I am going to shock many of my friends with a simple, honest statement of opinion. I think President Obama has been good for America. In fact, I think he has been the best thing to happen to us in years. Now, before you call out the men in the white coats to come take me away, let me explain what I mean.
Ever since I was a little rebel in High School trying to find some cause to take up and go save the world, I have been disgusted with the massive apathy of the American people towards our government. I have watched as we sat back through a never ending series of one political scandal after another -from political assassinations (the Kennedy's, King, Medgers, even Malcolm X) which were handled and investigated in ways that left virtually everyone signing on to one conspiracy theory or another.
The reason was that we just did not trust the government and assumed somewhere along the line we were being lied to. We watched while a Vice President claimed he was not a crook, then resigned and was arrested. We watched while a President tried to cover up a burglary and another President gave him a pardon "in the name of healing the country". We watched one Senator and Congressman after another do everything from accepting bribes to seducing Congressional Pages and Interns. All the while we sat back and lamely submitted while those same politicians passed more and more legislation increasing our taxes and taking away our liberties. They gave massive entitlements in exchange for political power and told us it was for our best interests.
One sad part of all this has been that most of us knew exactly what was happening. No one was really fooled very much. So, why then did we let all this go on for so long and get so bad? Because we were apathetic. Most people simply did not feel they mattered and that nothing they did or said would make much difference anyway. Most of my friends did not even bother to vote. Oh sure, we discussed politics. We complained, even bitterly, about the main abusers. Some of the worst were caught (although punishments for our elected officials rarely matched their crimes). Overall, however, most people just did not get off their butts and do anything about all this.
The result is that now we have a government where the phrase "Washington Politics" means corruption and deceit. The very word "politician" is held in the same regard as "used car salesman" and just about anyone running for office is assumed to be in it for the money.
Then one fine day along comes Barack Obama and we all see and hear someone completely different. Even his name is so different the change is actually refreshing. He gets up and gives great speeches telling us how things need to change. He looks, acts and sounds completely different. He is not a "Washington" insider and he has a message of hope and change. The American people, sick and tired of "politics and usual" flock to listen to him. Suddenly a feeling spreads across the country that maybe this man can unite the country and actually change the way things are done in Washington. The people become interested in politics again and people start getting out and actually talking with each other, going out and getting involved again -and more importantly, going out and voting.
Barack Obama has motivated and mobilized the country like never before. The problem, of course, is that his lack of management skill, his inexperience and his background in social engineering has not brought the kind of change most of us had hoped for. But that is alright. We can fix this. The American people are finally motivated and paying attention. We are no loner shy about expressing our opinions. People are attending town hall meetings, writing blogs, organizing political events and rallies and watching everything that every politician does or says. Washington is feeling the heat and the call is out to vote every incumbent out of office and start fresh.
John Boehner, the House Minority Leader, just made a speech in which he said "The American people have written off the Democrats. They are looking to us (the Republicans) again". He is partially right, We have written off the Democrats, but I would not bet on us looking to the Republicans either. People are now far too suspicious of any politician to just go along with the party line. People now are looking at the quality of the candidate. People no loner trust Democrats or Republicans, Conservatives or Liberals, Libertarians or Independents. People are now looking at the individual. We are paying attention, not only to what they say but also what they have done and what they are doing.
It is quite true that many of us do not like the programs and legislation that Obama has been able to get passed. Many of us see these things bringing fiscal chaos and dangerous foreign policy problems. Don't panic. The American people are really good at finding their way and straightening things out. Yes, there will be some rough times. It will take time and effort to get things moving in the right direction again -but they are already starting that way.
In the long run, Barack Obama has been the best thing that could possibly have happened to this country. Without him and his band of "academia czars" we would have gone on being apathetic and watching the corruption spread like a cancer through the halls of our Capital. Hope and Change are here, finally. Not the kind that Mr. Obama has in mind, but real change. The kind that will clean out the old political establishment and give us a renewed belief in our ability to be great.