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I'm Tired of Hating President Obama

I’ve got a confession to make – a deep, dark secret that could get me into a lot of trouble with my conservative friends and something that may even get me thrown out of the Fox News fan club.

I’m tired of hating President Obama. That’s right. I’m downright exhausted. Ever since President Obama was elected a year ago I feel haunted by a dark, addictive force that constantly tempts me into obsessing over all the reasons why President Obama is bad for America.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying I’ve changed my mind but if I have to be completely honest, I’d like to.

I take no pleasure in harboring malcontent toward the president of the United States. I’ve never disliked an American president throughout my lifetime until now and I can’t help but admit that it bothers me that I feel this way.

I’d like to like my own president.

I’ve never had respect for the people who hated George W. Bush and I always felt their disrespect toward him was irrational. This past weekend, I carefully thought about why I disliked President Obama so much and I realized it’s because I see a systematic attempt to keep his campaign promise to “fundamentally change America.�

That frightens me because although I think America needs some changes, I don’t think America needs fundamental change. Fundamentally, America stands for freedom. It stands for free enterprise and it stands for helping people around the world. Fundamentally changing America means replacing it with something new and if that’s the case, then it would cease to be America – and I can’t support anyone who believes in that.

What about all those people who hated George W. Bush? What was their excuse? Well, if you listen to what they have to say, they actually believe Bush endangered the Constitution with the Patriot Act and violated international law by indefinitely detaining enemy combatants and sending troops to Iraq.

Legally, I could argue every single one of those points. As a lawyer, I don’t think Bush ever violated the Constitution and I am certain he never violated international law. But at the very least, those people who disliked President Bush felt that his decisions were immoral and if that’s the case, then they had a right to feel that way and that can only mean one thing.

We, the people who refuse to support Barack Obama have a moral position to stand from as well.

There’s nothing wrong with disliking or even hating a president you don’t believe in as long as it isn’t blind hatred. That anger however, should be supported by valid reasons and should be tempered so that one is able to support their president in case he does reach his hand across the aisle.

George W. Bush made bipartisan efforts during his second term in office as evidenced by his work with the Democrats on the Kennedy/McCain immigration bill and the bailout. He also helped the people of Africa and victims of AIDS more than any other president in history.

That should have earned him some points with the left, but it didn’t.

The danger that Obama dissenters face is becoming just as irrational and unfair as the people who blindly hated Bush and no president deserves that.

At this moment, President Obama is considering launching a "surge" in Afghanistan -- a successful Bush strategy that turned the war in Iraq toward victory. Whether he launches a surge or withdraws troops completely, either decision would be an improvement over the current state of affairs. If he takes decisive action based on what’s right for America as opposed to gaining political support then he should be applauded.

Obama is also encouraging Congress to pass new oversight regulations that would finally empower the SEC to monitor complex shadow banking industry transactions. It's a move that is long overdue and would help preserve fair and ethical capitalism. If Obama can prevent another financial crisis and help Americans find their way back to economic prosperity, he will deserve credit for that, too.

Personally, I hope President Obama does all of those things because as an American I’d like to feel proud of my president. I know I’ll never agree with everything he does, but I know I can support him as long as what he does sounds American.

Personally, I look forward to that day, and I hope President Obama shifts closer to the center to become the bipartisan president he said he would be. In my heart, I know he can do it – I just hope he does for America’s sake – and selfishly, for my own.

I’d like to support my president again.

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is a Washington, D.C.-based investigative reporter and lawyer who can be reached at jshapiro@ufl.edu.

Jeffrey Scott Shapiro is an investigative journalist currently reporting on the Russian Federation.