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October 21, 2009

The Main Thing

Derek Shackelford

It has been 10 months since Barack Obama took the oath of office as President of the United States. He has been under tremendous scrutiny ever since.


It seems that everyone has an opinion on his job performance. He has attempted in the first year to take on a rather ambitious agenda. Numerous issues abound and I do not think anyone would want to trade places with him.


President Obama is in a somewhat Catch-22 situation; no matter what he does, someone is not going to be happy because they didn’t get what they wanted. So many opinions abound; different viewpoints are pervasive and discussions are frequent.


The bright side of his tenure thus far is that it has brought people to the table to participate who otherwise may not be engaged. This includes all vantage points; Democrat, liberal or moderate. Everyone has a view and wants to be heard.


The problem is no one wants to be understood. Why? Because, similar to a young baby, everyone wants their way. The sad part is getting their way means never mind listening, never mind having an intelligent discussion and never mind staying above the fray of partisan politics. It is no longer what is good for the people but what is good for the respective political party. The trick is on us because we fall for it every time.


Yes, there are important issues such as the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, the health care debate and the economy. Do I agree with every proposed policy that President Obama is putting forward, No! I am highly concerned with the spending policies that are driving the national debt. Some of the economic problems were escalating long before President Obama came into office. The difficulty before him is trying to put a lid on a boiling pot. The system is broken and tossing money around will not solve the larger issue of this nation’s economic system.


While I may not be in lock step with the president, I am willing to give him a chance. He has some difficult decisions ahead of him and how many of us would have the insight and judgment to make them?


In a democracy, we all are free to offer viewpoints. I certainly hope that we can keep the main thing the main thing when it comes to the public discourse.


Recently, President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. It came as somewhat of a surprise to many that he would be granted the honor when serving for just a short time in the Oval Office. Some act as if the award has no validity just because we may not like who received it. How many of us have received awards which we should not have received? But I digress. Now the Nobel committee appears to be of inept quality just because they selected him.


While this accomplishment is commendable, the pressure has now been elevated. Now the expectation is for him to be a peace keeper. This is a difficult proposition considering two wars.


President Obama has the quandary of now balancing diplomacy and cooperation with military action. This is not an easy place to be. It has even been suggested that the award was a consolation prize for Chicago not receiving the 2016 Summer Olympic Games despite his lobbying effort.


So, while some may disagree with the selection of the committee; while some may not like it just because it is him; while some may not like it because they want something to argue about; while some may not like it because he is a Democrat. Some stop hating and keep the main thing the main thing.


There are far too many much more important issues to devote time and energy to.


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