Monday, August 08, 2011

When the Arc of History Doesn't Bend ...

It's  a breezy Summer evening.  We  have  the windows open and  there is that wonderful, faint far-off tinge of  fall  in the air  that you sometimes get  in  early August.  Summer is by no means over,  thank goodness.  But,  you know  it's on the downward side,  and eventurally  the leaves will turn.   These "dog days" of Summer  are still light well past nine o'clock in the eventing but, you can't help notice  they are not as light as they were past  ten o'clock, just  a few short weeks ago.  

You can smell  all of that on the breeze...    Change.

As we saw in 2008,  as a political tool,  the call for change  can be very powerful.  Just as powerful is the threat of change, as we saw in the circus debate over health care reform back in  2009 and 2010.  Now in 2011 we see  the impact of  a lack of change.  Lack of change in our economy,  our  national sercurity, and our  general lot in life as nation.

I just finished  reading  Drew Weston's  powerfully written  essay in  last Sunday's  New York Times, entitled ; "What Happened to Obama?"   To be honest,  I didn't want to read it.   Weston is a Professor at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and one of the most eloquent  and cohereant  voices  on the American left.   I knew  that if I read his  analysis of President Obama one of two things would happen.  I would either get angry or I would get depressed;  and either way I'd end up with a headache, and I hate headaches.

I now have a headache.

I had orginally thought of going  through  Westen's  essay  point by point and explaining  how so many of us have been thinking, saying and feeling very much the same things for more than two years.  How we have lamented lost opportunity, been baffled by a lack of principle, lack of direction and even a lack of  the passion  that so fueled  then Senator Obama's  meteoric  rise to the Presidency.  But the truth is, I'm tired, and   you can  read the piece for yourself.    What stands out for me  is this one passage:

"THE real conundrum is why the president seems so compelled to take both sides of every issue, encouraging voters to project whatever they want on him, and hoping they won’t realize which hand is holding the rabbit. That a large section of the country views him as a socialist while many in his own party are concluding that he does not share their values speaks volumes — but not the volumes his advisers are selling: that if you make both the right and left mad, you must be doing something right. "

President Obama seems to think that  if he does everything he can to not take any confrontational, or even strong positions, then independent voters will identify with him  and think "he's reasonable and middle of the road, just like me!"  They won't.  The truth is,  they will see President Obama for what he is, either a weak man who was not up to challenges of the Presidency, or as a weak politician who's desperate cacluation  of what he,  and those around him think will get him re-elected, trumps all other considerations.

The American people voted in 2008 for "change",  what did that mean?    Depends who you ask.   What is so ironic  that it might have been funny, if happened in another country,  is how the Right got suckered in just as much as the Left did.    To hear Republicans tell their version of recent history, President Obama makes  FDR  look like Rush Limbaugh.

 They fling the word "Socialist!" around like a four year-old with a water balloon.    Marching on the Mall in Washington D.C., as they scream  nonsensical slogans like  "Keep your Goverment hands off my Medicare!"   You want to laugh,  but it's too sad.   The level of  delusion on the American right defies any sort of analysis. It's just crazy.

To say  the Obama Adminstration has  been anything other than spinelessly centrist,  is to be divorced from reality to such a degree that  you can only conclude the vitriol coming from the American conservate movement is in fact, no longer about poiltics at all,  but is entirely based on the President's  race. 

I voted for President Obama, and yes  I will  vote for him in 2012.  Yet the sad truth is,  it feels like once again, Americans are faced with the choice of  picking the lesser of two evils.   Vote to re-elect President Obama,  and you are a sucker who fell for the same shtick twice. Vote for whatever GOP-teabagging-lunatic the Republicans nominate to run against him,  and you are an idiot, who clearly would happily shoot yourself in the foot, if you could only get your hands on the firepower.

What I lament the most,  as we head into what promises to be  the ugliest  Presidential campaign in America's history, is what might have been.  Real health care reform,  real  immigration reform,  a repaired financial system that holds those who nearly destroyed  our econonmy accountable. Equal rights for all Americans,  and a sense of  stewardship of  the enviroment  that would have made Teddy Roosevelt  proud.   All  lost opportunities.  Lost in  a sea of  polticial  timidity. 

They say the arc of  history beds towards justice.  As what may end up being just his first term,  heads into it's final year,  the arc of the Obama Presidency is bending towards... nothing.  It merely blows in the wind like a tattered cloth.  Desperate to find the prevailing wind and ride it.   Yes I will vote for  the President  in  2012.  Yet all the while,  wondering if  a choice between cowardice and crazy is worthy of the effort.

1 comment:

Biki said...

Some where in the recent past, democrats stopped making decisions based on personal belief, and began bending which ever way that days political poles leaned. This inability to take the helm and lead our country, using their own thoughts and desires, has crippled us.

The republicans scare me to pieces! I tremble to think what this flock of candidates will do to our country, if any of them are elected. I think they will re-instate DADT, will strengthen DOMA, out law both abortions and birth control, and make being lgbt illegal again. What they would do to trans folk, I shudder to think.

So our choices are really nil. Vote for another 4 years of ruddlerless sailing, or life under the republican "taliban".

When I hear the republicans rail against the extremest Muslims, who are making their countries over into a church state, it makes me think, " slight of hand magic trick". They don't want us to notice that's where they are headed.