June 26, 2009

And I Ran, I Ran So Far Away

President Obama smokes still, right? A man after my own heart.
Here's the sad truth about Obama and I: I think we're a lot alike.
When I first heard about him, what appealed to me was that we seemed so different. On issues where I was ideologically unable to reconcile my opinions with reality, he always seemed pragmatic to me in a way that made sense. When he wanted to end the war in Iraq, but wanted to still get anyone who attacked us, I saw my own moral and pragmatic agendas aligning in a way I hadn't previously considered. When he struck a moderate tone on Israel, I wanted to be enraged at him for disregarding the treatment of civilians (those in Palestine and Lebanon in particular) in the way of their continued effort to combat terrorism. The Israeli state, for all the sanctimony connected to the history of it's foundation, is a sovereign nation carrying out the political will of the Zionist movement.

Just to be clear on something, if you're unfamiliar with Zionism, please read about it before you think I am attacking Jews. Zionism is a political movement that is less than 200 years old, Judaism is a faith whose history spans millenia.

Obama recognizes there is a need to strike a moderate tone on Israel. Between our country's tradition of supporting Israel he is, I think, realizing there has to be some trepidation from the international community when a country with as much international support as Israel is needlessly killing civilians. The bombings of Lebanon after Hezbollah kidnapped or killed less than a dozen Israeli troops should be regarded as a criminal act. Sustained fire on areas where civilians have no means of escape is not just a lazy military policy: it's gotten to the point where in some minds there is a question of whether Israel thinks by punishing the civilian populations they can effectively scare and anger these civilians into fighting these terrorist militias.

So Obama declared support for Israel, a country strangely quiet in the wake of the Iranian election, but also struck a tone that indicated he would not support needlessly bloody military policies. In doing this, Obama appealed to me because it seemed he understood the immense complexity of these issues but was willing to take a stand to a country that had in recent years been enjoying the Bush administration's criminally lackadaisical approach to foreign policy.

Recently there seems to be a lack of a connection between the Obama of the election and the Obama of the present. As politicians, they are surely aware of election cycles. Surely they're not so cynical as to wait until mid-term elections to start passing legislation on gay rights or raising taxes on the wealthy? They have not delivered on their promises to make the government more transparent. They have not gone after the people who wrecked our financial system on Wall Street, they have not gone after the crooks in Washington who wasted dollars and lives in a disgusting display of public corruption.

I fear that Obama has a plan in place that only a cynical mind could devise. We all know politics is a study of measuring the perfect moment. Revealing information at a critical time. Ask Mark Sanford how happy he is Michael Jackson is dead, and I'm sure he'd say he's as distraught as anyone else. The fact of the matter is, he's loving life today because the news cycle has been taken over.

I'm not sure what happened to President Obama, but at least he hasn't stooped as low as the pathetic ranks of the GOP. Now if he'd just find a way to get on the ball and throw those guys in jail...

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