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Monday, April 20, 2009
All Grown Up
Newt Gingrich is fuming because President Obama shook hands with Hugo Chavez of Venezuela -- and smiled! Left-leaning organizations say they feel betrayed because Obama isn't going after the CIA agents who tortured.
I'm not an expert at much, but I spent a good 30 years in childhood and can attest to the fact that grown-up positions suck from a child's point of view. Of course, I can't know the exact breadth and depth of the challenges our president faces, but I can say this: he's acting like a grown up in dealing with them.
As a self-described, proud-ass liberal, I'd love to see him go Rambo and run roughshod over the Michelle Bachmans and Newt Gingrichs of the world. I'd like to see him make them cry. I'd like to see the torturers punished as part of an orgy of leftism that would include Bush, Cheney and Rove as cellmates and Gonzalez and Ashcroft and the rest of that regime living under an overpass together.
I'd like to see him get a wild-eyed gleam in his eye -- the one that made me so nervous with Bush -- and kick some serious ass.
But, Obama's not a cowboy. He doesn't want to be an astronaut or a fireman when he grows up because he's a fully functioning adult who has to keep it together while the kids are growing up.
Would he like to belt a couple of these jerks in the chops? I'm sure he would. But, in a two-party system, when you exclude the other party as the Dems were excluded for eight years, bad things happen. That pretty much puts the kibosh on a gib-smacking rampage.
So, metaphorically, Pres. Obama is holding a barbecue for those crappy neighbors who never mow their lawns in order to talk with them about property values; he's shaking hands with a teacher whom he despises because his kid needs a good grade for college; he's working 60 hours a week with that knuckle-cracking idiot in the office who makes his head ache.
He's doing this because grown-ups don't have the luxury of cartoonish revenge. When adults are laid off, they don't go in and shoot up the office; they curse their fate and update their resume because it's not about just them. It's also about the kids -- us.
Grown-ups forego revenge and grand gestures because they're planning for the future of others that they greatly care about.
So, he will extend his hand to those who badmouth America because grown ups say, 'sticks and stones..." And, he will treat tantrummers like Boehner and Cantor and Perry as adults in the expectation that they eventually will recognize that's what they're supposed to be.
So, when Newt is pissed off about a handshake, Pres. Obama patiently explains that the old ways of doing business didn't work -- and a handshake isn't a contract. And, to the left he explains that torture is a terrible thing, but prosecuting what was legal at the time is a waste of resources and our only recourse is to ensure it happens no more.
That's what a grown-up does. Nobody's happy, but there is a consistency of purpose and vision and there's a guiding ideal behind both situations.
Still, I would never underestimate his desire to keep us safe on the way to our own "adulthoods." Having lived through one of the most childish regimes in memory, I'm OK with having an adult in the White House.
link | posted by Jae at 11:08 AM |
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