The first time I became cynical about my government was over the 1960 U2/Francis Powers incident. As we all found out later, we – we being the United States Government – had been flying planes over the – then – Soviet Union in order to take pictures of their missile facilities and other, even more – atleast in theory – dangerous, military installations. You know, a spy plane. Because the U2 flew at very high altitudes – 70,000 feet – it was thought to fly too high to shoot down.

When the plane was shot down by the Ruskies, our Government said that it was a weather plane that had strayed off course. Perhaps the pilot had passed out, or something. Whatever.It wasn’t a spy plane!

Of course it was a spy plane and the only players who didn’t know that were us. American citizens. The Russians knew, they had the U2 carcass and the the U2 pilot.Our Government knew, they had ordered the missions.

When Obama first ran for president, for the first time in maybe 40 years, I really felt hope. I thought the country, and the world, may be in so much trouble that we would wake up. And Obama – I hoped and thought – was aware of how much trouble we were in and would be part of the change that we need to get through this. Early on, I thought he was more like a Rockefeller Republican than a Liberal like Lydon Johnson or George McGovern, but he hit all my hot buttons.

Making Government transparent, rolling back the unConstitutional imperial presidency, winding down our foolish and hyper expensive wars.

When Michele and I started working on his primary campaign about 20 months ago, it seemed to us, that Obama would be a shoe-in . It was obvious, to us, that he was the change our country needed and that everybody would immediately see that. Our friends gently told us that we were being naïve and they were afraid we would be gravely disappointed when he got blown out of the water by Hillary.

Well, it turned out that Obama won. It turned out that we weren’t gravely disappointed until after he was elected.

I like Obama more than Bush; he seems like a very personable and thoughtful guy, but he is not change. He is just more of the same. He has not made the Government more transparent, he has enlarged the presidency, and we are now fighting additional, low grade, wars in Yemen and Somalia. He has continued the Bush plan of ignoring Kyoto. He has saved the banks who made shitty loans rather than the homeowners who were given the shitty loans, , and he has gone after whistle blowers with a vengeance. He has done nothing about our energy crisis, our growing water crisis, and almost nothing about our grumbling infrastructure.

Maybe the problem is that Obama came to the presidency as a true outsider. He is, after all, a mixed race kid who looks black and he was raised poor by a single mom and his grandparents. One of my favorite Obama quotes and one that I think is  revelatory is something like If you are black and don’t want to get in trouble, dress well and don’t make any sudden movements. He hasn’t made any sudden movements and it has hurt us. Like Clinton, he grew up poor and, like Clinton, he is too anxious to be liked, too anxious to get along. Like Clinton, that has stopped him from making big, risky moves like Roosevelt or Bush the Younger
It is sad. Really sad.

Pickpockets, salesmen and the actors performing
Official scenarios,
Turned a deaf ear, for they had contracted
American dreams….
All that grave weight of America
Canceled! Like Greece and Rome.
The future in ruins!
The castles, the prisons, the cathedrals
Unbuilding, and roses
Blossoming from the stones that are not there .
From Walt Whitman at Bear Mountain by Louis Simpson


One thought on “Obama

  1. Too late to write much but hewre’s a bit:

    I too would like more and can imagine strategies I’d like better but still fail to understand how he is supposed to all that I’d like alone and in just 3 years. Given that the the left abandoned him to let Repubicans walk away with Congress I think we might be asking a bit much.

    I’m taken by this remark from another blog (that may have even be referenced here first, not sure):

    “So according to Raj Patel, at the heart of the widespread disappointment in President Obama among his previous supporters is that too many Americans view Obama as the pizza delivery guy of change. We exerted a small effort to place an order, then sat down in front of the TV to wait for the change to show up at our door. What struck me about that comparison is how political change is also like slow food; it takes time and effort before it pays off, but the reward is great. So really, it all does come back to food!”


    Finally, and if nothing else, we need a democrat in the WH to keep the Supreme Court from getting even worse than it already is.

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