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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Vision, ambition and courage obstructed by narcissistic hubris

We are now three hours before the State of the Union address by President Obama, as he sets the table for the second term of his administration.
So much promise, and so little expectation at the same time.
A president, while nominally considered the most powerful person/man/woman in the world, is nevertheless circumscribed by a Congress empowered to draft, debate and pass legislation. The Chief Executive is empowered to sign into law those laws that make it through both Senate and House of Representatives. He is also empowered, and expected, to "lead" through the extensive deployment of his bully pulpit, by advocating for legislation that he believes would render the United States a "more perfect" union.
We know where his presidential "heart" is at, to recount the words of one of his former speechwriters, from NSNBC, because he has been saying the same "themes" since he burst onto the world stage when he delivered the key-note address in the 2004 Democratic Convention:
  • a stronger, more healthy middle class
  • a more universal health care program
  • a restoration to the American economy's full productivity
  • a generation of a new technology for green energy
  • jobs for the 24,000,000 un-under-employed or those who have stopped looking for work
  • a reduction in the number and an increase in the security of nuclear weapons
  • a restoration of the American international reputation around the world
  • a decapitation of the AlQaeda leadership, and all of its affiliates
  • gun control legislation that enhances background checks, removes large magazines and assault weapons, while eliminating trade and traffic in weapons
  • a comprehensive immigration bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented persons
  • an infrastructure rebuild on a scale of the Tennessee Valley Authority, or the Hoover Dam, soaking up millions of workers in full-time, well-paid work
  • a rebuilt manufacturing sector, absorbing the millions of displaced workers, as jobs return to the U.S.
  • the foundation for a new, clean energy industry, in which the U.S. leads, also generating millions of American jobs and billions in American profits
  • significant curtailment of the American dependence on fossil fuels, and on foreign supplies from unfriendly sources of crude
  • a balanced budget that consistently reduces the national debt and deficit, based on both increased revenue from wealthy Americans and budget cuts to some programs operated by the federal government
  • a new culture and political climate in the United States, and particularly in Washington
....all of these items, taken separately and together promise nothing short of a revolution in American life, led by a president whose vision, ambition, courage, commitment and integrity are somehow "above average" even in the eyes of his most virulent opponents,  whose mind is 'one of the best' to have studied law at Harvard, according to his professors...
and yet, in the face of a racist, obstructionist and tone-deaf political party, deaf to the breadth and depth of the American body politics's endorsement of most of these national goals, few, if any, of the goals will ever become reality.
There is simply no political will on the part of the Republicans, especially those in the House of Representatives (there will even be two different Republican responses to the State of the Union address), to collaborate with the president and the Democrats and the long-term reputation of the United States of America in the corridors of the world capitals, especially in the economic forecasts of the next few years, is likely to become quite tarnished, if not toxic and completely dysfunctional.
It does seem that the greater the promise of "potential" the greater the force of the opposition to the promise of that potential.
Is the opposition determined to block the first black president?
Is the opposition determined to sabotage the country, as an integral part of their own self-sabotage?
Is the distance between the president's vision and the comfort level of the American culture so big that his vision tends to produce a regression in the nation?
Is the world being held hostage to the small minds, small hopes and small ambitions of the too-many Republican obstructionists, as is the president's legislative agenda?
While the United States has many indicators of strength, leadership and hope for its people and for the world generally, so little is likely to become reality, in this political climate.

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