Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Giving Thanks

This is the most important Thanksgiving of our lives. My son surviving cardiac surgery and being given another chance.

I give thanks for the kindness and support of friends and strangers who reached out with an ear, a shoulder, a hand, healing thoughts and prayers.

I give thanks for beautiful sunsets and breezes over Puget Sound.

I give thanks for the rain.

I give thanks for appreciating rain more so than many. When most huddle under umbrellas, hoods, hats...I turn my face up and smile.

I give thanks for a president I can look up to, one who I believe is on my side. The little people's side. I wish him strength, perseverance, above all, good health and peace.

I give thanks for friends like Viv who have the strength to fight in the trenches, speak up for what is right.

Viv recently wrote and I quote my good friend Barbara

"This is unquestionably the best Thanksgiving piece I have ever read"

"Our remaining "open" to the very best possible outcome (while remaining grounded in reality) is that ongoing struggle with the egos' tricky desire to soar us into delusion."

- Caution, adult language

Why I Give Thanks that Obama is President this Thanskgiving
Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 1:41pm
The United States is chocked full of individuals who are, simply put... full of shit. I find it so nauseating to listen to the critiques that people from both the left and the right hurl at President Obama. Essentially, I hear almost constant criticism from detractors on both sides, and many of them seem to be criticizing the president for being less than absolutely perfect.

The burden an American president must carry these days is that he or she must APPEAR to be absolutely perfect in every way. The President is expected to pronounce each name exactly correct, to recall every meeting, conversation and phone call he has engaged in, and understand and react to every situation with flawless speed and efficiency.

I am not defending Obama's policies or decisions to date, for the record. However, I, as a realist who attempts to take into account the totality of the reality of what any human being in that position actually faces, allow him much grace .No human on Earth possesses the intellect and the capacity to master every component and facet of domestic and national world politics. In addition, nobody can take all sides of an issue simultaneously, nor should they try. That's what almost everyone expects, though.

I continuously hear people attack each president for not making that person's personal pet cause his number one priority. When the president does defend the critic's pet position he inevitably is not doing enough or going far enough. Forget the personal or political ramifications of such a stand, the critic expect the president to champion that person's cause at any and all cost to his career, his party, or even our nation. This proclivity comes equally from the left, the right and even the center, with no demonstrable difference in intensity.

You'd think the fact that Obama is not a homicidal imbecile who is hellbent to spread war and famine to non-Christian lands, or the fact that Obama does not rule the country from some theocratic mind space, or the fact that he did not create but inherited the worst economic downturn since the great depression - would lesson the ire of the hundreds of millions of critics, but think again.

To the right wingers Obama is basically Satan in a suit and tie. He is a socialist, no, a communist. He is not a citizen of this country, in fact they are so ignorant (or dishonest) as to suggest that Obama has not yet "proven" his citizenship or birthplace. They accuse him of a total and complete coup de' tat, a complete government "takeover", ignoring the fact that it was the previous administration that basically reshaped our democratic republic. They advance this notion with impunity, despite the fact that Bush (one and two) were so in bed with the gigantic corporate interests that they have sired corporate offspring all over the planet.

Truth be told, however, underneath the indignant anger, the ire, the hot and bothered outrage, rests a dark little non-secret: about half of the right wing's opposition to president Barack Obama is rooted in a deep seated and institutionalized racism. While the left would like to see Bush and Cheney in prison, much of the right would like to see Obama hanging from a tree limb. Don't think it is not true, it is.

No, in less than a year, Obama was expected to pull America's economy virtually out of his hat, and this expectation comes from almost everyone. I mean, what's wrong with this guy? Why can he not reign in the most sophisticated and complex economy in the history of the world that is controlled by a thousand factors and essentially controlled by the private sector, a sector that is both threatened by and out to crush and manipulate any entity, human or otherwise, that it deems a threat to the status quo. Watch as the machine attempts to decimate his policies. Does he stand a chance, even? Questionable.

Obama could give into the right wingers and accept every single issue they have and they would undoubtedly rail against him and probably switch their own positions in an attempt to discredit him. The degree of hatred, contempt, and bald racism that is felt against this man is, I believe, unparalleled in modern American politics.

And the hatred is not coming just from the right.

The left, although clearly conflicted on Obama. has little more patience or sympathy for the man, because he has not abandoned all hopes for a second term by wholly adopting every radical position the most marginalized factions of the left embrace. The fact that Obama is in some ways the anti-Bush gives him little respite from the lefties. You'll see protest signs adorned with images of Obama with a Hitler mustache at protests from both sides. Forget the fact that Obama is now almost a prisoner of the system, kidnapped from reality by the incessant demand for a constant balance of perceptions. Even though he has entered into an international system governed by corporate interests and bogged down from centuries of ritual, precedent and tradition, a system essentially created to manage, regulate and intercept commerce - he is expected to dismantle capitalism, end all wars, legalize pot (only Congress can do that). and blame the U.S. government for 9/11. Sometimes I think the left and right are both never going be happy with Obama unless he actually takes a bullet for the cause. If he did the things I just wrote about that is exactly what would happen.

How dare I defend Obama! What an outrage! Gee, he must be doing everything I want him to do for me to feel OK standing up for the man, right? I am unhappy with many of Obama's decisions (or lack of, so far). I wish he would do all kinds of things differently. However, I have felt that way for every president and always will. I am only one person in a nation of hundreds of millions. I understand that I am sitting at a table in Seattle, Washington, about as far removed from all of the facts, details, priorities, crisis, media, advisers, supporters, detractors, contributors - from the stark, unwieldy, overwhelming priorities that the man faces every nano-second of each minute, each hour, each day.

Conspiracy theorists from both the left and right are convinced that Barack Obama is completely governed by a revolving cadre of secret societies that he has undoubtedly been indoctrinated into since he was born a Muslim in Kenya. He is a member of the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg Group, or worse... he is a member of the Illuminati (or is there any difference?)! Yes, Obama is a slave to the secret masonic order that rules the entire world, muahahahahahaha! I am surprised he has not yet been accused of being a Black Panther (or worse, of having sex with a white women - oh, the humanity!).

Forget the fact that just years ago he was a community activist, not yet connected to the secret elite global shadow government. I mean this man acts fast! But then I do not regularly listen to Alex Jones or scan Prison Planet, I am sure I am behind the curve. Perhaps Obama is a secret biological weapon sent from some liberal alien universe where every individual is sired through gay incest and abortion. Sounds believable enough by their standards! Oh yeh... WILLIAM AIRES! I get all oogley boogley just hearing his evil conspiratorial name, oh my. Liberals and socialists and communists, oh my!

There is no hope unless Ron Paul rides in on a white (sheet?) horse to save the day. Perhaps that was uncalled for, but I leave it in because I feel the statement is relevant, because Paul is a great example of someone who could NOT govern this nation within this political environment, regardless of his integrity or his apparently genuine brand of conservatism. The reason is that his ideas are far too radical to work or be accepted at this time. That's why he can't pull enough votes to register in the presidential election (that and the fact that the media marginalizes him like they do Kucinich).

I choose to see Obama as a man, and I am thankful, grateful, satisfied that he appears to be an actual real guy, a decent person, that he is trying to do GOOD THINGS for our nation. He will fail. Any mortal will fail at his job. The issue should be by how much, by what standard, in which ways will he fail and succeed? Nobody could meet all of the challenges, right all of the injustices, correct all of the catastrophic decsions made to shore up global corporate interests at the expense of the world's individuals. Anyone who suggests they could is either a liar, a fool, or both.

Obama is connected to the corporate machine. No shit! He became the president, there is no other way. That is my point. He cannot be all things to all people, he is in the game and he has the play that game. To expect anything different out of a politician who yearns to hold that terrible office is to be naive and unrealistic. If he were not connected he could never have achieved his position. I know that I will most likely never see a long haired, dread locked, pot smoking radical activist president, so I am not at all shocked, dismayed or surprised when that doesn't happen.

I give thanks for Barack Obama, for our president. I support him, I applaud him, and I have tremendous empathy for him. I hope he can stay alive, I hope he can negotiate the cold, black waters of American politics enough to get a second term, because I don't think we will ever do better in a human being. Perfect? No. Real? I think so.

He is a black man who fucking beat Hillary, Bush and the republican war machine! That makes me like him, warts and all. He is imperfect, he will fail, he will not correct all the wrongs, cure all the sick, take us all to heaven. I can accept all of that and more.

He is, I feel, a nice guy, a decent man, a genuine person, which essentially disqualifies him to excel in this corrupt, immoral, entrenched, and essentially fickle system of politics. He is in shark infested waters without a lifeboat, surrounded by stiff, phony, corrupt opportunists and career politicians, and like every president he will have to join them to varying degrees to get anything demonstrable accomplished. He will be attacked from all sides, get little credit for anything, and be judged by standards that nobody could ever achieve. Coming into office he was thrown up onto an ivory pedestal and heaped on with glittery expectations that doomed him from the opening gate.

Barack Obama, my president, I salute and honor you. God Bless you and may the bright lights of protection illuminate you in the lonely darkness of your position within this crazy world we are thrust into. You are not perfect, and that is enough for me. The last time I checked, I was not perfect either. I'd like to see all the critics spend a week in the Oval Office with the duties, demands and responsibilities of the most powerful office in the world and all of its burdens. Then, I suggest, the chambers of discontent would fall much more silent in response.

Did I offer G.W. Bush the same providence? You bet, until he showed himself to be an ignorant dupe for war profiteers and fundamentalist traitors. Cheney was actually the president, not Bush, essentially. Obama may go the same route, but it is too early to tell. Yeh, Afghanistan and all that. I would have us out in a heartbeat, while I sit at my table in Seattle.

After all, there is nothing Obama does not know that the rest of us are not all masters of. Right?

This year I give thanks that Barack Obama is the United States president. If that bothers you, well, I guess you should give thanks that I am not the president, because if I were I would REALLY piss you off.

Happy Thanksgiving.

~Vivian McPeak

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