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If you listen to our president, you'll hear his vision for the future.  He wants to take action against global climate change.

He wants to revamp our financial system.  

He wants a new health care system that works for people.  

He wants to get us out of Iraq, to make it harder for terrorists to operate in Afghanistan/Pakistan, and to change the way we handle conflicts globally.  

He wants everyone to pay a fair share of the tax burden.  He wants to reverse the tide of job loss, and to rebuild a manufacturing economy.  He wants us to lead, not follow, in a global economy.  He wants to create jobs in green technologies, and he wants Americans to start being creators, not merely consumers.    

He repudiates torture, rendition, black sites, the erosion of the Constitution brought to us by the neo-con wing of the Republi-con Party.  

He wants DADT and DOMA to be repealed, he wants equality for all citizens, he wants fairness and respect and civility to return to the national discourse.

(These are the high points, for me.  There's a lot more.  Feel free to add to the list.)

Back in the olden days I learned something that has really helped me in dealing with difficult people and situations.

When you are faced with someone who has a wall up, who wants desperately to keep you out, you have 3 choices:  walk away and give up, batter at the wall and scream, or gently wiggle out a few bricks so he can peek out and see that the natives are friendly.  The only effective choice is the third.

This is an approach President Obama seems to have learned, and that's very exciting for me - it's about maturity, about waiting until the cake is baked before you take it out of the oven.  (Eating 350-degree cake batter gives you blisters, and wrecks your taste buds for a long time.)

Waiting for good things is hard for toddlers, but shouldn't be as hard for adults.  Some days I feel as though I'm on Toddler Kos - nothing is happening fast enough, or right enough, or the way we want it to happen.  Obama isn't doing the things everyone knows are the right things to do, or he is doing the same things Bush did, or he doesn't express enough anger about the things that anger us.

It isn't that our frustrations aren't valid in the short term, but what happened to the value placed on careful strategy, on building a strong foundation for change?  This stuff went on all through the general election process, and almost every time there was a huge uproar in the blogosphere, with strident demands that Obama hit back, or air an attack ad, or come out swinging, it turned out that his measured approach was best.

I'm willing to trust that what I saw then, when I wanted ads airing about McCain and G. Gordon Liddy, remains true:  pragmatism, a measured approach, civility, and kindness win the day.  

Obama offered us something we hadn't seen in years - an adult in charge, a thinker, and someone confident enough not to have to swat every fly that buzzed by.

Still, there are things I struggle with:

I have real problems with what Obama says about torture - I don't want America to look to the future and stay out of the past.  I do, however, want HIM to look to the future and stay out of the past.  The rest of us need to get down in the mud and dig out the truth, and if it's possible to get convictions, we need to prosecute.  If it's not possible to convict, if there are holes in the law that protect the guilty, we need to stop screaming that only one thing will be satisfactory and take the best option that remains, with grace.  Then we need to change the laws, and we need to make sure that the guilty are tried in the court of public opinion.  Disgrace and unemployment aren't enough, but they beat the hell out of walking free.  

I believe that individuals who tortured others should be punished.  I hate the CIA, I hate what's been done in our name over the last 50 years.  I'd like to see the agency dismantled, the torturers jailed, and laws passed to prevent the creation of another agency that meddles in world affairs as the CIA has done.  But - here's the caveat - I really hope Obama has tens of thousands of loyal and dedicated agents on the ground in the Middle East, North Korea, the former Soviet Union, Pakistan, China, India - everywhere there's a possibility that nuclear weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists - because nuclear annihilation beats everything else on my fear-and-anger meter by a few thousand degrees.

I want Obama to speak out in favor of marriage equality, but I suspect he'd do more harm than good if he did.  He's already a lightning rod for the far right, and adding his voice to the controversy could serve to mobilize the bigots enough to get some state laws reversed - I think Iowa is fairly safe, but I'm not sure.  I'll never forget the shock of Prop 8 passing - I don't think any of us will.  It would be wonderful if his voice could move equality ahead even faster, but I'm okay with slower and steady in this instance, especially since this particular change is coming quite a bit faster than any of us anticipated.

I want to save all the species that will be wiped out because we've delayed action on climate change for too long already, but I don't want Obama to waste energy and political capital on those individual issues - it's more important to pass large, meaningful regulations, to fund the start-ups of green energy businesses, to push our manufacturers into the future, to remove the Bush Administration's endless list of protections for polluters.

It's all about compromise.  Some we'll win, some we'll lose.  We have a better chance of winning if we're not using battering rams.  Our President knows that.  He'll keep talking to the Republicants, he'll keep reaching out to the fundies, he'll stand back and watch for the right moment instead of pushing the river.  And I'll keep defending that approach, because I respect it and believe in it.  

True Story/Parable.  My daughter is a limo driver, a very good one, and had many regular clients before she went private.  One of them was an older white male politician of the conservative variety, and he aired his views about the evils of abortion on a few occasions.  She took him on one night, very sweetly, by telling him what a pregnancy would do to her life.  He liked her, and he respected her, and he couldn't stereotype her as a careless little slut, so he listened.  He remains "opposed" to abortion, but has started to talk about the hard choices women face, and to be more supportive of strengthening the social net.  I think he was converted, quite frankly, but an abrupt about face would have killed him politically.  Because she spoke out respectfully, someone on the other side is bringing something new to the discussion, and there's one less hardened attitude out there.  That's worth celebrating, IMO.

Ranting is a wonderful release, and I'm all for it.  After the rant, however, we need some careful thought about what to do next, and some patience with what is necessary and unavoidable...please.

Originally posted to I love OCD on Fri May 08, 2009 at 01:59 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oh flames, oh tips, oh hell (25+ / 0-)

    it's 98 in the shade.

    They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

    by I love OCD on Fri May 08, 2009 at 01:59:42 PM PDT

  •  He is what I always thought he would be. (4+ / 0-)

    A generally GOOD president.

    Time will tell if he'll be a great president, but I never really held the opinion he would be.

    You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

    by DawnG on Fri May 08, 2009 at 02:02:54 PM PDT

  •  Thoughtful diary. Agreed about the refreshing (8+ / 0-)


    "I once asked a literary agent what writing paid the best, and he said, 'Ransom notes.' " - Gene Hackman as Harry Zimm in Get Shorty

    by Vtdblue on Fri May 08, 2009 at 02:04:39 PM PDT

  •  I have felt me same as the diarist (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, Hexa, JaxDem, Gemina13, I love OCD

    from time to time. President Obama is a strategist, and strategies take time. He has a long list of issues & he must prioritize properly. I'm more than willing to give it some time.

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent. Thomas Jefferson

    by amazinggrace on Fri May 08, 2009 at 02:13:09 PM PDT

  •  Oh noes... Obama isn't doing........ (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    whatever I want him to do, and right now! That's the chant from the DKOS dead ender stone throwers.

    •  I think it's just a matter (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JaxDem, Gemina13

      of not being willing to take the time to think things out.  Which is what I love about Obama - he does.

      They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

      by I love OCD on Fri May 08, 2009 at 02:18:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe (0+ / 0-)

        It's not being willing to compromise when it comes to horrors like torture. To some people, torture is 100% intolerable, unconscionable, and unjustifiable, period. My hat is off to people with such strong beliefs when I agree with them (as I do, in this case). I also suspect a lot of the rock-throwers are young, filled with the fire of idealism and activism that burned me up and out so many decades ago.

        I am thrilled to have Obama in office so far, even if he has not taken the stand I want him to take on torture. I think he's trying to not burn bridges to the intelligence and military communities, whom he very much needs right now. I also think the work will get done by someone, somewhere, and I think he thinks so, too. Smart politician (at least from one perspective).

        I am NOT thrilled by his Justice Department so far. Rather than ask for continuances as the new, "improved" Obama DOJ takes over the Bushco caseload, the DOJ is pursuing some legal strategies that I believe will be extremely harmful to individual rights. Very not smart, in fact, very suspect and scary IMO.

        As we watch, wait, and judge what Obama does, I think all of us should always be leery of people in positions of great power, because we all know how that trip goes. Only time will tell whether he's just being a smart, patient politician or selling out.

  •  oh noes... Obama gave up the presidency for (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueyedace2, bnasley, JaxDem, I love OCD

    a career in bollywood!

    (-8.00,-7.85) 'The idiot is not our greatest problem. It is the moron type that is our great problem." -- H. H. Goddard

    by bubbanomics on Fri May 08, 2009 at 02:20:21 PM PDT

  •  OCD, I like the way you think, (5+ / 0-)

    I like the way you write and I agree totally with what you've said.  We all have our trigger button issues that can get us fired up in a nano-second, but the difference for some is as you so aptly put it:

    Waiting for good things is hard for toddlers, but shouldn't be as hard for adults.  Some days I feel as though I'm on Toddler Kos - nothing is happening fast enough, or right enough, or the way we want it to happen.

    President Obama has accomplished so much in these first weeks and many here on Dkos seem to expect him to fix everything yesterday.  The damage done in 8 years by the Bush cabal will take more than the first 100 days to correct.

    Thanks for posting this diary and sharing your daughter's story - good on her ;~}

    As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. -John F. Kennedy

    by JaxDem on Fri May 08, 2009 at 02:25:40 PM PDT

    •  I wonder if part of the problem (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      raincrow, JaxDem

      is that we've been battered by hopelessness for so long - now that there's hope, it's so hard to wait and be patient, but nothing is going to work out well if we push too hard.  

      Except we need to keep pushing on the torture issues....and....and.


      They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

      by I love OCD on Fri May 08, 2009 at 02:37:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks OCD (4+ / 0-)

    I only wish your sentiments got the attention the opposite ones do.

    All the screaming makes bloggers appear silly and therefore easy to marginalize.

  •  When will Obama expose the NWO?!?!? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, I love OCD

    And their extraterrestrial benefactors.

    "See? I'm not a racist! I have a black friend!"

    by TheHalfrican on Fri May 08, 2009 at 02:45:40 PM PDT

  •  I didn't support him until late... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow, I love OCD, felldestroyed

    I was a hard-nosed Hillary guy. Wanted her in 04, in fact.

    My family pounded on me to switch, my employees, and my girlfriend (more on that later).

    I switched finally early last year. My girlfriend, a moderate Republican, clinched it. She could barely contain her enthusiasm. But she finally won me over with her pragmatism. "If he's nominated, he'll win. People like me who have never voted Democrat will support him--he stands for what my party has abandoned, opportunity, hope, immigrants like me..."

    Tragically she died last March. (Fanny) In cleaning up her affairs, I realized how much she meant it. The last charge she ever made on her Amex card was a donation to Obama. His election went from something I was hoping for and turned into an obsession with me after that.

    All that said, as much as I love the guy. I won't hesitate to call him out if I think he's wrong. I intend to watch him and his administration as close as I ever did Bush's...and I'm frankly concerned too many of those on our side are too smitten to do what we do best--raise hell on behalf a cause that's bigger than any of us.

    So Obama my friend, Godspeed. But don't expect a pass.

    •  No pass, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      The Eyewitness Muse

      careful scrutiny, but perhaps a little realism?  There's a lot to do, much more than he signed up for, and I think he's doing an amazing job.

      All I'm asking is if we can stop the knee-jerk panic attacks, and look at issues realistically, and consider long-term strategy vs the satisfaction of instant response.

      They tortured people to get false confessions to fraudulently justify our invading Iraq.

      by I love OCD on Fri May 08, 2009 at 03:18:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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