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.

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