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April 2, 2010

Yes, We Still Can

Roy Meachum

You may remember Marvel Comics’ Clark Kent, a mild and diffident dude who honed from afar after Lois Lane, a fellow reporter at The Daily Planet. He was totally different after stepping into a phone booth and emerging as Superman. Something like that took place before our very eyes to the present resident of the White House.


Until two weekends ago, there was reason to consider Barack Obama – and more than several came straight out and said – no more than a misplaced law school professor, intent on reasoning together with his critics – certainly not a leader in these chaotic political and financial times. I read pieces suggesting the wrong Obama wore the chief executive pants.


Then, in rapid succession, came the healthcare provision laws, the shaking-up of academic loans that profited only the bankers and, most astonishing of all, the frequently smeared as “liberal” president opened the seas around this country for oil exploration – something his overwhelmingly “pro-business” predecessor was unable to do.


On top of all this, the administration proposes to sell Citigroup shares bought by the government to keep Citibank alive and functioning. Taxpayers figure to wind up a bundle worth billions from the difference between what was paid and the going price. That’s plus all the cash, by other billions, paid back by other financial institutions. However, George W. Bush started the loans and Mr. Obama is trying very hard to collect them.


The president’s right-wing critics are beside themselves – which might be their favorite position. Their cries are even more shrill, high-pitched and virtually incomprehensible. They promise they will go to the courts to repeal every legal act, including the student loans; they might have a politically rough row to hoe there.


His dyed-in-the-wool enemies even lambaste Mr. Obama’s attempt to solve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and in an even-handed fashion; the only way it can be solved. In supporting blind obedience to Jerusalem’s current leadership, they throw further fuel on the region’s general hatred for this country while doing absolutely nothing to bring peace to the land sacred to all three religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.


At the same time, politicians in both Iraq and Afghanistan endanger our generals’ view that American forces must stay until they achieve measurable victory; it simply will not happen, not in a meaningful way. In that area there is no tradition of democracy; the people are much more comfortable with not participating in how they are governed. In many ways, life is too hard a scramble to consider anything beyond survival. His trip to Kabul Sunday served notice that Mr. Obama is no longer willing to delegate the region’s affairs to others.


Before November’s mid-term elections, the president and all his people, women and men, are prepared to defend and explain the White House position on all issues; there have already been enough and bitterly confusing rumors and twists. In the next eight months every citizen can be reached, especially through the electronic media.


The greatest victory that Barack Obama has scored this spring came in the affirmation that his ideals and goals remain within reach, in other words:


“Yes, we still can.”


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