Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Crucify Him

Good idea, everyone. Let's string him up. A two weeks' grace period should be enough to solve the country's problems. Now let's have at him...

Maybe it's my European upbringing, but I just don't get this curious American sport. I expect human beings to make mistakes--even those in high office. I try to avoid elevating them beyond any reasonable expectation, no matter what they say on the campaign trail. I like Obama a lot, but I don't consider him to be the Messiah; nor do I think he considers himself to be such, despite what others say, or hope, or pray. I don't consider the "mistakes" among his many nominations to be an indication of anything seriously amiss in his character or his presidency. Rachel Maddow had it right, in my opinion, when she reminded us of the fate of Zoe Baird. Zoe who...?

To judge by the relentless, hour-by-hour hounding by the media, though, a person would be forgiven for thinking that the Obama presidency had already exposed itself as irremediably corrupt; and this toxin is fed in a continuous intravenous flow to a public that has not shown itself to be notably strong in the faculty of critical listening. American idealism is a wonderful thing, but when translated into expectations of perfection from inevitably flawed human beings, it gets to be dangerously and self-destructively naive.

I normally watch the morning news, to keep myself up to date with what's going on. I guess I should have learned by now that it's a mistake. It proved to be such this morning. I felt my temper rising as a I browsed through a couple of "news" channels and heard the absurd debate about the Daschle nomination pursued to even more ridiculous lengths, and I chose the wiser course: switch the damn thing off.

Where do we get the arrogance to demand perfection of everyone? Because we are all so morally superior ourselves? Give me a break.

At this point, I begin to ask myself about my own attitudes toward Bush, Cheney and gang. Was I guilty of the same moral superiority of which I'm now accusing others? Or were my antipathy and distrust more justified in that case, as I certainly suppose? There's a difference, after all, between the thoughtful, even tough criticism with which we need to evaluate the performance of those whom we elect to represent us on the one hand; and on the other, the delight we take in tearing them down, for the sake of drama or the needs of a twenty-four hours news cycle when there's not much to report. It's a fine balance, and one that needs constant vigilance and awareness.


mandt said...

You are so right. My Dad once remarked shortly before leaving this realm, that he was glad to go, that even basic civility had disappeared in America. He was right to a great extent. There is even a movement of philosophy which states that 'governments' are primarily psychopathic entities and certainly so in failing empires. As for Daschle, he is a highly tainted candidate and a bad choice. So many of Obama's appointments are ex-Clinton capos and the public mob is furious at the same-old-same old. Naturally, since most media is entertainment these days the circus is on....truly, America has become an ill omen. I mean, that the GOP has lifted up Joe the Plumber, Rush Gasbag, and the Wasilla Barbie as their icon essence is beyond snarky satire---it's profoundly disturbing.
Obama still impresses me as a great potential, but his path will be difficult and he may very well fail upwards in the attempt.

robin andrea said...

The media did not tear down Bush, and that was part of the problem. They enabled him to be the disaster that he was. Now that a Democrat is in office, they have not given him a minute's rest. Every minutiae of his decision making is part of their circus. They don't even see that their own well-being and welfare are on the same precarious footing as the rest of us. This is a game played by the very rich, using the media as their marionettes, and we their captive audience. That does not mean that Obama has not played right into their hands, he has, to his detriment. But we are all on this sinking ship, and the media is drilling holes rather than filling buckets.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

I am not surprised because I also noted that Obama had become Jesus to many people and in that capacity was expected to perform miracles.

It took a very long time for the country to develop the many problems facing us now, and it is simply unrealistic to expect anyone to resolve them in a day or a week, or even a term.

When people have such expectations, they are already out of touch with reality so it is easy for them to feel betrayed and angry.

They need to back off and give our new president a chance to work things out because much of his effort, if not MOST of it, will be expended on trying to clean up the messes of his predecessor.

As for the media, they are like frenzied sharks scenting blood in the water. If they would stop whipping up the public, perhaps our new government would have a chance to do some of the things we want and need it to do.

Gary said...

Our society is hyper mediated and suffering from a
decades old drive thru mentality.

I must constantly remind my boys that instant gratification makes them weak and impatient. This Christmas they got three gifts each. These were quality items they had wanted all year.

Last night we viewed the news and they thought that Obama was getting angry with the senators slowness to see the need to work with each other and be decisive, efficient and gracious.

We looked up the meaning of "catastrophe" and found that "horrible" and "risk" were associated words within the definition.

I explained the phrase, "push comes to shove" and they said that this happens at recess when kids don't take the time to really listen to each other.
Then we talked about another phrase that my father used when I was impatient, "the hurrier I go
the behinder I get" and they laughed.