I find it almost impossible to not go around in circles with people when we start talking politics. It is difficult to let a point go when it is so clear that the people you are trying to make that point to cannot process it, either from lack of ability to, or from willful ignorance. Nowhere is this more painful than dealing with the President’s most rabid supporters.
I have tackled this at least twice on this blog, and I am hoping eventually it will stick. Each time I feel the need to point out the things I am happy with the PotUS about, as if I need to qualify in order to make it clear that I don’t hate the man at all and that I dislike him as President for perfectly valid reasons. So again, thank you Barrack Obama for presiding over then SoD Gates’s decision to get rid of DADT, and for encouraging AG Holder to not defend DOMA. Also, while it is not a perfect solution, thank you for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, it is a much-needed step in the right direction.
Now for the tough part: I have to hold you accountable for continuing policies that are destroying this country and our world. I have to hold you accountable for caving to drilling interests just months after what may be the worst single environmental disaster in our country’s history. I have to hold you accountable for allowing the financial industry to continue to dictate the terms of their own accountability. Most of all I have to hold you accountable for the blood on your hands.
Some people may ask what the difference is between drone strikes and manned aerial strikes. Logistically it makes no difference, except, and here is why it is easy to sell, you are keeping American pilots out of harms way. Morally though it sinks us deeper into dark, cold waters. Drone strikes take us another step away from our targets. It removes, by one more degree, the humanity both of our enemy, and those caught in the crossfire. Push button warfare makes it easier for those pushing the buttons to not consider the human and ethical costs of their actions.
President Obama you have, whether on your own or through your advisers, have crafted a defense policy that defines anyone capable of being a combatant as a combatant. This policy has caused real suffering. Not abstract suffering that we bloggers like to put into nice little literary/journalistic packages. Each innocent killed in a drone strike is not just a motivation for myself or Glenn Greenwald to write. Each innocent is a brother, sister, son, daughter, father, mother, nephew, niece, lover or friend. They leave behind grieving communities. You sit in the big office so you own all that, regardless if the “War on Terror” started on someone else’s watch.
To your admirers I would say this. Maybe all those things we are happy about make it worth it. For me they do not. I cannot celebrate my gains as a queer person and a poor, still uninsured but hopeful American, without seeing corpses strewn about the Afghan countryside. Maybe they do not matter to you, or at least not enough for you to decide to finally break out from the two-party mold that has been forced on us. If that is the case though, I would recommend you take a long hard look in the mirror, and reexamine just what kind of person you are.