Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Pleasant Dinner, Discussion and Obama

I was pleasantly surprised last evening to hear Russ and Elena agree with such depth of understanding with Obama, and of course me. I get excited when I hear positive and knowledgeable people support good, practical U.S. policy with interest and sincerity. The stars aligned for me to have a good evening out; Obama’s Cairo speech to generate discussion and agreeable people to talk with. The added surprise of the evening was to hear that Tina had voted for Obama. The world has changed; Tina, the devout conservative, has been converted. Thank the gods.

I am unable to accept any criticism of Obama. His Cairo speech was brilliant. He spoke as an adult, with humility, understanding and truth, and it set the path his administration intends to take. He also spoke to the heart of those on Earth who desire peace and opportunity for a good life. What else is there? That’s why Russ, Elena and Tina’s agreement meant so much to me last night and made the tacos taste much better, even though they weren’t the best I’ve ever had.

We agreed that Cheney, Limbaugh, etal., are simply insane with their ranting against every little nuance of President Obama’s Administration. It blows my mind that Limbaugh would say that Osama bin Laden should hurry to destroy America before Obama does it. Where did a statement like that come from? What facts is a statement like that based on? It can only be insanity; some warped reasoning from a man who has only his self-interest ratings at heart and will say anything to be controversial. And Cheney’s continued insistence that his interrogation methods worked and were legal. What kind of mind continues that thinking when there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary? A paranoid and fearful mind is my only conclusion. Insanity.

We ended the evening watching “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO and I would have thought that his show, following so closely behind Obama’s speech, would have praised Obama. But, Jeremy Scahill, author of “Blackwater,” saw fault. His criticism was that Obama is expanding Bagram, Afghanistan’s notorious torture prison. Of course what Scahill doesn’t say is that Obama has ordered basic legal rights under International Law for the prisoners. These are war prisoners, Taliban soldiers, who must be kept someplace. Where does Mr. Scahill suggest they be kept? In Guantanamo, adding to the impossible situation there? The criticism is ridiculous. After only five months in office, does he expect Obama to have run all over the world to fix or clean up every little nook and cranny pile of shit that Bush has deposited world-wide? Bush shit in too many places and it will take several years to clean up. Obama has done an enormous clean-up in only five months, so I reject Scahill’s judgement.

And, speaking of Bush. I imagine him sitting on his new sofa in his new Texas home watching Obama’s speech. Did he say, “Christ! Why didn’t my speech writers think of that? Why didn’t I remember to treat others as you would have them treat yourself from the ages and ages? Why wasn’t I less belligerent and more humble?” Maybe he slapped his forehead with sudden recognition and with regret or maybe he simply slumped into his sofa in shame. Maybe Laura looks at him differently now. If Bush is a man to sit and have a beer with, even though he’s now drinks tea, I’d like to sit down with him at a local cafe. I’d like to ask him to his face what the f**k he thought he was doing? Did he think being President of the United States was a joke? Has his mind changed about the job being “overrated?” Did he not understand that even though Cheney dictated torture that he, himself, was responsible? Did he not see the value of diplomacy? I’d like to see in his face some semblance of regret, of contrition and of conscience. I’d like to see him finally admit, at least through appearance, that he was the worst President that ever happened to America. Worse, by far, than Nixon.

But, I will let sleeping dogs lie and be glad that nowadays I can go to dinner with agreeable people looking forward to better times. Perhaps we have a chance to redeem ourselves and help this world through the huge challenges we face.

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