We all have very high ideals and are desperate to see this country live up to its potential. That feeling is felt to the left and right of the spectrum. We want a sense of safety and security and sanity back, yesterday. Problem is that safety and security and sanity are completely subjective views depending on so many variables that in a diverse country such as ours we need to pretty much agree to disagree at the outset.
Though our sense of desperation is shared, we each offer slightly different views on interpreting President Obama’s motives so far in his presidency.
Are his mistakes to be expected or do they represent some deeper motives at work? The complaints are ironically similar from left and right alike. I prefer to use the totality of what I know from months of research to judge Obama on any issue I disagree with him on. I never believed Barack to be a classically liberal democrat, so I have not felt “betrayed” by anything he has done to date, however misguided.
I considered him an electable and pragmatic second choice to Dennis Kucinich, whom I supported initially in the interest of authenticity.
The general election is about a nation, though, and not just a political party, and Obama was elected through the auspices of a wide swath of the electorate on the right and left. The governing majority that made Barack Obama president in 2008 requires all of us to expand our minds and see at three or four or five dimension. Especially now, when the stakes have never been higher.
If we can disagree and still come across as grown-ups, the many folks who don’t bother commenting on these threads, but are reading them for the same reasons we do, may actually learn a thing or two about progress and act accordingly in their real lives. (If you think a couple hundred bloggers drives enough ads to keep the lights on at TPM, I have a great investment opportunity for you.)
Assuming there is a silent audience, imagine if “progressives” came across as pragmatic and willing to forgive the duped even as they hope to punish the guilty? Republicans want accountability, too, they just think liberals are conspiracy theorists and melodramatic. Guilt will need to be proved in a court of law. Does that make them evil? I don’t think so. Just classically conservative. Most republicans aren’t neocons, despite the brilliant takeover of the party by those PNAC/Nixon-era wack-jobs.
I think all Americans are idealists in one way or another and the “center” is heading away from the rightward tilt it has taken in the last thirty years or so. It is inevitable given the demographics of the country, but the process can be delayed by unreasonable liberals during this time of reconciliation and transition. Reagan won his landslides by convincing his “enemies” that all of his horrible ideas where in America’s best interest. You didn’t have to agree, but by God we would fulfill the mission if the president had anything to say about it.
America is very mission oriented. All major progress in this country has happened by way of 2/3 majorities, not fringe elements imposing fringe beliefs on an unwilling Republic.
Put the GOP on a Green Mission for God and Country if you want to see movement on progressive ideas. Let’s create an environment where the republicans and the democrats argue over who has the most sustainable policies, despite the methods they use to get the job done. Let’s use our current dysfunction as an opportunity to make labels immaterial with regards to our larger shared goals as a nation. A president can create that kind of change, but only if he can speak to a nation rather than a demographic slice.
To use a governing majority, liberals must be willing to forgive their conservative brothers and sisters for being victimized by the neocons these past 40 years. They must dispense with labels long enough to feel like Americans first if we are going to fix the many problems looming on the horizon, let alone those already under our feet. We need to grow up a little and admit the possibility of gray areas.
We have reached the limit of labels to contribute to anything other than the continued desecration of our nearly-dead Republic. Let’s use this moment in history to to choose a new definition.