I feel pretty bad about yesterday's post. It didn't say what I wanted, at all. Today's is fairly short, in part because I've spent the last two days in a mindless, almost-sick-but-not-quite haze, and in part because I overslept and had no time to read the news more closely. I've been getting a lot of pep talks lately, and the sight of so many articles about the unhappiness of the liberal base made me think that Obama might want one, too. (Ah, how foolish my hubris can be, sometimes.) Anyway, here it is:
Dear Mr. President,
The headline on NPR this afternoon reads, “Obama's Base Cools As It Watches Him Compromise.” Surely there are poll numbers to tell you that this is true, the liberal base of the Democratic Party has been disappointed by the many concessions you have made on issues like health care. As a member of the far-left, I’ll admit I’ve shared in this disappointment, to some degree, though I find most of my frustration is not with you, but with the democrats in congress. This is in part because the Executive branch is, constitutionally, the weakest branch of our government, (and, somewhat ironically, the President still held most responsible by the general public for the state of the nation.) I don’t mean to imply that you’re powerless or blameless for the lack of progress, but perhaps not solely responsible for our all of our societal woes, as some would insist.
I wonder what it is that holds you back from the bold action you promised in your campaign. Is it congress? Is it an ill-informed and capricious electorate? Is it the fear of being a one-term president? These are all legitimate reasons to be cautious, I suppose, and your decisions are, to your credit, thoughtful and well-explained to the public, even if they are not always pleasing to either the left or the right. The middle course, the path of slow progress, may be what our country needs, but it will never be popular. Americans, having been too far removed from the inherent violence in rapid, dramatic progress, often wish for the kind of change that is only possible through oppression. (The Tea Party types may claim otherwise, but they are not being oppressed, and the country is not being radicalized.)
I have enough faith in your wisdom (and your superior access to information) to believe you know what the right course is, and to reserve my judgment. As frustrating as it is to be attacked by your supposed allies on the left, bear in mind that those of us on the fringe have a purpose to serve, as well. We demand more than we will ever be given, in hopes of inching the country towards what we believe to be a better future.
As I’ve been told many times today, keep your chin up, sir.