Stop letting this small faction of the Party try to govern the country. Mr. Speaker, “Do the right thing!” for America.