and then I’ve got to get back to studying for finals.
I really don’t get people who think I should be “grateful” to Obama, or that I should cut him some slack, or whatever. That attitude is just alien to me, as alien as watching a plane would’ve been to a Sumerian.
Yes, being President sucks. Yes, I’m glad that we have a man blessed with obvious intellectual and political gifts in that position – especially since the last occupant, you know, wasn’t so gifted.
But that doesn’t mean I’m grateful. What am I supposed to be grateful for? That he became President? I mean, we’re not talking about Mother Theresa or the Dalai Lama here.
It really bothers me that there’s this undercurrent running through much of our progressive political discourse. It bothered me when the other guys did it with Bush, but it bothers me even more because I thought we were better than that.
I went to the Colorado Democratic Party’s state convention Saturday before last. At the beginning of the convention, they played this cheesy video montage, set to the Glee cover of the Pretenders’ “I’ll Stand By You”. It featured Obama looking all sad panda, then pictures of Democrats holding OFA-printed signs saying “I Stand With You” ran.
I was like, “Really?”
I support Obama. I worked to elect him for two years, right from the beginning. I’ve never felt prouder than when he was elected President or when he took the oath of office, and you can bet my grandkids (should I have any) will get sick of hearing me talk about it.
But, c’mon. Surely, I can support Obama while also being able to criticize him when appropriate. There’s a simple rule that I adhere to:
If it was wrong when Bush did it, then it’s wrong when Obama does it.
That’s it. It’s really that simple.
Democracy is hard work. Part of that hard work is holding our leaders accountable and making sure they’re doing what we elected them to do. My job as a citizen isn’t to be grateful that Obama’s President, or to cut him slack, or any of that*.
It’s precisely the opposite – it’s to be vigilant, and to make sure that he’s living up to what he said he would do. That’s the only way that democracy can work. Otherwise, what’s the point?
I’m not expecting him to be a magic pony, or to wave a wand and make everything better. That’s not how that works. We didn’t get into this ditch overnight, and we’re not going to get out overnight. Hell, I’ll be lucky if I get to see many of the reforms I’ve been fighting for become reality in my lifetime.
I understand why people are all, like, “leave Obama alooone!!”. Lord knows there’s plenty of folks screaming about him being a fascist socialist alien from the planet of Kenya, just waiting to enslave us all in a nightmarish world of underground sugar caves.
But, crikes, he’s President, not a pop star. Criticism comes with the territory. He doesn’t need you to defend him – he’s perfectly capable of doing so himself.