Thursday, August 27, 2009
What follows is a mailing form President Obama regarding Senator Ted Kennedy. I certainly did not always agree with his politics but no one can dispute his tireless efforts to fight for his beliefs and his endless pursuit of public service. It was John that got me to go into government service and politics in the earlier part of my career. Ted's passing is an end of an era. Camelot, for now, remains a dream and a distant memory.
Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy.
For nearly five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well-being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.
His ideas and ideals are stamped on scores of laws and reflected in millions of lives -- in seniors who know new dignity; in families that know new opportunity; in children who know education's promise; and in all who can pursue their dream in an America that is more equal and more just, including me.
In the United States Senate, I can think of no one who engendered greater respect or affection from members of both sides of the aisle. His seriousness of purpose was perpetually matched by humility, warmth and good cheer. He battled passionately on the Senate floor for the causes that he held dear, and yet still maintained warm friendships across party lines. And that's one reason he became not only one of the greatest senators of our time, but one of the most accomplished Americans ever to serve our democracy.
I personally valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've benefited as President from his encouragement and wisdom.
His fight gave us the opportunity we were denied when his brothers John and Robert were taken from us: the blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye. The outpouring of love, gratitude and fond memories to which we've all borne witness is a testament to the way this singular figure in American history touched so many lives.
For America, he was a defender of a dream. For his family, he was a guardian. Our hearts and prayers go out to them today -- to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family.
Today, our country mourns. We say goodbye to a friend and a true leader who challenged us all to live out our noblest values. And we give thanks for his memory, which inspires us still.
President Barack Obama
Monday, August 24, 2009
A great new Trailer by E. Joyce Moore for the book "Transcendence." This is a truly inspiring book that is being used by St. Petersberg College in Florida for a course this Fall.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
"Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point," said Scrooge, "answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?"
Still the Ghost pointed downward to the grave by which it stood.
"Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge. "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me."
Most everyone is familiar with the Dickens’s classic, “A Christmas Carol.” The above is a quote from the fourth Stave where Scrooge stands before his own grave. Like many great social novelists, there are many layers of meaning in their immortal words, if one would but take the time to listen. Often, humanity is offered portents of its future, but all too often, we fail to head the words and warnings. With barely only two years left to 2012, let’s look at the ‘stone’ to which the ‘Ghost” points.
We are all familiar with the prophecies of Nostradamus, the Mayan Calendar, the End Times scenario, the sage words of the Hopi, the I Ching, and warnings by other great seers and cultures regarding December 21st, 2012. Critics claim that this is all hype and that such prophecies are but myths that sell books, but which have no efficacy. They point to the many doomsday predictions prior to the dawn of each millennia and the fact that each such event, was a non-event. So, is the 2012 phenomena just hype? Is there anything different now that would warrant closer inspection?
Let’s create a little 2012 Report Card and see. The focus here is not on numbers and statistics. Those can be found on thousands internet sites. Let’s just create an overview and determine if there is anything to worry about. Since the economy has been captivating the news for the past year, it would be a good starting point. There is little doubt the world economy is in recession. Even after spending trillions of dollars, governments have been unable to totally stabilize downward economic trends. Yes, Wall Street has had a few rebounds, but Wall Street is not the entire economy. There are still more layoffs, foreclosures, and consumer spending and confidence is down. This is not just in the U.S., but globally. Of importance is the fact that the apparent goal of government efforts is to try to return the economy to the old model of business. Companies produce, you spend, you throw away, and buy again. This is no longer a sustainable economic model. While there has been a lot of talk regarding ‘green products’ and there are fringe economists promoting more sustainable economic theories, the impact of this movement is, so far, negligible. On a “pass/fail” basis, I give us a fail with respect to the economy.
Sustainable energy is another subject for consideration. There has been lots of chatter regarding alternative energy and environmentally friendly energy sources. Wind farms have been built, appliances are a bit more efficient, and there is serious research into expanding solar, tidal, geothermal, hydrogen, biofuel and other possible energy sources. However, there can be little doubt that we are still an oil based society. Much research on these alternatives began during the Arab oil embargo in the early seventies. It stopped when oil prices receded. It seems that just as alternatives become more economically viable, oil prices drop just enough to slow progress and investment. As a percentage of total energy output, alternatives are a very small factor. Actions and efforts here must be given a ‘fail’ grade, largely due to the fact that time is not on our side.
Climate change is the next, and perhaps most overriding of concerns; all else hinges upon this one danger. It matters not in this discourse who is responsible for climate change. It is happening now; it is out of control and it is happening at an accelerated rate. Temperatures are changing, waters are rising, glaciers are melting, storms are more severe, there are growing droughts and floods and lives are being lost and dramatically altered now. We receive a ‘failing’ grade in this category for several fundamental reasons. World leaders are continuing to fail at addressing this issue. Summit after summit fails to produce and results. There is still a blind perception that we have until 2020 or 2050 to deal with the issues. We do not. Governments are hiding and suppressing climate change data. Corporations are spending billions claiming that climate change is a hoax. Governments have failed to connect the dots from climate to the economy. Governments have failed to, at least publicly, to create plans to deal with the growing concerns over environmental refugees. While there is concern over the security threats that climate change creates, little is being done to figure out where hundreds of millions will go as seas rise, drinking water sources dry up, and food production declines. Perhaps the lack of response is the response.
If we examine the issues of war, politics and peace, we once again receive a ‘failing’ grade. There are hundreds of wars in progress, terrorism is alive and well, genocide have been ignored, the Middle East, Iran, Iraq, N. Korea and many African nations are a mess and their appears to be little progress in establishing peace among nations. Government corruption is forever in the news and nations just do not appear to be able to work in concert on any major global issue. Nationalism is on the rise and clashes of cultures flare as people have increased their mobility. There is a rise in fringe and extremist groups and gaps between rich and poor continue to widen.
Religion and science is an interesting topic in this grading system. On the one hand, religions are in turmoil and there is growing strife within and between organized religions. On the other hand, there is a continued growth in spirituality that embraces humanity’s unity and oneness. With respect to science, it is still at odds with most religions but, the gap is closing with respect to spirituality. By science, I do not mean new gadgets or technologies, but rather the progress in quantum physics regarding the nature of the universe. The gap between the scientist and the mystic is narrowing and a more unified theory of being is at hand. Unfortunately, since religions are still powerful and play a lead role in the politics of many nations, we have to assign a ‘failing’ grade here also.
Clearly, more topics could be covered. Education, the role of the family, equality among races and other social concerns have seen some progress, but again, the problems are still growing and solutions are far and few between. Humanity, like Scrooge, stands before his grave. The Ghost before us is all of the prophets who have pointed to this time of change. What is different now from times past is that every aspect of our existence on the planet is in turmoil. We have had economic problems in the past. We have seen many great wars. There has been religious strife. We have had mini ice ages, periods of drought and severe weather. The difference is that all of these things are happening at once and not over scattered periods of time. Add to all of this the great unknown of our solar systems alignment with the galactic core, polarity shift (which appears to have started), and things like the Solar maximum for sunspots, and plot grows even thicker. So once again, "Men's courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if persevered in, they must lead," said Scrooge. "But if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me." There is a time factor to consider in the plea of scrooge. Even if we depart, which I have shown we have not, from our courses, certain ends will result. The seers of days past saw the path we were on. They took us to the stone and pointed the way to change. Truly, if we change our course, the ends will be altered. But is anyone listening? At this point, 2012 looks to be a raucous time.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life by Dr. Judith Orloff
The economy is in the dumps, the climate is going to hell in a hand basket, your mate is about to leave you, your kids are addicted to pixels and 2012 is just around the corner. There are a lot of negative thoughts floating around and, form follows thought. With all of this negativity, no wonder the world's a mess. Perhaps the best way to show you how this book may help is to provide an excerpt.
An Excerpt from Emotional Freedom
Introduction: Emotional Freedom: The Secret of Serenity
I invite you on a remarkable journey where you can embrace more happiness, peace, and mastery over negativity than you may have ever known. You possess the ability to achieve such emotional freedom; it’s closer than you might think. No matter how stressed your life is currently, the time for positive change is now.
Our society is in the midst of an emotional meltdown. People are restless, volatile, our tempers about to blow. In the past year, Prozac was prescribed for over thirty million people. Domestic violence occurs in one out of six of households. Fifty percent of drivers who’re cut off respond with horn-honking, yelling, obscene gestures, or even road rage. Half of our marriages end in divorce.
None of this is how we want life to be. Our pressure cooker society pushes us to our emotional limits. We deserve relief from getting crucified by daily stresses. We deserve to be happier, more comfortable in our own skins, to have nurturing relationships. This book empowers you to attain this high quality of life and to handle stress artfully. I’m excited to present practical new tools for mastering your emotions because conventional coping mechanisms just aren’t sufficient in our hyper-tense world. It’s lunacy to put up with being chronically anxious, fatigued, or depressed as so many of us have. I rebel against that cheerless status quo, and hope you will too.
Emotional Freedom offers the answer to reclaiming your happiness and heart. What is emotional freedom? It means increasing your ability to love by cultivating positive emotions and being able to compassionately witness and transform negative ones, whether they’re yours or another’s. This fundamental living skill liberates you from fear and lets you navigate adversity without going on the attack, losing your cool, or being derailed by it. The result? With true emotional freedom, you can choose to react constructively rather than relinquishing your command of the situation whenever your buttons get pushed, as most people do. This lets you communicate more successfully, gain more confidence in yourself and empathy for others. Then you own the moment no matter who or what you’re facing.
Though we commonly think of freedom as uncensored speech, emancipation from slavery, the right to vote and worship as we choose, you can’t achieve total freedom until you learn to take charge of emotions, instead of them running you. This is a radical paradigm shift we all can make, regardless of our present anxieties or past hardships. If you are painfully driven by emotions, this book will show you how not to be.
Your well-being matters to me. My mission is to increase your emotional freedom. It has always been within you, but you must know how to connect with it. I consider it my great privilege to help you say farewell to anything that imprisons--that keeps you afraid, small, or disconnected. Then you won’t inexorably be locked in combat with yourself or anyone else. I want you to be more fiercely alive. I’m presenting Emotional Freedom as a life-long guide to release you from the compulsive tyranny of negative emotions such as worry and anger so you can choose more joy.
I’m compelled to write this book because, as a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice and an Assistant Clinical Professor at The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), I work in a mainstream medical system where emotions are only partially understood. Even today, they don’t receive the total respect that they warrant. All too often, doctors ignore scientific data clearly linking emotions and health. During my psychiatric training at UCLA, I was Chief Resident of the Affective Disorders Clinic. We treated emotional “disorders” including depression and anxiety, as biochemical imbalances requiring medication. I’d meet with patients for fifteen minutes every few weeks, write a prescription, then send them home. Though I never saw medications as the whole solutions to their problems (despite the zeal of some of my colleagues), I did watch many patients experience at least partial “symptom relief,” an undeniable blessing and alleviation of suffering. However, in my subsequent two decades of medical practice, I’ve learned that emotional freedom is rarely just about removing a symptom. It involves much, much more.
Over years of working with patients and seminar participants, I’ve seen that emotional freedom comes from many sources, mainstream and beyond. This book gives me the opportunity to wed my fondest loves: traditional medicine, intuition, energy, and dreams--a mystical yet practical marriage. I’ve coined the term Energy Psychiatry to describe a new kind of psychotherapy I’m pioneering that synthesizes these multiple forms of knowledge. I’ll explain how I use each of them to help my patients find emotional freedom so you can find it too.
The intellect, stunningly incisive as it may be, has restricted vision when it comes to emotions. This is why bringing intuitive awareness to the feeling-realm is so liberating; it pushes beyond the limits of linear understanding. Intuition is a potent wisdom not mediated by the linear mind--a practical, smart, decision-making aid. Intuition can be a hunch, a dream, a “knowing,” specific guidance, or a warning of danger. During troubled times, intuition is a voice in the wilderness to get you through, and when things are good, it’ll help them stay that way. Contrary to what you might suppose, intuition is the antithesis of “woo-woo.” It can actually be perceived physically as a "gut feeling." Cutting-edge science associates this with a separate "brain" in the gut called the enteric nervous system, a network of neurons that learn and store information. Interestingly, Harvard researchers have linked the overall capacity for intuition to the basal ganglia, a part of the brain that informs us something’s not right and we’d better act on it.
Emotions also have an intuitive language that silently begs to be decoded in our bodies--“subtle energies” that move through us that can be sensed. These are what Chinese medicine calls “chi,” our vital life force, a growing area of scientific study. We feel emotions internally, while their energy expands beyond our bodies, affecting the world we touch, determining our affinities. Similarly, other people’s emotional energy impacts us.
Today, I am a woman who travels many worlds. My approach to emotional freedom utilizes the best of traditional and nontraditional realms to map the territory of the heart. In this book, I’ll discuss the four major components of emotions that shape your health and mood: biology, subtle energy, psychology, and spirituality. Why do I emphasize spirituality? I want to acknowledge that there’s a heightened sense of mystery to emotions. Albert Einstein said, “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” To tap this, we must appreciate that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. It’s impossible to grasp how we tick emotionally without a cosmic perspective; everything about us, including our biology, is an expression of the divine. Seeing emotions as a training ground for the soul frames every victory over fear, anxiety, and resentment as a way to develop your spiritual muscles and be better able to love and cultivate goodness. Anything that keeps your from your light distances your spiritual connection too.
I’m unrelentingly dedicated to helping my patients and you combat the emotional forces of darkness that cause suffering. This has to be done. We all have suffering. When unaddressed, it ends up hurting others and ourselves. I’ve seen too frequently how the ravages of suffering can deform people. I’ll teach you how to dissipate negativity so suffering can be lifted and you can be more loving. Goodness doesn’t shy away from the dark. But achieving emotional freedom doesn’t mean becoming bland, numbing our feelings, or spewing them indiscriminately towards others. It entails striving to develop everything that is positive within us as well as being accountable for our full spectrum of feelings, mastering them, and realizing we’re so much larger than they are.
I’m also compelled to write this book as a testament to my own progress on the path towards emotional freedom. I come from a lineage of powerful, caring women who, despite their accomplishments, often grappled with fears of inadequacy that kept them from reveling in their own magnificence. My mother and my aunt, for instance, as very young physicians in Philadelphia during WW II, staffed an inner city emergency room. And my grandmother was a flamboyant seer who’d heal her neighbors with her hands during the lean years of the Great Depression. These wonderfully talented and complex women were my role models; for better and for worse, I’ve shared both their strengths and apprehensions on my own path to self-realization.
I learned much about the consequences of emotions from my mother. At seventy, with a thriving Beverly Hills practice in family medicine, her credentials in order, she nonetheless chose to take the national board exams to prove she was as “competent” as doctors fresh out of medical school. Everybody, including my father (also a physician), her other doctor friends, and me, said to her, “Why put yourself through it?” But, as usual, Mother was stubborn. Maddeningly, she still had something to prove. We were just spectators, loving her the best we could, hurting as she hurt. Preparation for the test was Herculean, requiring months of intense study. Even though she’d been an impeccably skilled, compassionate doctor, beloved by her patients for four decades, she was possessed by a sense of inadequacy. A thousand people could tell her how incredible she was, but if one person said something derogatory, she’d believe him. It was so much easier for her to be kind to others than to herself--a paradox shared by so many of us. Twenty years earlier, Mother had been diagnosed with a slow-growing type of lymphoma. It hadn’t spread, but it hadn’t gone away. Soon after the national board exam, however, the tumor changed to an aggressive form of leukemia. Though she heroically did pass her boards, she died within six months of doing so. Near the end, she told me she believed that the stress and fears that ate at her had accelerated her own death.
Witnessing my mother’s struggle with self-doubt gave me vital insights into emotional freedom. As a daughter, I saw the horrible toll negative emotions took on the person dearest to me. I ached with powerlessness as I watched her weaken. Even before she died, I experienced the cellular chill of having lost my mother. I stayed very close to her until the moment she turned bright gold and was no longer of this Earth. During those heartrending days, the mind-body connection was never more apparent. Ironically, not one iota of my mother’s being consciously wanted to die, but stress and fear don’t care about that. They beat relentlessly at her seventy-year-old immune system, already taxed by cancer, and her body broke down.
My mother, myself: Even now, at times I can’t stop my fears or inner slave driver, and it’s hell. However, one make-or-break difference is that I’m explicitly committed to not being ruled by negative emotions. I’ll fight to the finish to overcome them. This is my eternal vow, and I’m making sweet and steady progress. But Mother came from the old school where you tough things out, believe in achievement as scripture, and shy away from psychotherapy. It’s not that she didn’t want her fears to go away; during many conversations at our Saturday afternoon teas I’d listen to her yearning for inner peace. But she just wouldn’t commit the time and energy to get there, whether through contemplative introspection or with the assistance of a guide. And though she devoutly believed in Judaism, the traditional services she attended didn’t focus on the everyday spiritual meaning of emotions or help her get down to the nitty gritty of how to relieve fear. Even at the end, she lacked the tools for change. It breaks my heart that Mother, so gutsy and skilled, never fully realized her own worth. If she had, then maybe she would have lived longer and discovered another chapter of satisfaction in her life--a chapter that had nothing to do with achievement. But this is a passage that must be negotiated as you age, a grace one must seek.
My mother gave me many gifts, including the tenacity to follow my dreams and a love of learning. But from her life, I also learned the dire necessity to heal negative emotions in order to achieve my own inner peace and to help my patients do the same. The power of love is the champion of emotional freedom. We must respect the voice within that says, “Honey, be kind to yourself. You are enough. You are beautiful.” This compassion is in each of us: the ultimate answer, the one I aspire to, teach my patients, and shout from the rooftops.
In the spirit of compassion, you can use Emotional Freedom to grow joyful and strong. My book is divided into two parts. Part One, “Tapping the Power of Emotional Freedom,” introduces you to the four components of emotions. It offers a self-assessment test to help you evaluate your current level of emotional freedom so you can record its growth as you practice the principles contained in this book. I’ll also invite you into my romance with sleep and dreams, revolutionary states of consciousness that offer liberating wisdom. Everyone can access this realm, even if you’ve never been able to remember your dreams. You’ll gain relief from insomnia and learn to see nightmares and all dreams as allies and healing forces. Finally, I’ll show you how stay open without getting overwhelmed by an often-insensitive world. I take particular pleasure in sharing these solutions--including discovering your emotional type and how to optimize it--since I well know what it’s like to be a sponge absorbing the angst of people around me. I’ll also offer an “Emotional Vampire Survival Guide,” crucial tips to protect yourself from friends, family, or coworkers who emotionally suck you dry.
In Part Two, “Your Tools For Liberation,” I offer a hands-on approach for facing the seven most prevalent difficult emotions and building positive ones. Each chapter is called a “transformation” and tackles different emotions; some may be hotter issues for you than others. I present negativity as a means to an end, a form of suffering to confront and transform. It’ll periodically rise up, but you’ll learn to quickly shrink it again. I’ve paired negative and positive emotions in each chapter because freedom comes from practicing these transformations rather than getting stuck in pessimism. For instance, I’ll offer techniques to overcome fear with courage or jealousy with self-esteem. Similarly, I’ll show you ways to address loneliness, anxiety, frustration, depression, and anger to create a compassionate, vibrantly connected life. With each transformation, I’ll illustrate how the four components of emotions--their biology, spirituality, energetic power, and psychology--can help you achieve a more serene wholeness. Though misery loves company, so does inner peace. I’ll share my personal journey with each emotion, my challenges and my victories. You’ll also discover ways my patients, workshop participants, and friends have found emotional freedom so you can learn how to welcome it too.
I dedicate this book to people under emotional stress who’re overwhelmed but lack tools to implement change--those with demanding jobs, over-extended super-parents, or chronic worriers who long to master the exhale of life--and to everyone who feels lonely but yearns for a greater sense of connection. It’s aimed at those who suffer from problems labeled “psychosomatic,” such as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, which are fueled by negative thoughts and feelings. You’ll also benefit from this book if you’re in a good emotional place, but want to feel better.
Let Emotional Freedom guide you through your emotional terrain. Go at your own pace. I swear by baby steps; they foster a sense of safety and comfort; they prevent you from getting overloaded. I’ve had it with epiphanies! As revelatory as these life-changing Ah-has! can feel, they’re often hard to sustain. A burning bush is miraculous, but I wouldn’t wait around for one or have your growth depend on it. I encourage you instead to make small changes with great love--then they’ll accumulate and last. Stitch by golden stitch, you’ll be sewn together, more whole. Keep it slow and simple. Use the strategies offered in each chapter. In my medical practice, I’ve seen everyone from stressed-out moms to hard-charging business executives benefit. During this process, you may move forward, then backslide a bit. Don’t worry: that’s just how it goes. A mistake is only a mistake when you don’t learn from it. Be aware that even with the best intentions, emotions can sometimes discombobulate us. They know just how to catch us off guard if we’re not centered.
Take frustration, the great tester of equanimity when obstacles, be they mundane or extreme, arise. Recently, I was running late for a dental appointment. As I pulled out of my condo, a monster U-Haul blocked the exit; I wasted precious minutes tracking down the owner to have it moved. While en route, I got a disappointing call on my cell phone informing me that a project for which I had high hopes had fallen though. Then, muddled by that frustration, I realized that my dentist had just moved his office, and I had parked in the wrong lot. So, in haste, I took a shortcut through a nearby bank, but got lost. Now I was really late. Then I lucked out. There was a security guard, decked out in a neatly pressed uniform and shiny gun, who could give me directions. I started feverishly asking him to point the way, but got no response. Suddenly, I realized he seemed awfully quiet. And then it dawned on me--I was talking to a dummy! I touched him….yep, he was stuffed. I heard someone chuckling behind me. I turned and spotted the real security guard on duty a few feet away.
“The dummy looks so real,” I said sheepishly.
“It’s okay,” he replied, “People do what you did all the time. They don’t realize he’s a work of art.”
Although I’m shamelessly amused by my own foibles, my mounting frustrations had gotten the best of me. There I was, asking directions from a dummy! A delectable, cogent reminder of how important it is to be mindful of our emotions. We don’t want to be blind to whom we’re talking, let alone follow some dummy’s advice. But if you do, be sure to get a good laugh out of it. Then immediately correct your course. Through all the emotional twists and turns of life, a sense of humor has been my salvation.
As I’m writing to you, a winter storm passes over the Pacific. An expanse of white crests dapple my beloved ocean outside my living room. The tide is receding at twilight, my favorite time. Wind is whipping, whistling hard as golden rays penetrate the steely grayness that threatens to engulf the world. I love sitting here watching. I feel like the luckiest person as I gaze upon this glorious scene. Dark, light or the infinity of shades in between: I’ve come to cherish it all. Be apprised, my native tongue is intuition, that invisible, unspoken language that peers into the poetry of things, a mode of sensing and knowing that moves me more than any linear analysis or most words. Throughout the book, I’ll bring this aesthetic to our exploration of emotions and impart it to you. Be gentle with yourself on this remarkable journey. Enjoy the ride. Though we humans have a way to go, we are luminous still.
Judith Orloff, MD
Marina del Rey, California
To purchase “Emotional Freedom” with 100 free gifts from noted transformational leaders such as Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Michael Beckwith, Dr. Bruce Lipton, Shirley Maclaine and more go to: http://www.drjudithorloff.com/emotional-freedom-promotion. For more information about the tour, please visit: http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2009/07/emotional-freedom-by-ju...
Books like Emotional Freedom, The Power of StillPoint, Transcendence and Polarizing Your Life Toward Perfection should be on your shelf in order to get through these interesting times!
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Following the election, President Obama was hailed as a savior by some, and a devil by others. Those on the political left hailed his election as a victory for peace, tolerance and the end of worn out dogma. Those on the right shuddered in their three piece suits and cried that this was certainly the End Times.
Critics of his first 200 days say that he has failed to achieve anything except driving the nation deeper into debt. He has not achieved consensus on health care, climate change legislation or our true role in Afghanistan and has put having a beer before the crucial issues facing our nation.
There are apologists on the left who blame the right for any failures and delays and who claim that any financial concerns are merely a holdover from the eight years of the Bush administration. If we have learned anything from our political history, it should be that truth is rarely found in the right or the left. For that matter, it is not even found in the middle, as that seat on the political spectrum is the result of compromise, where bits of truth come together to form a consensus which is merely a place of acceptance, not one of truth. Each side gets a little, but the solution is not necessarily the right thing to do, it is the expedient thing to do.
Have President Obama's first 200 days been a success, despite political failures? My answer is yes. Not because all kinds of new and progressive legislation has been passed; not because we are now at peace in the Middle East; and not because our budget has been balanced. It is a success because we are now talking about the crucial issues that affect our nation and the world. We are talking about climate change, health care reform, education reform, and about others ways to solve political tensions, other than by use our military might. We are thinking about new ways to do things, new approaches to pressing issues, and new solutions outside the old political boxes. To me, this is encouraging.
As a Republican, I voted for Mr. Obama. The old ways were crumbling and doing business as usual was no longer acceptable. There was little chance for dialogue, and information that was crucial for decision-making was fabricated or suppressed. Shoot first and ask questions later were no longer an option. Our nation and our planet is at the edge. The decisions we make now will determine if we rise or fall. The real issue is not have we passed programs in 200 days, it is that we are trying to solve the issues and not hide them in some CIA vault. The remaining problem is that we cannot talk about solutions forever. Decisions must be made now. We know that the ways of the past were a failure. Politicians from both sides of the aisle must now come together and decide. If Obama fails, we all fail!