Lately Ezra's been on board with the Obama-fatigue bandwagon. It seems pretty much everyone is. At least everyone on the net. Fair enough. These are tough times. But I was heartened to read this morning's post from Klein, as it mirrored some of the reaction I've had to all of the angst lately.
Thus spaketh Ezra:
I've been pretty critical of the Obama administration over the past couple of days. (edit) If everything plays out as I expect it will, I'll probably be pretty critical over the next couple of days, too. But I've been surprised by the vehemence of the concurring e-mails and tweets I've been getting from discouraged liberals. "Worst president in my lifetime," wrote one. "Jimmy Carter 2.0," wrote many more than one.
I still find this sort of thing surprising. This is the guy who passed health-care reform, financial regulation and a pretty big stimulus bill. I get the disappointment in the compromises and concessions necessary for each. But not the fury.
Ezra clearly hasn't spent enough time at Daily Kos. We do few things better than fury. But I digress. Ezra continues to say:
But then Ta-Nehisi Coates posted this excerpt from Martin Luther King Jr.'s thoughts on his relationship with the black power movement, and I think it speaks eloquently to the dynamic between Obama and (some of) the liberals who've turned on him.
The excerpt is as follows:
Unfortunately, when hope diminishes, the hate is often turned most bitterly toward those who originally built up the hope. In all the speaking that I have done in the United States before varied audiences, including some hostile whites, the only time that I have been booed was one night in a Chicago mass meeting by some young members of the Black Power movement. I went home that night with an ugly feeling. Selfishly I thought of my sufferings and sacrifices over the last twelve years. Why would they boo one so close to them? But as I lay awake thinking, I finally came to myself, and I could not for the life of me have less than patience and understanding for those young people.
For twelve years I, and others like me, had held out radiant promises of progress. I had preached to them about my dream. I had lectured to them about the not too distant day when they would have freedom, "all, here and now." I had urged them to have faith in America and in white society. Their hopes had soared. They were now booing because they felt that we were unable to deliver on our promises. They were booing because we had urged them to have faith in people who had too often proved to be unfaithful. They were now hostile because they were watching the dream that they had so readily accepted turn into a frustrating nightmare.
I think this little glimpse into history is pretty instructive. It reminds me that progress is a long, frustration road - but that in the end, most of the bumps along the way are forgotten. What remains are the steps forward we take, as well as the ones left still to be taken.
All of the sad meta will fade. We'll move on to other battles amongst ourselves. But lest we start viewing each other as the enemy, lets recall that we've always struggled amongst ourselves. There were pragmatists and progressives during the civil rights act too - and perhaps they hated each other at the time. But civil rights would never have moved forward as far as it did without everyone in the movement.
Perhaps we can all find the patience an understanding for each other that MLK found for his critics. Ultimately we have a difference in opinion on tactics, not values. We disagree on how change is best approached. So did MLK and the black power movement. But ultimately the tactics work themselves out. As MLK said (and our President likes to repeat) - the arc of history bends towards justice.
Whatever hopes you had for this time. Whatever opportunities you feel may have been lost or may have never truly existed - the 2008 election was just a beginning. It was the first hurdle, not the finish line. We are in this for the long haul.