It Is What You Make It

Nine months flew by since my last entry here, and all I can say is the more things Change, the more they stay the same. Since then, Obama fever dropped down to just above normal, as even some of the more faithful got to reason and critical thinking, and started asking tough questions of our new president based on his actions since taking office, as he’d wanted us to do. Encouraged by this, I guess I got lazy. In any case, I admittedly began tuning out politics again in favor of other, more enjoyable pursuits.

A few weeks ago, however, I was shaken back into it by the remarkable observations of a couple of usually like-minded individuals, both giving me the same line. I’d been so out of the loop I couldn’t argue but instead stared back blankly. On separate occasions, both starting with a conversation about the Nobel Peace Prize, I mentioned the irony of Obama accepting an award for peace right before going into a War Council meeting, where he would discuss sending even more troops than the tens of thousands he’s already committed to Afghanistan. I offered no further opinion, purposefully steering clear of that. The reactions were the same, to the effect of: Well, maybe we really do need to maintain this presence in Afghanistan and maybe sending more troops really is necessary.

Really? I thought a great reason to admire Obama was that he voted against the war in Iraq and would not escalate the situation in Afghanistan. But the thing that struck me only later and made me want to write about it is this: What would these same people be saying if it were George W. Bush approving a surge and considering additional troops? The fact is they would be outraged. And this double standard is the thing that drives me crazy, the tunnel vision that apparently is still very much alive out there, the unspoken imperative that we must treat this president with kid gloves, that criticizing him is somehow unpatriotic or politically incorrect, or it makes you a big downer. Even some people who agree that Afghanistan is a quagmire will still become visibly upset or despondent at any suggestion that Obama has not yet managed to live up to those high expectations they themselves set for him. I get it. But it points out one big flaw of the left if we are not asking the exact same questions we would of Bush or any other candidate or sitting president.

So Afghanistan remains a major focus of discussion, as does unemployment, which reached new heights last month. “The nation’s unemployment rate hit 10.2 percent in October, reflecting the economic pain of the 16 million jobless Americans, as well as the strain felt by the 138 million others who are working harder to earn their paychecks… The economy lost 190,000 jobs in October, the 22nd consecutive monthly decline and the longest losing streak on record dating back 70 years.” [Source: Nation's Unemployment Rate at 10.2% in October by Tom Abate, San Francisco Chronicle]

The health care reform bill that passed the House, which remains a mystery to most of us really, has replaced the Stimulus Package as a hot topic. The public does have access online to H.R.3962, but who can make sense of it all or know how it would manifest? [See: Affordable Health Care for America Act (Introduced in House)] I’m relying on my own sources to inform me on this bill and they are divided. The Nader camp calls it a bailout for the insurance companies, Credo and CodePink will give the okay only with some public option, and the Patients Action Network supports it in conjunction with another bill on Medicare reform. I suspect doing something is better than doing nothing, but I also fear that whatever watered down final version we might end up with won’t help many of us either.

Here are a few relevant newsy tidbits I’ve found in my most recent political researching session…

On Afghanistan
Bill Moyers Essay: Restoring Accountability for Washington’s Wars

On Unemployment
Obama’s to Fix by Charles M. Blow, New York Times

On Healthcare
Dennis Kucinich Explains Why He Voted No On Affordable Health Care for America Act

Bill Maher Explains the Healthcare Crisis

Also Of Interest
Obama One Year Later: The Audacity of Winning vs. The Timidity of Governing by Arianna Huffington

Obama’s Critical Moment Approaches by Camille Paglia

Hopefully another nine months won’t go by before my next entry, and certainly I’ll continue signing petitions and speaking up on issues that are important to me and encourage others to be as involved as possible, but I’m waiting for the Ethical Realist party to emerge, some alternative that puts humanity first. Until then, I focus on the little things…

– Hope Dascher

1 Comment »

  1. Number Cruncher Said,

    November 12, 2009 @ 12:10 pm

    An analogy struck me. It’s not intended to address all of the issues raised in this post, but just some insight on how it might be understood from the perspective of cycles in business and finance…

    A nation is essentially a huge corporation…typically the financial and business implications of poor management won’t be felt until the following fiscal year and the ramifications of the actions that took place during that time will be felt long after a new management team comes into play. The new management team will be forced to operate in crisis management mode until they manage to stabilize the business, after which time they can begin to implement new strategies geared towards increasing business and boosting sales. The impact of those strategies won’t be realized until the fiscal year following the year in which they were implemented. Point being…we have a long way to go…if it takes two years to clean up a large corporation (conservatively), than it stands to reason that it will take far longer for an entire country to determine if the strategies being initiated today will have the desired impact on future generations.

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