Friday, September 26, 2014

The choice: fear or hope?

Imagine with me for a moment that the United States elects a new president seven years after 9/11 while we are engaged in 2 wars in the Middle East that the voters want to end. All this is happening while the mastermind of the worst terror attack on our country continues to plot against us.

Now, imagine that president ending those wars and approving a high-risk plan to take out the mastermind - and its successful.

Further, imagine that this president assembles a coalition of 40 countries to go after a new threat that arises from Middle Eastern terrorists.

And yet, 55% of the country disapproves of his handling of foreign policy while some actually buy into the idea that he's is a secret Muslim sympathizer (warning: wingnut link).

OK, so you don't have to imagine it at all. That's the true story of President Barack Obama.

What blows my mind is how - in an age when data and information are universally available in a way we've never known before - so many people buy into mythologies and propaganda that have zero grounding in facts. Why are they so quick to believe the lies and distortions?

This all goes WAY beyond a basic disagreement about policies. If that were all this was about we might be able to discuss how Presidents Bush and Obama agreed about how to end the Iraq War and that is one of the primary reasons Obama kept Gates on as his Secretary of Defense. But that kind of rational analysis is not possible in this environment, is it?

We see the same dynamic on the economy. Despite the fact that even Forbes Magazine says that Barack Obama is the best economic president of the modern era, 55% disapprove of his handling of the economy while some Republicans continue to insist he's a socialist out to destroy our country.

There are probably complex reasons for this dissonance. But I'd suggest that its mostly based on fear...fear of a changing world and a changing country that is currently being run by a black man (i.e., he's not really one of us).

And so, President Obama was right the other day when he said that we're at a crossroads between fear and hope. The challenges that face the globe will continue and the changing demographics of America will not be altered. Those are simply the facts we have to deal with. It is on each of us to decide whether we respond out of fear or join the President in saying...
For America, the choice is clear. We choose hope over fear. We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort. We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes to human affairs; we choose to work for the world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be.

7 comments:

  1. I also think the administration has not done a consistently good job touting Obama's accomplishments. Yes, it's not sexy for the media to report, but they have to repeat it over and over. But sometimes I get the feeling the administration has taken the attitude of damned if we do and damned if we don't, so why bang our heads against the wall. Plus, the current Senators have not done a good job having the President's back. Add racism and fear to the mix and this is where we are today with an uniformed and fickle electorate, who seem ready to elect Republicans take over the senate, forgetting that they were the ones who helped get us into the foreign policy mess after 9/11 and into the recession. I wouldn't want to live in any other country, but they are some really stupid people in our population.

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    1. I think it's not just that the Obama team is bad at messaging, but when you get right down to, people really don't understand how a lot of things work. So, it's like you said in the last line sentence, Anon.

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  2. I mean to type "there are some really stupid people in our population," not they are some really stupid people in our population. My bad.

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  3. The media either lies consistently, or gives every statement equal weight, or reports every 'scandal' with no context.

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  4. Agreed that the media is a mega problem and the American people can be morons, and fear and racism is rampant, but the Obama team's messaging is too inconsistent. I love our President, but his disdain for the Beltway game comes back to bite him more than it should. As a Corleone said in one of the Godfathers, "This is the business we've chosen." His team needs to engage more and play the game more. I'm not a fan of Bill Clinton as president, but his team always tried to work the refs. He had his cabinet out regularly to tout his accomplishments. Where was the head of the EPA or the Interior Secretary or Energy Secretary this week to amplify the President's speech on climate change? To combat the criticisms from the enviros that he hasn't done enough. No doubt everyone on his team is exhausted and have a full plate, but their lack of consistent engagement may result in a Republican controlled senate. I get that it's the 6th year of his presidency and it's off year election, but something is wrong when the President's poll numbers are tanking in California and Massachusetts.

    I believe Obama will go down in history as the greatest president since FDR. But despite the awful headwinds working against him, more than any president in modern history, I hope he and his team can find the energy and strength to up their game so Americans, as dim as they are, can recognize his greatness today and not after the fact.

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  5. Mo'nin, Nancy
    Interesting
    From my vantage, indeed....I would like to see the Dems stand up more and DEFinitely have PBO's back MUCH better. But, I think that those of us, for example, who read Nancy - we READ Nancy. Any number of people still get their info. re: the happenings in our country from television. Therein, there is no more "liberal media". It's corporate owned. They do, with regularity, that "both sides" ridiculousness. There's people like Chuck Todd, who any number of people would believe works for a "liberal" media outlet, who say it's NOT his job to explain the ACA to the American public. There's the response by all networks of "no" to a direct request by the President recently for air time. "Meet The Press" (aka - the John McCain show). Who is the political consultant for a program that used to actually have vigorous and well moderated debate by both sides? And, there is extremely organized, on both radio and television, non-stop, flat out hate or a continual televised arm of the Republican party run by Roger Ailes.
    The blogosphere, at least as I see it, has yet to catch up with what is going out over the air waves. People "tweet", but what any of "us" do amounts to an actual digging more deeply in order to reach our conclusions. And, even then, "we" disagree (very recent example - Steven D's initial analysis of "disappointment" of Eric Holder's legacy over at Booman's, he said, was based on "everything Matt Taibbi wrote". no. that didn't go over well. but, you see what I mean). Or "friend" Ed Shultz back in '10 urging us all not to vote in order to "teach Obama a lesson" (worked out beautifully, no?).
    Then, of course, there's Nancy's analysis. Regardless of what the Administration does or doesn't do, the directive and encouragement (which many of "us" STILL don't understand) is: "Yes WE can". So...
    What shall "WE" do?????

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  6. I love this article. It very succinctly desribes the environment we live in. I was talking to my brother yesterday, who leans conservative, and he was talking about how the President is so bad at foreign policy. When I asked why he said he was "weak", he drew a red line in Syria and didn't follow through. When I said I'd rather have someone flexible, instead of someone like Bush, he wouldn't listen. Than it was his interpretation that it wasn't the President's fault, he was listening to his bad advisors. When I pointed out how he differed from his advisors on a lot of foreign policy decisions, again, they were hands over his ears. He was giving me all the talking points he heard. He kept asking me if I'd consider a Republican, like I was partisan. When I said they were too far to the right, he mentioned Jeb Bush (he lives in Florida). This is someone who doesn't research things. Its so frustrating trying to talk to someone like this. If someone has a coherent analysis that isn't a sound bite, I can listen better, but when I hear soud bites, I turn off. Its like hitting my head against a wall; the wall doesn't move, and my head is bloody. Doesn't benefit me to talk to someone like this.

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