I mentioned in my comeback post “Back, Maybe. Confused For Sure” that I wasn’t sure that I wanted to write about politics ever again. Yet, here I am. I couldn’t stay away from President Obama’s last State of the Union speech.
As disillusioned as I am with politics, mostly due to the disgust that I feel towards today’s GOP and the despair that I feel towards the Democratic Party’s failure to effectively communicate, I was moved.
I was moved to see him enter the chamber wishing some a happy new year, telling others “good to see you,” to see him being hugged by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and to see him watched over by the First Lady with the concerned and sad look of someone who knows what it has cost him to stand at that podium.
I was inspired to hear his vision about our future, impressed once again by his usual common-sense approach, and wowed when he said “The United States of America is the most powerful nation on earth. Period.”
His call for change in our political system and discourse was a strong reminder of how far we have strayed from political civility and efficiency. His admission that one of the few regrets of his presidency is “that the rancor and suspicion between the parties has gotten worse instead of better” is not surprising, but, in my opinion, unnecessary.
An admission of regret should be coming from Republicans, whose actions to “take the country back” resulted in the country being kept back. How much better off would our economy be, how much more could have been accomplished in these past seven years, if the GOP’s #1 priority would have been to work on behalf on the American people, instead of a one-term presidency for President Obama?
Personally, I will never forgive, nor forget, the lies, the obstruction, the fear- and the hate-mongering against President Obama and the huge negative impact these have had on our country.
But, I may not need to. The Republicans today are paying for their extremism, not the least in the form of Trumpenstein, a creation of their own making. On the other hand, President Obama will go down in history as one of the most successful U.S. Presidents, ever. This is not just me believing it, but Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman saying it, one of President Obama’s most staunch critics.
In talking about the need for political change, President Obama spoke of the need for political involvement.
…whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, our collective future depends on your willingness to uphold your obligations as a citizen. To vote. To speak out. To stand up for others, especially the weak, especially the vulnerable, knowing that each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, stood up for us. To stay active in our public life so it reflects the goodness and decency and optimism that I see in the American people every single day.
President Obama, are you talking to me?
With those few words, he made me realize that regardless of how I feel about politics today, I have an obligation to speak out. I used to do so vigorously on this blog and stopped. I must not.
We have been fortunate to have this decent, intelligent, good-hearted man as our President. He was not able to accomplish everything he set out to, sometimes due to his own failings, mostly due to his disgraceful opposition. That after seven years of a vicious attack campaign, he’s still calling for unity and extending a hand to the GOP, calling for us to be “the voices of unarmed truth and unconditional love” is beyond my understanding of goodness and endurance.
May he live a long life and be able to contribute to the well-being of our country as an ordinary citizen and an extraordinary human being.