Sunday, December 27, 2009

Almost One Year of Obama

Let me start off by saying I haven't been more pleased with the presidency in a long time. I say this despite being disappointed that Obama had to start his presidency with weights tied around his neck due to our being already mired in two wars and a horrendous recession.

In such a short time, I've heard so much negativity about this president, that it sinks my heart. It's not that people disagree with him, but the way their disagreements are characterized makes me want to throw my hands in the air and say is there anyone realistically that can actually make everyone not want to run for the borders? Probably not. But here are some of what I've heard and why I disagree:

He's making this a socialist country or worse, a third world country: I do appreciate that the deficit is horrible and getting worse but where was that anger when it was happening over the past eight years. I find it disingenuous to suddenly be upset about it now. Socialist or not, I'd rather see us spend our money on health care of than foreign nation building. Most of our closest allies have some form of health care reform. Is it socialist? Socialist is a name that is inflammatory. Instead why not argue on the merits of doing this versus not doing this. By saying it's socialism and vilifying the democrats trying to pass this, you remove yourself from any meaningful dialog. Health care in this country needs help. Is this bill the answer? Probably not entirely, but by vilifying those working on it Republicans probably allowed the bill to be worse than it could have been if they had been a constructive part of the process.

He's not doing enough to help main street or stopping those fat cats from getting bonuses: I find it funny that the same president can be called a socialist while not doing the socialistic thing to help individuals or telling businesses how to run their businesses. Quite frankly, the fact that the right says he's doing too much and the left says he's not doing enough says that he's striking some sort of balance both in regard to what is right and what is politically feasible.

He's supposed to be the peace president, what's with the Afghanistan resurgence: He said in his campaign that he would focus more on Afghanistan. I do not understand why this is a surprise. I'm not thrilled with the escalation, but he did change the mission (which was needed) and I hope it will work out OK.

He hasn't done enough for gay rights: I too wish he'd do more, but I voted for Clinton in the primary because I felt she was better on gay issues. I never thought he'd make gay rights a top priority, but he has signed the hate crimes bill, told off Uganda about their nasty anti-gay legislature (although this may be more to do with Clinton), and has started some research into removing don't ask, don't tell. While I do accept that there is a lot else going on, I would prefer he do more for gay rights, but I still feel that with this president we are playing on the offense rather than defending against a marriage amendment!

He's the same as Bush: I really don't get this one. First of all, presidents cannot change everything in five minutes. He has a legislative process to face and a huge bureaucracy to deal with. Less than a year and we don't have rainbows flying out of our asses yet, so, he's at fault. I just don't get it. How he has re-engaged the world and his adament stand against torture alone puts him a world apart in my opinion.

Obama is a man. Those who expected him to be a deity are surely disappointed. Those who thought he'd be Stalin are making up crap to make their arguments seem true. I do not think Obama is a corrupt politician as some have claimed. I think the partisanship is tougher to overcome than he had thought. I think he's been asked to do more under worse conditions than most anyone should have to face. With that he's surpassed my expectations. Again, I don't expect everyone to agree with me, but I don't understand the vilification at all. At the very least, let me enjoy "my" president for a few minutes. I haven't gotten to appreciate our president in far too long. Disagree with his policies, actions, decisions, etc. If you think he's a Socialist, in bed with corporations, racist, lying Hitler-esque devil, then a little more evidence would be appreciated.

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