Dissing Barack

When Barack Obama was elected president, those who were so tired of the same old Washington song and dance eagerly looked forward to an new age of reason, transparency, and compassion in the way the people and their government work together. I think that even the most conservative amongst us, if they were willing to admit it, hoped that we would at least have a more “civilized” national discourse. Over time, however, the reality has proved to have little resemblance to what we hoped.

Of course no one who lives in the real world expected that every trace of the usual partisan bickering would just vanish, but I think that many, like myself, are a little shell-shocked at just how vicious the bickering has become. And while it’s no suprise that the new president isn’t getting much support from the folks who want to be able to say “I told you so!” later, it’s kind of unnerving to see how badly he’s being “dissed” by those who originally claimed his victory as their own.

In my Who’s Pimping Whom? post, I wrote about Keith Olbermann of MSNBC’s Countdown comparing Senator Joe Lieberman to a common streetwalker as part of a long rant about how the allegiance of various members of congress is for sale to the highest bidder. This statement was a reflection of the vitrial being directed at Senator Lieberman because of his perceived “treason” against the liberal cause that he formally championed. What I left out, however, was that the statement was made only as part of a very long, and very harsh, statement about how “weak” a leader Mr. Olbermann thought that the president has turned out to be.

Watching and listening to this, I couldn’t help but think that “with ‘friends’ like these, who needs enemies?” In fact, his proclaiming that the president needed to “grow a pair” was so intense that it reminded me of the kind of irrational anger I know a lot of Black people felt when Rodney King said “Can’t we all just get along?” But just as it was wrong to think of Mr. King as “weak” when he cried out for a return to civility, it is wrong to denounce president Obama as “weak” when he is exactly the kind of level-headed “doesn’t throw his weight around” kind of leader we’ve been crying out for.

While it may be true that the president, who is supposed to be the head of the Democratic Party, seems to actually be leading a pack of clowns who are more concerned with covering their asses for the next election than with following through on any of those “history making” reforms they all bragged that they would bring about, I don’t see how it’s fair to lay their failures at the president’s feet. This outraged disappointment at the lack of follow-through on the democratic agenda would be more appropriately aimed at those members of Congress who are actually showing themselves to be seriously lacking in balls, rather than at the president who is courageously bending over backwards to allow the system to work as it is supposed to.

I think that, rather than compelling the president to “ram” through the agenda those on the left want so bad, this type of back-biting only serves to strengthen the status quo of “us” versus “them” that has ground America’s political system to a halt. By advocating that extreme action be taken against those who disagree with his ideas, demands of this kind – from those who claim to be on his side – are actually pushing him to be just like the guy he replaced! You remember, the one that all of these same talking heads seemed to hate so much?

And Mr. Olbermann is not the only one who’s pissing me off lately. Those nutjobs over at Fox News have really gone overboard with all their fact twisting and outright lies. But what really takes the cake for me are their attempts, through the likes of Glenn Beck of all people, to hijack Ayn Rand’s philosophy and association with the the conservative movement to push their own sick and hateful, corporate-driven agenda. They’ve even somehow managed to drag John Stossel, whose work I’ve always respected and looked forward to reading over at The Atlasphere, into their dark, dank lair. But I guess I shouldn’t be so surprised, since even The Atlasphere has been smelling of right-wing taint lately. In all fairness though, I have not seen what Mr. Stossel is actually doing over at Fox News, and there are still plenty of great people associated with The Atlasphere.

But has anyone actually stood up and called these extreme-right idiots out for their blatant misrepresentations of Objectivism and the true definition of Capitalism? Absolutely not! Even the extremely articulate and reasonable sounding Rachael Maddeau revealed herself to be ignorant on what Ms. Rand actually stood for when she, instead of challenging the nutjobs’ ownership claims as the “Defenders of Capitalism,” she dismissed Ms. Rand’s philosophy as “juvenile idealism” that adults (like her?) grow out of before leaving high school! How can such an seemingly intelligent person speak so stridently about the need for a more rational and level-headed approach to the political process, while at the same time dismissing the most well reasoned philosophy of government ever conceived as being too “idealistic” and too “impractical” for the dog-eat-dog world of politics as it is today?

Now I’ve tried very hard, in this blog, to give you an idea of how I see the world and the people who live here. Along the way, I’ve made it clear that I don’t like being boxed into demographic stereotypes that tend to twist and obscure who I am and what I stand for as an individual. When I was much younger, and slightly more abrasive, I even proclaimed myself a “citizen of the universe” as my way of rebelling against any attempt to define me in conventional terms. But I’ve also joked about how scary I think it would be to be surrounded only by nutcases like myself.

As much as I need to feel free and unencumbered by associations with other people, I must admit that I am not alone and there are relationships that derive from common sensibilities that must be recognized and respected. In fact, my desire to be left in peace, to deal openly and fairly with others, and to be free from compulsion against my will actually places me in the same “group” that the vast majority of human beings belong to. Unfortunately, and specifically because of my distaste for “meddling,” it also places me in that majority that does not get involved.

And now that I’ve established just how much we actually have in common, I feel that I must remind everyone of just how tenuous our hold on the peace, fairness, and justice we hold so dearly is. We can go on and on about how we ended up where we are, but the fact is that while we were busy minding our own business and ignoring the madness outside our own lives, we’ve left the business of making sure we get to keep doing so in the hands of people that are so different from us that they might as well be aliens.

If you were to make a list those people who have the most power over our lives, and then another of the most hated occupations that people work in, a comparison of the two lists would show that the people from the first list fall neatly within the occupations of the second. The ugly truth behind this comparison is both the proof of our distaste for “meddling,” and the damning evidence for what happens when we leave the “dirty work” to those who are all too eager to do it.

We elected Barack Obama because he represented the more thoughtful and rational kind of leader that we’ve wanted for a good long while. Surely he has not lived up to the incredibly inflated expectations that were placed on his shoulders, but those of us who really thought it through knew that there was still a very tough road ahead. And I haven’t seen anything that tells me he isn’t exactly as advertised. Yet we say nothing while the extremists in our nation treat the man with a contempt that you can almost feel. And if you don’t think that this damages us in ways far more significant than some simple badmouthing from a few talking heads, I will remind you of the atrocious way our President – and our nation – was treated at the recent climate summit in Copenhagen.

You know, I have actually spoken to people who believe that the “ruling corporate-industrial class” deliberately rigged the election so that “the hapless nigga” can take the fall for their screw-ups. I prefer to believe that no one has that kind of power. And I find such a scenario too horrible to even contemplate. But the reality is that, while president Obama is boldly stepping forward in an effort to show that the old way is not the only way, those who brought him here are taking very large steps backing away from that effort while he’s making it. Regardless of whether we, as individuals, support his particular policies, I think that we absolutely must support his politics.

The fact is that as long as those with the most to lose are not the ones whose voices are being heard, the course of our political drama will continue to be written by those who are being heard. We had an election to decide who should captain our “ship of state.” We had better speak up about the wrong-headed “help” he’s getting from those whose actual intent is to help themselves.

I want ice water.

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8 thoughts on “Dissing Barack

  1. and why is this not on the front page of wp.COM? I’d rather this than another christmas recipe!

    The other night I was thinking about how it seems not too many are rallying around Obama anymore and so early in the game. That was one thing about the Bush administration that I did like, they may not have liked him or how he dealt with things but they still backed him right up until the end.

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  2. I was so disappointed at the lack of response that I almost decided not to even turn this hunk-o-junk on today. But I should’ve known that my good friend Bats wouldn’t leave me hanging. Thanks!

    After all the Democrat’s complaining for the last 8 years, and all the big talk about how different things would be if they were in control, I’m amazed at how they’re letting “politics as usual” show that they’re just as big a bunch of gas bags as the Republicans! How often do you get a leader like Obama? 😕

    Since insults and threats are all they seem to understand, maybe we should start calling them “Demoplicans” and “Repubocrats” to demonstrate that we don’t buy their claims of being so different from each other! Or better yet, maybe we should force them to wear donkey and elephant costumes so we can tell ’em apart! I’ll bet that would give us an Independent majority! 😆

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  3. You are very welcome! I don’t get why nobody else has responded.

    It seems all that politics is now are insults. I think if they put more power and energy in what really matters…the economy and health care reform…then maybe we could get out of this horrible slump. I just want someone to do SOMETHING when it comes to the condition our country and insulting isn’t solving any issues. I didn’t vote for Obama but will back him as much as I did the last administration. I don’t know, it’s all out of hand at this point and I am really getting frustrated with it all.

    Our country needs to rally together or we aren’t going to survive what is currently happening in our economy, our country. But we aren’t going to rally together because the people in power won’t rally behind their leader. We at this point need them to show us what needs to be done. All my own opinion though.

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    • An opinion I happen to share! Although I don’t think it’s proper to say so, Keith Olbermann was right to call them prostitutes for sale to the highest bidder. But he was wrong when he said that president Obama has no balls! As far as I can tell, he’s one of the very few in politics that actually do. If the guys who are supposed to be following his lead screw this up, his chances of being reelected are practically zero!

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    • Trust me, I meant “proper” only in the sense that I’d like to have a more “respectful” national discourse. And I don’t think that any normal person would go into politics in the first place, let alone run for president. But when all is said and done, Obama is a politician, and those guys are definitely not normal.

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