George Graham

Thank God for a President Who Keeps His Cool Under Fire

I could never be President. I would get so mad at the unfair criticism, the mindless opposition, the frustrating web of lies and subterfuge that I would throw the key to the White House in somebody’s face and head for the hills. That’s why Americans should be thankful for a President who has the character to keep his cool under fire, to smile when others might rage, to try to understand the other side, however absurd that side might be.

Never before in the history of America has a President been so unfairly maligned. I wonder why. Is it just coincidence that never before in the history of America has a President been non-white? Or are some people just meaner and stupider now than ever?

I know George W. Bush took a lot of heat – even had shoes thrown at him. But he deserved it. And did anyone suggest he was born in Texas and, therefore, was not an American? After all, some Texans still insist the state is a separate country, and others are eager to secede from the Union.

Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, which is unquestionably a part of the United States and is not planning to secede anytime soon. Yet a growing movement, which has recently been embraced by the Republican Party, insists Obama was not born in America. One of the sly congressmen fostering this myth appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball” last night, grinning and smirking while host Chris Matthews waved Obama’s birth certificate in his face.

jeansThe slights against the Obama family are too numerous to list in a blog… Including racial insults, even obscene slurs directed against 11-year-old Malia, you name it, somebody is doing it. Even the jeans the President wears has come under fire. When he threw out the¬†first pitch at the All-Star Game in St. Louis last week, he wore a baggy pair of jeans. Immediately the cry went up: Those are “mom jeans”! The President is uncool!

A lesser man might have lost it. For crissake!¬† With all he has on his plate, people are focusing on his jeans? But the President took it in his stride. On NBC’s “Today Show” he acknowledged that he “looked a little frumpy” in his baggy jeans. He explained that he hates to shop and “those jeans are comfortable.”

“For people who want a president to look great in tight jeans, I’m sorry,” he said. It was the first time a sitting U.S. president has apologized for not wearing skinny jeans. But – hey – that’s typical of his low-key style. And his sense of propriety. Who in his (or her) right mind would want the President to wear tight jeans in public?

Thankfully, Obama has the character to shrug off the relentless sniping. He has his hands full trying to save the country from itself. Faced by the ferocious opposition of politicians who are obviously on the payroll of lobbyists, he has a full-time job trying to provide health care for all Americans, rich or poor.

On the other side of the world, American men and women are risking their lives to protect their country from Al Qaida and the Taliban. And an unthinkable nuclear threat looms in North Korea and Iran.

At the same time, he must pull the country out of its worst economic nosedive in 70 years, while saving a global economic and financial system from imploding. Unseen in these epic struggles are the powerful forces that pull the strings, forces that would see the world go to hell in a hand basket before they would relinquish their dominance.

In this David-and-Goliath struggle, another man might crumple. Another man might rage. But not this valiant crusader for decency and humanity. He takes the heat and keeps on keeping on.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for