Saturday, November 15, 2008

So, tell us what you REALLY think...

Lately, I'm doing that thing I do. That, “Look over there!” thing I do when I don’t really want to write about me in this space. It’s what I do when I’m not feeling like the chirpy, plucky person that usually writes my blog entries. Don’t get me wrong, that person is me, the perky know-it-all lives. (Just ask all the people she annoys.) But she’s far from the full picture, of course.

And I’m not feeling her right now.

It’s been rainy and overcast too long for my taste. It’s true that I am awed by the foliage, but the darkness and cold that come along with it hover at the edge of my consciousness.

Is everything really okay?

I’m thrilled about the election results, but fancy Barak Obama is losing weight. Good lord, who wouldn’t?

Um, yah, no pressure? But can you fix the world please? We’ll just be right over here second guessing your every move while you give it a shot, okay?

Maybe it’s just my imagination, but he seems a little more fragile now. I sort of think someone should stand in front of Obama (like me but way cuter) for a time, and have a little pre-talk with the world and the media before a speech. Something like, “Now listen here! Barak has been through a tough, hard fought election and his Grandma just died. Cut him some slack, okay?” Understand, I’m not suggesting that Obama’s not up to the job, it’s just…damn. I worry.

It must take a superhuman amount of spit to stand up to the scrutiny of the world and the pack of bloodthirsty jackals that pass for the press. It must be unbelievable pressure to bear up under a modern US presidential election.

There can only be one thing more difficult. And that would be dealing with that kind of sustained pressure for four years. As a United States President right about now.

I can’t stop myself from personalizing these things. When Bill Clinton was president and the whole unending Lewinsky “scandal” was droning on? Back when were treated to details that we neither wanted or needed to know, and then further exposed to the unending blubbering of the pundits, critics, and a stream of indignant school principals and PTA presidents,[to be read with an extreme southern accent] “But what are we supposed to tell the children?” (As if children had, up to then, been immune to the unpleasantries of life---nice fairytale).

Back when all that was going on and on (and on), I remember at the end of so many “newscasts” there would be a little PS, almost an afterthought, when announcer would toss off something like, “Mr. Clinton continues to work to broker a peace on the middle east…”

Back then, I couldn’t help but think—what must it be like for Bill Clinton when the alarm goes off in the morning? What must be in his head when he opens his eyes and faces the absolute circus of another day on the job? How hard has it got to be to roll out and get in the shower and focus, at all, while the entire world scrutinizes the Technicolor details of an ill-advised sexual dalliance and a rabid special investigator with unlimited funds and power works desperately to oust you from office? Aside from the professional ramifications, there is also the super-fun personal dimension of your wife thinking (if only temporarily) that you need to be drawn and quartered. A couple of times. And then, oh yes! The middle east! And the rest of the country!

How did he do it (I always wonder)? How did Clinton just…keep on?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to suggest that Clinton weathered the most difficult presidential challenges, because no doubt, he did not. One only need visit the fun-filled worlds of good ol’ Abe Lincoln or LBJ—both of whom ended up dead—(granted LBJ lived longer, but even Lady Bird will tell you, the job killed the man) as direct results of their (almost totally) miserable pressure-cooker experiences.

No, what I mean to suggest is that in the modern age, in a post-9/11 world, with the incredible political challenges (the war, the economy) that are inherent and now with the added dimension of an out-of-control 24/7 press and a no-holds-barred mentality on the part of a great percentage of the American public, there just seems to be no refuge or respite for the man with the job. And Barak Obama, unlike Bill Clinton, is facing a challenge of Orwellian proportions.

It seems to me there is only one way Barak Obama can succeed. And that is absolutely, positively not by himself. It is going to take more than just one man and way more than just one party to turn this juggernaut around. It’s going to take some people saying, “You know? I didn’t vote for this guy, but I’m going to get on the team.” It’s going to take acceptance and tolerance and work and understanding and work and innovation and work and then it’s still going to take some luck.

And maybe? If all that important crap that’s teetering and all those people with their toes on the edge-- arms wind milling frantically--and all those issues drifting unheeded on the wind like a Forrest Gump feather, if all that stuff just happens to fall in the right direction?

Maybe we’ll have a chance.


Brenda said...


Patience-please said...

Ugh. I spent two days trying to sell pretty dog collars and my book (the old one not the new one) to a VERY different crowd than I'm used to. It hadn't dawned on me that I would be spending a fun-filled 16 hours with mostly the religious right.
Such HATE.
Now they even hate Oprah. I said "when my novel is done and I'm a guest on Oprah..." didn't get to finish, it was like I had said I was having Hitler to lunch. Worse.
Plus none of them have dogs, and if they do, they are "outdoor" dogs. Friday night, in the pouring rain and high 30's.
I worry for our President Elect more than ever.
And I agree, great post.

Suzanne said...

Oh, Lord (no pun intended), I try to tell myself that the people you hung for two days with aren't really out there. (All evidence to the contrary.) I can imagine you wouldn't sell them high quality dog collars (the heavy gauge chain collars they got for free out in the shed work just fine probably) but...didn't appreciate your Oprah bit? Whaaa...???

Jeanna said...

This is an excellent, thoughtful post. I share many of these feelings.

My overlying worry is that he won't have a chance to prove what he can do for four years -- see HATERS above.