How America has Changed: Reaction to Scalia's Passing

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Patrick Murray's picture

How America has Changed: Reaction to Scalia's Passing

The passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, on the same day of the 9th Republican Presidential debate, set off a political firestorm about whether or not President Obama should nominate a successor.  I believe that the President should select a nominee regardless if it's his final year or not. Barack Obama's term doesn't end when a Supreme Court Justice dies; it ends at noon on January 20, 2017. 

 

I was disappointed when many Democrats immediately celebrated his death. I am a gay, moderate, Democrat and you're probably asking why wasn't I celebrating his death? This is a man who stood on the opposite end of the political spectrum for everything I've ever believed in. I didn't celebrate his death because I wanted to show respect. There used to be a time in America when a high ranking political official died, we showed respect. I hold admiration not for Scalia entirely, but to the office he had held for three (3) decades. That is a respectable amount of time making consequential decisions on the bench. 

 

When President Kennedy died, Republicans were in awe of his death. The nation mourned for days and we were left traumatized as the youngest man elected President was shot and killed on live television. When President Nixon announced his resignation, Democrats and Republicans around the nation surrounded their television sets and watched for the first time as an American President left his office before his term was complete; the nation as a whole was saddened. I'm sure Democrats were happy, but at the same time they realized it was still a sad moment for the country. 

 

My point is that while I am glad we might have the chance to appoint a more liberal justice to the Supreme Court. My showing respect for the death of a Supreme Court Justice doesn't mean I've surrendered my political allegiance to the American conservative movement. It means I respect the office that he held for thirty (30) years. We used to be a country where we showed respect for our leaders regardless of political affiliations. We didn't immediately jump on the bandwagon with an abundance of immediate personal attacks. But it seems now we are a country that doesn't even know what respect is. We don't show respect for anyone anymore. We have politicized almost every event and the media hasn't helped in restoring respect for our leaders. 

 

If President George W. Bush had died while in office I would've shown respect for the office of the Presidency. The Presidency is an office that is not respected anymore; President Obama knows that well. But if we are going to continue to politicize sensitive events like these we will not be coming together as a nation anytime soon. Again I'm a gay, moderate Democrat, but I don't have to hate the opposition to disagree with its leaders. I don't need to like any of the Republican party leaders, but if I had the honor of meeting a former Republican President I would show them the same respect our parents were taught many years ago. Not because I agree with their politics, programs, or even their legacies, but because it's the right and ethical thing to do.  

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