Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Bubble Syndrome

Seems my last piece, "The Enigma of Barack Obama," didn't exactly go over the way I intended. Suffice to say, it ruffled a few feathers on the Left. Apparently when it comes to critiquing President Obama - even when it's constructive - the prevailing sentiment is hands off. Do not tread here, lest ye be taken to task. And brother was I ever taken to task.

Funny, but the more I cover the world of politics, the more I realize that both ends of the political spectrum operate in a bubble of sorts. And while I am encouraged that there are far fewer wingnuts on the Left than on the Right, a bubble is a bubble. Period.

To sum up, in case you didn't read the piece, I was calling out Obama for signing the bill exempting the FAA from the harmful effects of the sequester, believing that by doing so, he was ceding badly needed leverage to force the Republicans back to the table. I also, by the way, cut him some slack for agreeing to the debt-ceiling deal in 2011 that eventually led to the sequester in the first place. One could hardly have faulted him when the entire GOP was threatening to destroy the good faith and credit of the American economy. Unfortunately for many of my fellow brethren, that part didn't get through.  All they could see was my criticism.

When it comes to Barack Obama, there apparently is no gray. Either you love the guy, and by default everything he does, or you hate him. To paraphrase a well-known George Bush euphemism, either you're with him or you're against him. There is no in between.

Which of course is ridiculous. Even the best presidents in our history have had their fair share of warts. Lincoln suspended Habeas corpus; Teddy Roosevelt was for all intents and purposes the nation's first imperialist president; and if you think the only bad thing George Washington ever did was chop down a cherry tree, you've been spending way too much time reading your children's fairytale books.

But, getting back to the current occupant of the White House, I sympathize with many progressives who are defensive of Obama. I've never seen this level of discourse and vitriol directed at one man. Some of the rhetoric has been comical when it hasn't been downright racist.  

But that's hardly an excuse for turning a blind eye and deaf ear to genuine faults and miscues. One hundred and eighty degrees from wrong is still wrong.  However you may feel about him, the man is hardly perfect. Indeed, he's proven himself to be more human than most of his predecessors. Can you imagine George Bush admitting he made a mistake the way Obama did when he said that the situation in Guantanamo could "get worse" and "fester?"

Closing ranks around him and defending every single action and deed does a disservice not only to the man, but to the principles that all of us are supposed to stand for. If we can't speak the truth then what the hell are we doing? When I see my fellow progressives behaving like their counterparts on the Right it sickens me.

I've always given this president credit where credit is due. But when he's been wrong, I have felt it my duty to bring such wrongs to light. I expect no less of my contemporaries.

Get over yourselves, people. As Bill Maher once said, "He's your president, not your boyfriend."

1 comment:

Robert Katula said...

Well said, Peter. As one who has been attacked for my constructive comments about the president, I am especially gratified to find another who has taken the same position as myself.