Monday, January 19, 2009

A Very Bad Man

I've been reading the scores of online reports about what's going on in Washington D.C. right now, and even all the way over here in my little Danish fishing town, the excitement is inescapable. It's bubbling under my skin. Wow, what an era! I'm still choked up by the fact that Obama gave a speech yesterday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, with the steady stone eyes of Honest Abe himself staring down on the 44th president. Obama will move into the White House shortly with his wife, Michelle, and their two daughters. Michelle's great-great grandfather was a slave in South Carolina, and the White House and the Capitol Building were built in part by slaves. Anyone who is even a little bit knowledgeable of the United States' dreadful slavery story has got to feel the enormity of these circumstances. But it's not all about the slavery connection -- Obama is simply the best person for the job right now. The coming year or so will certainly suck, likely getting worse before it gets better, but I believe he can do it, and he will do it. He's not a magician, but the optimism and hope that Americans feel right now is infectious, unusual and real.

Not everyone seems to feel this way. I know someone, someone I like very much, who told her young children that Obama is "a very bad man." She supported McCain and especially wanted to see a woman (Palin) in the White House, and so maybe she muttered this as sour grapes right after the election. I've been thinking about this story frequently over the past several weeks. I'm trying to understand what it is about Obama that could make someone feel that he's a bad man. He's got it all going on -- unbeatably smart, witty, relaxed, real, compassionate, empathetic, committed, direct, extremely ethical, and he always speaks in complete sentences. I understand that to some people the fact that he's not white is deeply unsettling, but I don't think that's the case about this person who told her children that he's a very bad man. Is it because he's going to ask the wealthy to share their wealth a little bit more? I'm extremely embarrassed by the greed that's growing and getting fatter on all levels of American society these days, but I don't think this is what it's about either.

The fact, not just my opinion, is that Obama is a very GOOD man. He has sought and is now taking this job -- and what a horrible job it's got to be -- for the right reasons, and it breaks my heart to think of kids seeing him and feeling fear. I hope that by the time they're in school and learning for themselves, they'll see the bigger picture of what he's signed on to do, and the very good results from his labors.



'Babs' said...

Obama has the best of intentions, and whether or not he will be 'bad' remains to be seen. People do change when they get a lot of responsibility and power.

One of my kids boo's and hisses when he sees Fogh Rasmussen in the media, and I cannot think for the life of me where he picked that up from. *whistles innocently*

It can be a big mistake to indoctrinate our kids with our political opinions (unless it is our plan that they 'fight for the cause' - ug). Political sway, like a religious sway, should/could be about deciding for ourselves.

Kids are so impressionable. In my opinion, it's a kind of abuse if we brainwash them. I say: let the kids make their own choice. I'd much prefer a kid of mine to think Obama a 'bad' man if he'd come to that conclusion himself rather than if he only thought Obama was a 'good' man because I had drilled it into him.

Lisa said...

I too am embarassed by the greed that seems to really be taking hold here in the States. I can't help but feel a pain in the very pit of my stomach about our future here in America. I grew up hearing the "Grapes of Wrath" horror stories IE: my mother having to eat bread made from bran sifted out of hogs feed because they simply did not have anything else to eat. I know I am a little "Depression Phobic" (hey admiting it is the first step right?". This momma really likes Obama, I just know he is walking into a real mess and I don't know how long it is going to take to see any real changes. The wheels turn slowly in DC. I am breathing deeply and trying to wait and see, with a little prayer wispered under my sigh.

just said...

"...he always speaks in complete sentences" has got me laughing out loud in the office. came by via kimananda. lived in sønderborg for THREE YEARS - used to write a blog entitled "in the arse end of denmark". we have since relocated...
good to read your adventures in sønderjylland!