Saturday, October 03, 2009

Where Is We in We the People?

Utterly ridiculous! Unpatriotic! For shame you Republicans who applauded America’s failed bid to host the 2016 Summer Games as a personal failure for President Obama. When the International Olympic Committee turned down Chicago’s proposal yesterday, gleeful opponents of Obama cheered. Rush Limbaugh called the U.S. delegation “Ego-obsessed imbeciles on parade representing the United States. Oprah is now eating Denmark.” This is strange, and if Democrats did it, Fox News (right-wingers for those of you outside the U.S.) commentators would be all over it like white on rice.

That hacks me off. This is still America. Where is your national pride? This was not about Obama. This was an American city trying to capture an important world event. However, this time it was not our turn. South America has never had a chance. For that reason and some apparent Olympic committee bad blood, more than Obama failing, the International Olympic Committee said no thanks to Chicago. It’s a blow to the City of Big Shoulders, but I believe when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

Charles Lane over at the Washington Post said
The bid for a Chicago Olympics was to put a large American city, and probably the state and federal governments as well, deeply into hock constructing velodromes and the like, in return for the thrill of watching a bunch of steroid consumers try to break ephemeral world records in obscure sports.

Some say President Obama was ill-advised to put his prestige, and that of his country, at risk in a losing effort, especially when he has so many other important issues to worry about. Actually, it was a mistake, win or lose.

Yup. President Obama did the right thing as did President Bush in supporting Chicago’s bid. On hindsight, it is for the best that we lost. Chicago can now turn full attention to more pressing problems like finding a way to keep teenagers from killing each other.

However, a recent column by Thomas Friedman of the New York Times lays out a more disturbing concern interconnected to the lost Olympic bid. In Where Did ‘We’ Go?, Friedman writes about the poisonous political climate in Israel in 1995 that surrounded Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin before he was assassinated.

Friedman writes:
Others have already remarked on this analogy, but I want to add my voice because the parallels to Israel then and America today turn my stomach: I have no problem with any of the substantive criticism of President Obama from the right or left. But something very dangerous is happening. Criticism from the far right has begun tipping over into delegitimation and creating the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination. . . .

Even if you are not worried that someone might draw from these vitriolic attacks a license to try to hurt the president, you have to be worried about what is happening to American politics more broadly.

Our leaders, even the president, can no longer utter the word “we” with a straight face. There is no more “we” in American politics at a time when “we” have these huge problems — the deficit, the recession, health care, climate change and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — that “we” can only manage, let alone fix, if there is a collective “we” at work.

I thought Obama might be the leader to bring back the ‘We’ in “We the People of the United States . . .” from the U. S. Constitution. Now, I question, can any one?


Marion said...

I believe, in the short time he has been in power, that President Obama has done so much. Both for your country's image and with interior problems...cleanup after Bush. I can't imagine there are many men like him, in the world.

He has so much to battle and will do so, no matter the naysayers who think they are so righteous. And only time will tell.

Perhaps the boil must fully burst, before true healing can begin.

I'm so grateful you are writing political stuff again, Sheila...I can tell it is your true passion!

Marion said...

Oh, and I forgot to say I thought President Obama showed his support for his country when he went to the Olympic committee, and I commend him for it.

But I have to say I think you're lucky it didn't happen...the Winter Olympics in Vancouver really did cost many, many arms and legs!

Sheila said...

I think having the Olympics is a mixed bag. While Atlanta became a more modern American city after she hosted the Olympics, there was the bombing. Interesting to hear your perspective about Vancouver.

Opus #6 said...

So Marion's perspective is "interesting" when she says the Olympics are perhaps a bad idea for us right now. Yet you come on my blog and accuse me of gloating.

All I said was that Obama can't go around the world bashing America on foreign soil especially, then expect the world to want to give us the Olympics. Bad salesmanship is what I call it.

Also, I noted that there was a feeling of relief that the corrupt Chicago political machine will not get the HUGE infusion of funds. I specifically named THIS as my beef, and nothing against Obama, in my prior comment to another commenter on my site.

Sadly, Obama has not turned out to be a uniter. He stands up and says, "I won". That conservatives need to "shut up" while he cleans up our mess. He enacts government takeovers of a number of industries, and not has his eye on MY healthcare. I take that personally. I don't want the govt making auto withdrawals from my checking account then telling me to wait 4 months for a cancer screening test. Sure there needs to be reform, but why are they not doing tort reform? Biden publicly admitted it is because the trial lawyer groups are too strong on capital hill. And maybe because Obama is a Harvard lawyer himself. Who knows.

I read your blog post and I see the thoughts of a lady who cares about her country. I think we really do share more that unites us than divides us. I hope we can get beyond knee-jerk reactions and really listen to each other.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Sarge Charlie said...

Sheila, Holy Crap, wake up and smell the roses.

For one, I was pleased he was in Copenhagen because he wasn’t screwing up something else here. The America as we know and love is not likely to survive the Obama years.

The timing was unfortunate for the trip because another 10 fine young Americans died in Afghanistan while he continues to be a failure as command in chief. For this I sit here with a tear in my eyes wondering who will be the last to die when we cut and run, an honor not relished by soldiers.

We are now near $12,000,000,000,000.00 in debt and still throwing money at failed projects. Your friend, Marion, spoke of his accomplishments, what? “Cash for Clunkers??????” when that boondoggle finished no one is buying cars. It just seemed un-American to me for a person to get a $4500 discount on a car at the taxpayer dime.

You said, “Where is your national pride?” Shelia, we can disagree on politics, and that is healthy, we cannot disagree on national pride just because I think you and the majority of Americans selected a novice to fill the most important job in the world. I said during the campaign and still contend “he is/was not ready for prime time.”

As far as Copenhagen, I think George Will (ABC News) said it best, "The President and First Lady went to Copenhagen and gave speeches about themselves," Will said, breaking down the number of times they used the words "I" and "me" in their speeches. "It was all about them," he said, concluding that like "Honest Abe" and "Tricky Dick" before him, the President might go down in history as "Vain Barack."

Sherri said...

I don't think there has been much "we" in our politics for quite a while, so this is nothing new. The "bashing" is no worse than it has been in recent years, probably no where near as bad actually. As citizens, we really need to get back to thinking for ourselves and not just following "our guy" who happens to have a "D" or and "R" after his/her name. When we step back and examine things without picking a side first, it becomes rather clear that both sides are really more after maintaining their own power, lining their own pockets, and keeping their lobbyists happy - more so than they are for "We, the People". They like keeping us picking sides, because then we don't really pay attention to what they are doing. It is a classic diversion tactic...kind of like what we have in religion as well...keep everyone arguing about who is wrong or right and no one will never really have their own God experiences (and will therefore need religion).

Sheila said...

Thanks Opus #6, Sarge and Sherri for your comments.

Sarge, I am glad you are well enough to get your dander up. Hang in there! While I could say a lot and you would probably disagree, I will say this. Obama needs to be given a chance. He has and is going to make mistakes. He has a lot on his plate. Was the country in great shape when he took over? Nope. At least the stock market has leveled off a bit now. I didn't like the cash for clunkers and bank bailouts. But, and here's where you and I differ--I think it is possible to make progress. Give the man more than 9 months for God's sake.

Yes, the job market is still bad. Soldiers are still dying in foreign parts. Afghanistan is a hell-hole with no apparent hope of us getting anywhere. My son tells me that we have now been there longer than we were in Vietnam. Up against a narco-state, can we win? The Soviets sure tried and look where it got them. I don't know the answer. Should we come home? I don't know. We can't keep being the world's policeman.

Sherri, I agree with much of what you say. However, I think the bashing is worse because of cable TV, and talk radio--MSNBC and Fox News being two of the worst perpetrators. While I still identify as a Democrat politically, I am not a happy camper. Sadly, I don't see many Republicans willing to admit that.

And Opus, yes I do still care about my country and the quality of life here. I worry we are too focused on where we disagree instead of our common interests. How do we get that back?