Noteworthy editorials from Monroe, Abbeville and Baton Rouge

January 22, 2009

President Obama didn’t carry Louisiana, but in the wake of his election and inauguration, there have been a number of thoughtful newspaper editorials urging all Louisiana citizens to rally behind Obama as he tackles the serious challenges facing the country. Monroe’s News-Star:

If Barack Obama in action matches Barack Obama in words, America will be in good hands.

On a frigid January day, the 44th U.S. president surely warmed some iced-over hearts by speaking his fidelity to the Constitution, alluding to the New Testament, acknowledging our enormous debt is the product of bad choices, promising to restore the nation’s infrastructure, suggesting he will end failed government programs and vowing to defeat terrorism.

“…part of being an American is accepting majority rule, acknowledging the transfer of power, and giving the new leader a chance where it is deserved. Borrowing a line from President Lincoln, the newly elected president-elect noted that as a people we are not enemies but friends. That is true. There is more that unites us as Americans than divides us. As a people, we should welcome our new president to office, and pray that he will be wise and safe.”

And Business Report editor J.R. Ball shows admirable editorial integrity and independence in his column this week. Business Report is owned by former Bobby Jindal campaign treasurer and chief Jindal/McCain cheerleader Rolfe McCollister, but that didn’t stop Ball from proclaiming his willingness to give President Obama “a fair opportunity to lead this nation.” Ball also notes:

To me, the apogee of Obama’s address came about halfway in, when he said, “As for our common defense, we reject as false choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, … faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”

Sadly, this country abandoned many of its fundamental ideals (the right to privacy and human rights head the list) under George W. Bush, doing so in the name of public safety in a post-9/11 world. This is the biggest blight on W’s legacy.

Nations have always had disagreements with U.S. policy, yet we remained the planet’s most admired nation because, prior to Bush, we refused to compromise our core values. If Obama does nothing else, his term as president will be a success if he restores our credibility on this non-compromising front.

On a quasi-related note, the most unexpected editorial of the week comes courtesy of the Abbeville Meridional, which has a severe case of buyer’s remorse over its previous two editorials endorsing George W. Bush.

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