Monday, January 19, 2009

The fester of small mediocrities

I really like Barack Obama. I am proud to have been able to vote for him and am constantly amazed when I hear him speak. That being said, I will not hesitate to criticize him.

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Some people fear that we are idolizing him instead of being weary of his administration, but I think it’s nice to finally be able to look at America, a country I feel so alien to sometimes, and feel hope for a change. Maybe it’s just the optimist in us all, but I see nothing wrong with basking in it for a while.

Because I know it can’t last. Not because I don’t trust Obama, it’s just my realism always beats my optimism. (It’s a dirty cheater though.) Obama is not perfect. He is not going to swoop in and make everything right. How can he when the country can’t even agree on what’s “right” most of the time? He is not perfect. His presidency will not be perfect.

But I love that he knows it.

Remarks in Baltimore this weekend:

“We recognize that such enormous challenges as the ones we face now will not be solved quickly. There will be false starts and setbacks, frustrations and disappointments. I will make some mistakes. We will be called to show patience even as we act with fierce urgency.

But we should never forget that we are the heirs of those early patriots, ordinary men and women who refused to give up when it all seemed so improbable; who somehow believed that they had the power to make the world anew. That's the spirit that we must reclaim today.

For the American Revolution did not end when British guns fell silent. It was never something to be won only on a battlefield or fulfilled only in our founding documents. It was not simply a struggle to break free from empire and declare independence. The American Revolution was - and remains - an ongoing struggle in the minds and hearts of the people to live up to our founding creed."

So good luck Obama and congratulations. I really hope you make us proud, but even if by some freak accident your presidency turns out to be even worse than the worst presidency we’ve ever had, I am still proud of my country for electing you.

This is a poem by John O’Donohue that Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley recited this weekend at Obama’s Baltimore train stop. Even though politicians and poetry don’t go well together, I actually thought it was fitting.

It’s high over the mountains the eagle spreads it’s wings
May your perspective be larger than the view from the foothills
When the way is flat and dull and times of grey endurance
May your imagination continue to invoke horizons
When thirst burns in times of drought
May you be blessed to find the wells
May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
And know when the seed of change will flourish
In your heart may there be a sanctuary for the stillness where clarity is born
May your work be infused with passion and creativity
And have the wisdom to balance compassion and change
May your soul find the graciousness to rise above the fester of small mediocrities
May your power never become a shell where in your heart would silently atrophy
May you welcome your own vulnerability as the grounds where healing and truth join And integrity of soul be your first ideal
The source that will guide and bless your work

Cheers.

4 comments:

  1. That is a great poem but i think this kipling one is more suitable.

    If

    If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
    If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
    If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
    Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
    And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

    If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
    If you can meet with triumph and disaster
    And treat those two imposters just the same;
    If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
    Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
    And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breath a word about your loss;
    If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
    And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

    If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
    If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
    Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
    And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!
    Rudyard Kipling

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  2. Thank you! It is very suitable.

    I didn't pick the O'Donohue poem actually. The gov of Maryland did. lol

    It seems poetry is the theme for politicians right now.

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  3. That's a beautiful poem. And I, too, am gonna bask in the Obamamania for at least one more day before allowing my cynicism to take the reigns.

    And for the record, I do think we as a country are starting to view Obama in more of a 'human / politician' light rather than a 'Jesus 2.0' light. It's been two months since the election and the gravity of the situation he's inheriting is starting to pull us back to earth, imho.

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  4. To see a video of the Governor reading the poem, and to learn more about John O'Donohue, you can visit http://jodonohue.blogspot.com/

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