Friday, January 27, 2012

Pointing Fingers

When is it acceptable to dress down a President?


Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona has joined a long list of her Republican compatriots, who have sought, at one time or another, to grab a moment in the spotlight (Remember Joe Wilson?) at the expense of President Obama. An intemperate wag of a finger at the sitting President, over his disagreement with the contents of her book, and she has taken her rightful place if the Hall of Political Ignominy.

I will not belabor the point; what more need be said? Whether a finger wagged, an intemperate expostulation, or an ill-time interjection, it seems that, where during previous Presidencies, the "loyal" opposition was more than content to hurl objections from afar, this President has seen more legislators get at him in close quarters. These can be equated to the taunts of a bully, who would like nothing more than to have you take a swing, to justify the pummeling they have laid out for you in their mind.

President Obama will have none of it.

This man, this paragon of calm, with a demeanor as still and cool as an isolated, mist-shrouded tarn, stands before the world and takes every epithet, every rebuke, every lie, every racially-tinged word with an equanimity that actually enrages some, who would like nothing better than for him to fire back, cut people to the quick, go on the attack, and savage his opponents.

He is not that man.

If I am asked to point to only one attribute that makes this man more qualified to be President than any of those on the Republican side currently engaging in their circus sideshow, it is this: his comportment. The man can be strong, the man can be bold, the man can attack, but he does so on his terms, not those of his opponents. He is cool, calculating, and his vision ranges far ahead of those around him, certainly further than his opponents see. He is steeped in the big picture. He is unflappable and unerring in going beyond the moment to put words and actions in context. He is a silent disciple of Sun Tzu, playing governance at a level that leaves others swathed in the impenetrable murk of their own ignorance and foible.

He will not allow himself to be goaded. He will not allow himself to explode into pedantic rage. He honors the office he holds, as did its originator, George Washington, by keeping a level head, staying beyond the fray, and applying his power liberally, but carefully. He carries with him, not only the weight of American expectation, but the expectation and regard of a race, so long down-trodden and disregarded by the halls of power, they thought a day like this would never come. While he knows his place as regards his race, he also knows that to transparently bend to it at every turn would do his ground-breaking position damage and the race further disservice. So he fights for everyone, at every level, much to the chagrin of many.

His demeanor makes him the best man for the job. Gingrich is given to bombast, hyperbole, and reckless speech. Romney, at moments, cannot connect with his audience nor muster a smooth and coherent refrain he has not chanted a hundred times. Santorum is too busy proselytizing to recognize the ignorance he spouts as truth. Paul hearkens back to a time that exists only in his dim and diminished memory, where no one seems to have died of poverty and Jim Crow was certainly excusable. Only President Obama can keep his head about him, and has, even as a whole party has spent every moment since his Inauguration doing its level best to discredit him and work toward his dismissal, to the detriment of a nation.

Before you allow another thought to enter your mind, look at the body of work of those who seek to demonize the man, and ask yourself this question: just what are they afraid of? The answer is simple: they are afraid he will succeed. If he does, if he wins a second term, if he brings the nation back its dignity and prosperity, it will crush their long-cherished belief that he and those like him have no business being in power. It will be a staggering blow to the modern Jim Crow.

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