Stuck in the past that had ceased to exist even before Barack Obama became president and failed to read the writing on the wall, Democrats are still trying to figure out what went right, and wrong, during the Obama era.
Essentially, Obama rendered his presidency a footnote by running on "hope and change," and then hewing to the American model as president when it was already broken, at home and abroad.
The American people don't given a damn what happens in Washington because their last gasp and grasp as a people occurred when they elected Barack Obama. He inwardly utterly failed them even as he outwardly modestly succeeded as president.
Now what happens in Washington D.C. is of no more significance to the vast majority of Americans than what happens in London, Paris, or Lagos.
It's painfully amusing to hear the Dems beat the drums of national security over Trump's Ukraine corruption and abuse of power. National security used to be the playground of the Repubs. Now they've fallen in line like castrated sheep behind their incompetent, narcissistic 'leader.'
Commentators on the Obama interregnum ignore the George W. Bush presidency in their reflections on Barack's character and governance. How quickly mainstream pundits, 'experts' who run in vicious circles between DC-centric print and New York-centric cable shows, forget how divisive and destructive the Bush-Cheney era was.
Is that because one of the darlings of the respectable left, Nicole Wallace, was a communications person in the George W. Bush White House? Is that why the revolving circle of "our reporters and friends" actually hold out hope that John Bolton, of all people, will drive the first nail that sticks in Donald Trump's political coffin?
Democratic poobahs cannot seem to hold the most salient fact in their minds and hearts: the United States needlessly killed hundreds of thousands of people in a war conceived in the fevered dreams of Republican politicians. Next they'll be asking Dick Cheney to lead the charge against the Trump Administration.
Obama, as mediocrities note, was a mediocrity, a conservative, status quo president believing that "at the end of the day, the circumstances of your life - what you look like, where you come from, how much money you have, what you've got going on at home - none of that is an excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude in school."
If one of the white, male Democratic presidential candidates uttered those same words today, he would be seen as leading a reactionary, if not faintly racist campaign.
The Democrats, like Obama before them, are paving the way for (re)electing Donald Trump because they refuse to see America, and Americans, for what and who we are. If Obama had governed closer to how he campaigned, and actually given people some hope and change, than many of the same people who voted for him would not have turned to a demagogue.
Unable or unwilling to see the country and people as they were before, Democrats persist in believing the delusion that "this is not who we are."
Getting clear on what could and should have been done then is necessary, since it allows us to address what can and must be done now.
Obama will be a footnote in history because he didn't seize the moment when, in his words, this was not "a country that is less revolutionary than it is interested in [gradual] improvement."
Barack committed the worst mistake a president can make-he misread the people and his moment. That's one mistake no one can accuse Donald Trump of making.
Obama's policies aren't the issue. His studious lack, as president, of the very thing that propelled him to the presidency is what is unforgivable: being utterly uninspiring.
This has become a nation that dove headlong into what the abyss after Obama, when the people momentarily looked in the mirror provided by Bush and Cheney: a nation of separate, completely self-interested dividuals.
Let's come to the present with fresh eyes, and not lament lost opportunities for turning America in a new direction, even though that's what the American people wanted, and thought they were getting in Barack Obama.
To be a conservative, Michael Oakeshott, a putative philosopher, said, "is to prefer the familiar to the unknown, to prefer the tried to the untried, fact to mystery, the actual to the possible, the limited to the unbounded, the near to the distant, the sufficient to the superabundant, the convenient to the perfect, present laughter to utopian bliss."
Unlike revolutionary America, that starts out badly, but like present-day America, it goes off the rails.
It is morally and pragmatically unfitting in times of crisis to "prefer the familiar to the unknown and the tried to the untried."
Perfection doesn't exist, and "utopian bliss" is a straw man. On the other hand, "the convenient" is just another term for immediate gratification.
And for God's sake, a human being cannot inwardly survive without mystery and possibility.
Martin LeFevre is a contemplative, and non-academic religious and political philosopher. He welcomes dialogue. firstname.lastname@example.org
Published with permission of the author. All copyright remains with the author.
© Fair Use. No Copyright intended by Fountain of Light
Top of Page