Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cut the crap, already.

I missed Obama's speech last night, as I was at Fenway Park, watching the Red Sox beat the Orioles. But on the train home, I read the speech in its entirety, and I think it was a damned good speech.

A few things have come to mind over the past couple of weeks:

When the Republicans as a group say no to everything the president proposes, that's not leadership, it's politics. What we need now is leadership. Politics is crap.

When the Democrats dig their heels in so hard that they can't even compromise with other Democratic representatives, people who share some of the same foundational beliefs, that's not leadership. It's a logjam. And it's crap.

Conservatives have become masters at creating pejorative terms for everything they disagree with--"death tax," "death panels," "partial birth abortion." These terms are not only misleading, they're also guaranteed to terrify people who are all too willing to distrust their government (except, of course, their representative in Congress and the pundits who stoke their biggest fears). It's marketing, not policy, and it's very effective. And it's also crap.

Mr. Obama is trying to govern, and is trying to lead--by example--the Congress to behave like rational adults and do their jobs. Do the real work, not the grandstanding, dig-your-heels-in activity that passes for "serving the people." Saying no to everything is not a job, it's a credo. It only serves to maintain the status quo. And it's crap.

Mutual respect and decorum are sorely lacking. In fact, the only person in this whole debate who has been respectful to everyone involved is Mr. Obama. The people who disrupted the town hall meetings, the congressman who yelled out "Liar!" during the speech last night, the snotty and self-righteous pundits--nothing in their behavior comes close to matching the measured dialogue and respectful manner with which Mr. Obama has met his critics and addressed the country.

The guy is a class act. If only the other people involved in this debate could follow his lead and work towards reasonable compromise to solve an incredibly difficult problem. But they don't. And they won't. And that, my friends, is also crap.

1 comment:

lucyfree said...

I agree totally. I went in person yesterday to a local congressman's town hall meeting. It was overcrowded so I couldn't get in and stood outside with the 'demonstrators' and other interested citizens. The negative attitudes, anger, and false "patriotism" of the chanting anti-reform, anti-Obama crowd make them quite unattractive. I have to say the pro-reform people seemed a lot more civil, not just because I was on their side. Some tried to argue, which was interesting to watch. The pro-reform people had not come to demonstrate but took up signs to stand together outside the meeting hall.

There's a lot of crap out there.