One VERY Lucky Guy

Please see “The Ghosts of Christmas Past,” listed in PodCasts, and also SYRIA TWO.

One VERY lucky guy.

Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you don’t. Critics of the President are now saying how difficult his road is, with Egypt about to rush to civil war, our own civil rights (read voting rights) compromised, an economy beyond the President’s control, and an electorate that is not at all shy about calling him names.
We think contrarily. We think Obama is one very lucky guy even to have a second term after all the hedging, promising, “uniting,” he did in his first.
We voted for him. Twice. And we’re still glad we did. But realistically, his second term is about to go down in history as one of the worst second terms ever, and the fault will not be strictly the Republicans’.
Millions of us were ecstatic at Obama’s nomination and first election. An intelligent, well-spoken, thoughtful man who could rally the troops by speeches alone. We believed in his promises, in his dreams, and were deeply move by being included in them.
Obamacare was something we favored. We still do.
Pulling out of Guantanamo, with all of its difficulties, was imperative.
Putting America back to work was the only thing to do.
Sorting out the economic debacle of 2008 was something we thought he could do – not single-handedly, but slowly, cautiously, successfully.
A change in gun laws seemed as though it had its best chance in decades.
Uniting the polarized politicians and politics of the nation was key to returning the USA back to health.

Obamacare is now embroiled in confusion and uncertainty. Waivers of one kind or another are being handed out too easily, both to consumers and insurance companies, not to mention employers.
Guantanamo is still a hell-hole and an international eyesore.
Unemployment is no closer really to full-employment – whatever that figure should be – than it has been.
Millions are feeling the economic squeeze now more than before, thanks to the sequestration deal made with Congress, made in order to keep the government running and the debt ceiling from being capped.
Hundreds of people everyday are being killed by hand-guns and mass-assaults on the innocent continue.
Unification of the disparate elements of our society has become increasingly impossible, in part because of Republican opposition to all of the above.

Add to the list now dithering over whether or not to cut Egypt’s foreign aid as their army kills men and women who also believed in democracy. This by itself is nearly enough to turn one from a dove to a hawk. Obama got lucky, thanks to the English and French, in Libya. In Syria, he’s waited while thousands died. And now in Egypt, he’s still waiting, and refuses to get tough with the one billion dollars’ aid annually promised to that country, almost all of which goes to the Egyptian army.

Had we known in 2012 that the President was a speech-maker only, that he was incapable of taking follow-up action after wonderful rhetoric, would we have voted for him?
Had we known that caution, or judiciousness, amounted to timidity, would we have voted for him?
Had we known how temporary his lines in the sand were, how likely they were to be moved, changed, or erased altogether, would we have voted for him?
Had we acknowledged that Congress and a good portion of the country was racist, could we have voted for him, knowing therefore that promises were promises and not meant or even able to be kept?

Some months ago, when Syria erupted, we asked what made Syrian children less valuable than Libyan ones. Why was what was happening in Syria so much less important than what was happening in Libya?
Now we are forced to ask whether Egyptian children are worth even less than Syrian ones.

One hesitates to advance this particular position, but as the single great power in the world today – China’s still in the fog ahead – we are going to be damned and/or praised no matter what we do. We begin to think that it’s better for the US and for Democracy in general to be damned by our former allies and friends. If we don’t use what power we still have left, how can we maintain even the minimal respect for the US the world still has? If we cannot stop the killing in the Mideast, how could we be expected to stop it anywhere? And if that is true, how can we still tell ourselves that we are the most peaceful empire in the world, the one remaining chance for the world to survive a nuclear doomsday?

Given our disillusionment and disappointment, what hope can we have regarding Iran’s nuclear-inspired dreams?
Given the handful of miscreants on Wall Street who have been disciplined, what hope can we have that financially the US is turning around?
Giving the rising numbers of gun-related deaths within our own country, how can we expect any improvement in policing and gun-control?
And will anyone over fifty ever, ever get a job again?

Our own choices as voters are as bad as Obama’s in governing. Civil discourse no longer exists. Opposing ideologies jam switchboards and voting precincts. How do we ever find our way out of all this in order to turn the United States back into what it once was, what we assumed it would always be: the home of the brave and the free, fearless, determined to see justice as a legitimate and reachable goal?

We can only hope your guess is better than ours.

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