I admire Barack Obama. Frankly, if I were prez, I’d probably be drawn to the same policies… and attitudes. I believe he is =sincerely= trying to bridge the gap.
I believe he is a lot like Lincoln. I think that Lincoln was a guy who dearly wanted to be liked, and believed in compromise. I think that’s why he was elected… rather than because of any deep conviction. He wasn’t about ‘change’… he was about trying to hold things together. I think more people voted for Obama as someone who would try to bridge the gap than those who voted for ‘Change You Can Believe In.’
At some point, it dawned on Lincoln that there was no compromise. I think it took even longer for his generals… not because they were any more incompetent than generals at any other time in history. I just don’t think they believed in what it ultimately took to win… complete annihalation of the opposition. And think about it… even if you’re an ardent abolitionist, as an -American- how can you go about slaughtering your Southern Brothers. In the back of all the commanders minds was the idea of not ‘overdoing it’. How can you destroy the enemy unless you can make them truly ‘the other’. When we fought Hitler… no one worried about ‘overdoing it’. More was more.
But Lincoln had to watch hundreds of thousands die before he realised there was only one response. Only one way to win. Destroy the opposition. Screw compromise. It took so much death to figure out that the South would -never- break and any attempts to work with them were only encouraging.
My point is that, there are some places in history where a ‘measured response’ may not ultimately be the moral thing to do. And in obtaining victory, we must be willing to accept the long term consequences of creating a profound alienation.
People wonder why Gay Marriage has taken so long to come about.. vs Civil Rights. Partly it’s because no leader has emerged like Malcom or Martin. Partly it’s because there’s nothing in the Bible about segregation as there is a direct admonition against homosexuality. But mostly, I think, it’s because it’s an issue that is submitting to that gradual, slow, reasoned course of history.
But there may be some wrongs—such as slavery, that simply will -not- submit to that measured response. They -must- be met with shock and awe… even though the aftermath will be dreadful.
My guess is that we are at a point like that in the evolution of our society. I think the 60’s were akin to the end of slavery… a sudden tectonic force that changed everything. And what we’re going through now is something like reconstruction; an attempt by people who liked things the way they were, to take it back.
Ultimately, they cannot win… just as civil rights were inevitable one way or the other… but I now wonder if Barack is the wrong President. I’m wondering if he’s simply too reasonable. It may be that this country -needs- an uncompromising ‘liberal’ to protect the backsliding of progressive policies which, though well-intentioned, can only lead to the permanent downgrading of America.
I keep waiting for Barack to have his Lincoln moment; to simply get fed up and bring his policy in line with his conviction and take no prisoners.