It’s all in the eye of the beholder. That rule of thumb seems more compelling in today’s political climate – and is impacting every facet of life. How one perceives existence has more influence on outcome than any other factor. Today, in fact, perception is more powerful than reality.
President Barack Obama perceives the world through a different set of glasses than his progressive base that worked so hard to get him elected. He views Republicans as worthy, distinguished opponents with similar goals for the betterment of all. As an outcome of this distorted perception, compromise is not only the instrument, but the objective. Thus, progressive issues are thrown under the bus, promises broken, and ostensible appeasement made with enemies of labor, environment, and social justice.
Notably, to prove his commitment to bipartisanship, the President cedes major concessions from the onset by appointing prominent corporate Republicans to head high-profile economic, energy and jobs task forces instead of drawing from a talented pool of progressive specialists. What’s he trying to prove? How conciliatory he is? The result is his voting base becomes disenfranchised – suppressed to the degree the next election cycle is poised to hand power to the right-wing. How can he not see what he’s doing?
Elizabeth Warren is sent packing to Massachusetts and Paul Krugman totally ignored. Instead, Obama courts the Republican CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, to be his jobs czar – neglecting to take into account GE’s outsourcing thousands of jobs to China, Brazil, and elsewhere.
Obama’s political eyesight is myopic.
On the other hand, Tea Party Republicans perceive Democrats, generally, and Obama, particularly, as enemies of democracy and America. They have no respect for Obama and Democrats, nor do they feel obligated to show any. Their worldview is polarly opposite to Obama’s. Compromise is impermissible and a sign of weakness.
These battling perceptions, both inaccurate, have led to polarization, which results in government gridlock. The victim between the dueling views is the average citizen wedged betwixt the vice grips. Because the principals never pay the consequences.
Obama insisted the government could not break contracts when it came to TARP taxpayer dollars shelled out to big banks and Wall Street. So, billions in bonuses were mandated to be subsidized by taxpayers because CEO contracts didn’t permit the cessation of bonuses to the guys that ran the economy over the cliff.
In contrast, union contracts between workers and companies/government are broken without remark from the right, because ordinary workers don’t make billions and, thus, don’t have the means to hire lobbyists to buy politicians. Oh, yes, their collective bargaining rights and benefits can be cancelled, unions busted, and agreements nullified arbitrarily. But no billionaire suffered from the `08 Crash, only the rest of the world. We pay for their corrupt indulgences while they make out like bandits – more than any time in history.
A double standard is the norm in an unjust, plutocratic world. Wall Street is too big to fail, while Main Street deteriorates to pot-holes and dust. Corporate welfare is okayed without fanfare, while welfare for needy and unemployed Americans is denied – denounced by the right with no mention of the other. It’s the perception, their worldview, that drives them to hypocrisy favoring the rich. How opposite to Jesus Christ and Robin Hood can one be?
Meanwhile, we have no true representative of progressives – just a President who sees compromise as both the means and the end.
The gridlock state of America is real. Some have accused me of just holding a pessimistic view, that events and movements [now sculpturing our world] may be interpreted in a brighter light. They say my perception is off and I can’t see clearly.
Like the pessimist who observed a pile of manure and stated the obvious, “Well, there’s a pile of shit.” Next, the optimist strolled by and countered, “Oh, that’s just fertilizer. The pile’s so high, there’s got to be a horse in there somewhere.”
In today’s America, we’re obstructed by a great, big pile of shit Republicans left as their signature legacy. The optimist might come along and hope for better results than what’s visible by way of ignoring the foul-smelling obvious. The realist (pessimist) is the progressive, the optimist is Mr. Hope – Obama. While the party that dumped on America is the GOP. Who has the clearest vision and best interests of the American people at heart?
It’s a matter of perspective. If you’re one of the 99%, you see your job jerked out from under you, your home foreclosed, and your tax dollars bailing out billionaires and paying their bonuses. If you’re one of the elite 1%, you see the vast majority as a threat to your privileged lifestyle. But if you’re Obama, you still only stubbornly see compromise as the sole vehicle to reach consensus with adversaries that laid the big pile and are proud of it.
The Occupy Wall Street movement may have a ripple effect, though dismissed by the predictable FOX and radio right. And the ripple is only momentary. Because there’s no focus, no foresight.
What’s required is a visionary revolution of fresh perspective and new ideas that inspires America back to innovation, invention, and improvisation – the same ingredients that pulled us out of other depressions and crises in the past.
But where is that leader with vision? For, without vision, the people perish.
Barack Obama, I believe, needs to transform himself into that visionary. He has the intelligence, background, and potential to lead America back to greatness. He only needs a change of perception – assimilating the viewpoints necessary for success. He needs to recognize Republicans for what they are – untrustworthy opponents determined to destroy the nation to take his job – and he needs to act accordingly: AROUND them.
If unwilling to discard his long-held skewed perception and misconceptions, the nation perishes.
To stubbornly hold the passive approach is worse than Bush digging in his heels to cover up the big lie of pretext by claiming God orchestrated bombing Baghdad. Not only is Obama’s base greatly disappointed and repressed, but the country is damaged – on the edge of Depression. And without an energized base, Obama may lose, not to mention the loss of Senate, House and future Supreme Court appointees.
The cost could not be higher if eyes remain closed or vision blurred.