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!