I'm no fan of President Obama.
I didn't vote for him the first time or the last time.
I've publicly condemned Obamacare as well as what I believe are Obama's failed economic and foreign policies.
That does not give me, you or anyone else the right to trash him or his family. Nor does it give us the right to tell outright lies.
Unfortunately, that's exactly what has been going on, especially over the past few weeks. Disgusting cheap shots have been taken at both the President and the First Lady.
Yet, the glaring truth hasn't prevented local Obama critics from going to social media to criticize Obama on this issue – ranging from sarcastic memes to false claims that Obama missed attending a murdered US general's funeral for a round of golf.
Aldridk Gessa, a local customer service supervisor, was non-apologetic about her contempt for Obama. "I just think that given the state of the U.S. as well as foreign crisis the president seems disconnected. The only time the public really sees or hears from him as of late are during very short speeches. Other than that it seems to be about vacations, golf and fundraiser. Hence, under the public eye, he comes off as completely out of touch with the people. Most reasonable people understand the president has access to all information even while vacationing or golfing. However, I doubt he's gonna stop mid swing or swim to tend to any highly important matter. Therefore, I believe the criticisms are well deserved and in a way even self inflicted."
Gessa was not alone in her criticism.
"I do not care what those have done before him. I care about his actions," Dale Kerns told me, adding, "He claimed vacation was wrong as president, and devotion for a whole term was needed. He said, as president, 'I must sacrifice and give myself to you as a nation.' This was in '08, which apparently was a different Obama on many standards."
Kerns, an electrical contractor from Morton, PA, provided me with this video as evidence of Obama's position against taking vacations.
Yet, most people I spoke to held a more postive view on the role of presidential vacations.
"Does anyone actually believe the President (of any Party) actually is completely on vacation?" asked Scott Migli, a former executive director of the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania. "He still has his national security briefing each morning and I'm fairly confident many more calls, emails and meetings while on "vacation. I absolutely hate the cheap shots too from either side. Being President is never ending day after day. Look at them and how they change after their time in office physically. I don't agree with Obama on a whole lot as far as policy, but damn people he still deserves "time off." Such utter ridiculousness," said Migli, who now is the president of Battlefield Strategies LLC in Virginia.
However, Migli did feel that Obama has not always shown proper timing. "Now, I do disagree that 20 minutes after one of the worst terrorist moments in US history with a young man being beheaded that he should have gone out golfing laughing and joking. I would have waited till the next day. But, that's optics and not policy either."
Center City Realtor Jeff "City" Block, who himself was on vacation when I contacted him, had this to say. "Nothing relaxes me more on vacation than when I can relax with my family and also have access to my work email and phone. I've heard the insults of Obama, and I've heard the same of [George W.] Bush. I've always felt that if the presidents were anything like me, that they're probably in constant contact with all of their duties and obligations. It would be ridiculous to assume that the presidents were not in constant contact."
Carmella Siravo, from Washington Township, NJ, didn't mince words, either, about the integrity and dignity of the office of the presidency. "Like our President or not, I think it is a disgrace when one disrespects their own President. It is a mockery of all we stand for as Americans for all other countries to see."
I couldn't agree more. I've never seen the viciousness of attacks on any US president more than Obama in my lifetime.
Why is that?
Nia Meeks, a Philly-based writer and political analyst, chimed in. "Media has become such a dominant force in our lives, shaping opinions in milliseconds, even when fueled by half-truths, distortions and fallacies. Listening to some young people discuss Ferguson yesterday -- thoughtful kids from Operation Understanding -- you can see the direct impact this sort of frustration-fueled speech is having on the fabric of our democracy and civility. And it's not good."
Dennis Jackson, a Philly-based insurance agent, had a theory. "We all have issue biases based on our upbringing, entitlement and overall belief system as it pertains to human beings and culture. I wish it were easy to love and respect people until shown otherwise. It is a very difficult task for some."
Manwell Glenn, a tour guide hailing from Wynnefield, was direct. "We are making HUGE strides, we are! You can tell by how comfortable many folks feel while being honest about their opinions and bias. People are VERY frustrated these days and are tired of the burden of PC [political correctness] so to HELL with civility."
Frank Lewis, a college math instructor from Brooklyn, coined a new term to describe the backlash against Obama. "I've known people who started to criticize Obama literally the day after the 2008 election. Didn't even wait for him to get sworn in. I suspect these same folks are among the "vacationistas."
"Vacationistas," I asked?
"Fashionistas get petty about clothes," Lewis told me, adding, "Vacationistas get petty about how we spend our leisure time."
Contact Featherman at John@Featherman.com