Thursday, November 05, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Where You Sit is Where You Stand

I am a Barack Obama fan. He is the first political figure since Bill Clinton to galvanize my heart and mind into clear focus when it comes to having a vision for America and the world at large that I agree with wholeheartedly.

So I cannot adequately describe how let down and angered I am at his apparent decision to let bygones be bygones on the subject of US-approved torture.

At this moment in time, it appears as though Barack Obama has given everyone involved a free-pass. The president who okayed the decision (I'm sure he didn't actually make the decision), the vice president who master-minded the concept that it was perfectly fine to do whatever the darker side of man could conceive to elicit truth from terrorists, the admin hacks who dotted the I's and crossed the T for torture, the Justice Dept lawyers and cronies who elegantly drafted the loop-holed laws that would make crimes against man and nature bullet and reprisal-proof, and the military goons who went mindlessly along with an order that proved they were neither officers nor gentlemen.

For a man who promised to break the mold of political persuasion, and elevate the national dialogue (thanks to Aaron Sorkin), Barack Obama has repeatedly shown a persistent cowardice when it comes to political courage to face down detractors on both sides of the aisle. He seems to be preoccupied with currying favor, or at the very least, not incurring the wrath, of an opposition party so in disarray no GOP member could get elected to dog catcher, except maybe in Alaska.

To paraphrase another Sorkin president, he seems to be still too busy running for president rather than accepting the fact that the election is over and it is time to BE president.

And what is worse, he is too comfortable and self-assured in the role of Solomon, making the grand gesture in white-washing these seminal fissures in the Geneva Conventions behind a wall of political expediency. He is mortgaging his political capital to buy votes later on healthcare, energy and education, when he already has iron-clad proof that no Republican is interested in selling this president anything that will move our country forward, under his name.

Barack Obama is a student of history. Behind his calm, glacial demeanor is a mind that can be both calculating and visionary. He has captured the minds and hearts and hopes of people around this country and around the world. This is the defining moment for him to decide where he sits and where he ultimately will stand.

The world is watching, and waiting.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A New Year.... Same Old Me

I'm a little late in the annual "taking stock" of my life, but better late than never.

I guess we always focus on what is wrong or undisciplined about ourselves when we make these benign promises to lose weight or stop smoking or be nicer or get more exercise or do something better than we've done it in the past.

And maybe (ya think??!!) I'm too sensitive, but a recent set-to with a friend brought into clear relief that doing something well -- doing ANYTHING well -- and stopping to feel good about it is a very healthy practice. Likewise, taking note when someone ELSE does something they are pleased with, and giving them an ATTA GIRL, is also a good practice. God knows, after the last eight years with Bozo's hand on the rudder, we have plenty to feel bad about that was none of our choosing.

I've always tried to be grateful for the blessings that come my way, but I also tend to wallow in self-loathing when I've screwed up or made a really bad decision or succumbed to some temptation that my "better angels" warned me against. We are each our own fiercest critics and harshest jury/judge. But self-flagellation or recrimination has never been an effective deterrent for me. I learn more by doing or repeating what makes me feel good than I do by hating myself for something that went awry.

So in 2009, I'm going to step up my sometime habit of highlighting what is good in the world around me. If it is something that I do that feels right, I'm going to bask in that glow a little longer. And when it happens around me, whether it is friend or stranger, I'm going to take note and slow that person down just long enough for them to have a chance to feel the warmth that comes from someone else noticing a good deed or a job well done.

Feeling more comfortable in my own skin - even if that skin is going to be 59 in March - is a good start to helping others see the good in themselves. Who knows, it could be contagious!