What must it be like to have so many people put so much importance on your every decision? I am hard on the President, and will continue to be because as a citizen in a democracy it is my responsibility to be so. I have no intention of letting him get away with his pandering to plutocrats, war hawks, and those that would chip away at our civil liberties. Likewise I am grateful for the end of DADT, for his refusing to defend DOMA, and for his stated position on women’s reproductive choice. He is a politician like most others. He has his good moments, his bad moments, and some that are hard to define as one or the other. Which is why it surprises me that he is as polarizing a figure as he is.
He isn’t the only person like this. Hillary Clinton has also inspired this sort of extreme support/hatred. I suppose, to a degree, any politician risks that. George W. Bush had his fans, and he also had his detractors. There were people who thought he could do no wrong (I don’t have room here for the evidence otherwise) and those who thought he could do no right (I for one thought his decision to push for tariffs on Russian steel was a good thing.) The same can be said, to a lesser degree of Carter and Reagan. Still, this President seems to inspire more of these absolute positions than anyone I have ever seen.
I am not stupid. I know that many Americans who oppose his every move do so because of the color of his skin. Mind you most will not acknowledge that, even to themselves. Others do so because a stupid insistence of always rooting against the other team. Likewise, and very sadly, I suspect that many of his white supporters back him no matter what for equally, if differently, racist reasons. They desperately want the race problem to finally be over. In their ignorantly privileged minds they think backing the brown man means we have achieved a colorblind society (a goal I am not certain is a noble one anyway, but more on that another time.) Also, yes, I understand that there are PoC out there that support him based on the color of his skin, but as the oppressed they have far more leeway on that than their white brothers and sisters.
It seems like it is more than that though. It seems like you have one group of people who insist on putting their every frustration on him, though they should realize the declining state of affairs in our country has been a group effort, across political lines, that predates his Presidency. They need that scapegoat more than ever to give them a target to vent on. In doing so they blind themselves to the real causes and culprits: the slowly coming out of the shadows aristocracy. Likewise, his fans have fetishized him. They have pinned so much of their hope on this man who again, they leave themselves unaware of what must be done. Frankly I have a hard time deciding what would be more oppressive were I in his position.
Ultimately the PotUS is just a man. He is no better or worse than most others, but is in a position to do better or worse. Condemning him with out consideration and praising him with out a critical eye does him, and ourselves, a disservice. We need to remember that he, and all of our elected officials are merely public servants and that in the end responsibility for any of their actions falls to us. That is what it means to live in a democracy.
- Op-ed: Bill Clinton’s Wasted Opportunity at the GLAAD Awards (advocate.com)
- ‘Mr. President, our job is not done,’ says retired Navy commander on anniversary of DADT repeal (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- You’re Playing With The Big Boys Now (accordingtohoyt.com)
- Once again, a Republican politician distorts Ronald Reagan’s record (blogs.e-rockford.com)