Wednesday, August 10, 2011


A long email today, from a friend who confessed to being the source of the "Obama the Eunuch" remark that sparked what she called "a ruckus" in response. I read it, every word I promise, and with a great deal of sadness--in part because the attacks on Obama really do ring true to me, in some part of my own political consciousness; in part because I despair of ever getting past this mess we have created for ourselves. I would reprint my friend's long, thoughtful, and deeply felt critique, except that I don't have her permission and the arguments are by now uncomfortably familiar. We know them perhaps too well.

I did write briefly in response: "I hardly know what to say, where to begin, so I think I won't! It's not that I don't see where the anger and disappointment are coming from. I do. It's just that I don't see where it gets us, to dump it all off on Obama. It's not about him. It's about the America that elected him, the America that willingly, even eagerly contributed to the creation of this mess, the America that now works untiringly to reject and block him at every turn, the America that gets mad at him for not being who they wanted or expected. Obama is just a reflection of who we are. Too bad for us. Love, Peter."

I'm feeling burdened by the stagnant, foul-smelling stew of our political life. I keep telling myself it would be better to withdraw from it, to not watch, not read, not write about it at all, but rather to spend my time more profitably in quiet contemplation. Do a little navel-gazing! I don't know what keeps engaging me, despite all rational judgment to the contrary. I suppose I just feel an obligation to use what skills I have, both as a writer and those I have at least begun to learn from the dharma, and make a contribution to the alleviation of suffering in the world. But the few dollars I sent yesterday to relieve the threat of famine in Somalia probably do more...


PamB. said...

I agree with you about the toxic political discourse both in washington and around America. It leaves me disheartened and exhausted by the assault. I also feel it is not an accident, but has become this way by design. We fight and rage at each other, spurred on by hate radio, online rants and 24 hour partisan "news". Meanwhile no one pays much attention, or points out the obvious: those at the top who create and egg on the fights are laughing all the way to the bank, as the final work is done to complete the shift to an oligarchy, carefully crafted to their benefit.
While I respect Obama tremendously for his commitment to engage his opponents honorably, the question for me now is this: Is it possible to lead by example, appealing to the compassion and cooperative nature of our fellow human beings, when in reality they are controlled by corporations whose executives can divorce themselves from those emotions because after all, it's just business?

mandt said...

Leaving the illusion of reality and finding truth is often very painful: "Obama is just a reflection of who we are." The Obama we thought reflected our values was last seen in the Grant Park speech. People are furious because is was a great lie delivered by one of the most brilliant and deceptive presidential campaigns in American history. Check out Galbraith's article at americablog:

We must turn our attention to this un-constitutional 'super commission' that has been designed to deliver the last remenants of democracy to corporate powers.

robin andrea said...

I just signed up at It's an interesting new way and hopefully a new wave of political engagement. I'm tired of the same old stuff out of Washington. We should and must do better.

Everyday I try to rescue one thing. Mostly, it turns out to be insects that have inadvertently gotten trapped inside the house. I have rescued lizards, frogs, ants, spiders, flies, bees, and birds. It's my conscious commitment to balance the killing and cruelty that happens on a daily basis in the world. It's a wonderful exercise.

mandt said... must be synchronicity! I've been doing that too. I know Fallenmonk does it also!