In the beginning, there was Bush: an openly selfish, headstrong and confused man who misinterpreted religion as a means for world dominance. Bush provided an experience that left most Americans in deep need of relief. Both his election and re-election were dubious and controversial. His administration lied about weapons of mass destruction leading to the war in Iraq and his deregulation of Wall Street arguably started the economic meltdown.
An “anybody but him” attitude embodied America and encompassed all Republicans as a result.
Then, there was Barack Hussein Obama.
Despite his middle name in the midst of an anti-Muslim atmosphere and African decent in a begrudged, but now somewhat moderately racist community, people loved him. He gives well-delivered speeches, he’s an even better debater and he has a persona that makes one feel like he is the guy next door. He was a perfectly-timed and very impressive relief indeed.
But alas, that perception has vanished. With his second year nearing its end, his approval rating is now only 40 percent, down 18 percent from January, according to a recent Washington Post poll. Protests, extreme-right political groups and anti-government militias have grown immensely in number, as well as hate crimes and death threats to government officials.
According to author Ronald Kessler’s new book, “Inside the President’s Secret Service,” Obama receives 30 death threats a day which must be investigated by a now understaffed and underfunded Secret Service team.
Almost every member of Congress who signed the new health care bill has received threats, or their offices have been vandalized. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) had to replace windows that were broken hours after the signing. The office of Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) was vandalized a few days after.
It is a bad time for Obama. His charm and assured confidence has been the only factor keeping him from rock-bottom. But what has he done wrong?
In his defense, his time as president could not have come at a more inconvenient choosing. Never mind the fact that he is the first African-American president and its sole ramifications for America, but the responsibilities he faces could in fact be compared, in depth, to those of the founding fathers.
To begin with, there was the very tragic economic meltdown, the unnecessary war in Iraq and conflicts with Iran, and America’s soiled reputation in the international community.
Later, there were the uncoordinated bank bailouts, national health care debate, the oil spill and sudden concern for the national debt. All of these issues and more are on the plate of one man.
It has been decades since so much has needed dealing with by an American president, and it had to happen to him.
The answer to the new-found hatred stems directly from the economy. Obama wasted his first year on national health care which, though historic and helpful, only brought in more negative perceptions from the public and enemies from the Republican Party.
Had he spent that year making the economy his primary concern, he might have been able to make some friends in the GOP, which would help in a later vote—all the while gaining public praise for his efforts.
Instead the domino effect has occurred. In ignoring the most important aspect, he’s suffering from all of them. No doubt people would be less concerned about the national debt, like they were during the Bush and Clinton era, if they had jobs to feed their families.
The economic woes of America beget more insecurity and irrationality in people. The fantasies embroidering America such as “the American Dream” have implanted in the public a false reality, a psyche that nothing can go wrong.
Now that it has, people are lost. They’re going crazy. They are in need of a solution today and unfortunately, as anyone who has studied economics knows, it is not going to happen.
Instead they are placing their lost energy and time, usually spent on work, blaming Obama. Many have been placing their hopes in whatever, or whoever, may seem reasonable during this time, such as conspiracy theories, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Fox News. Guaranteed, if they had jobs, they wouldn’t waste their time listening to such nonsense.
Now Obama is facing the consequences. Republicans, who placed the United States in the economic crisis and molded the Constitution to suit their individual needs, will most likely be in the White House again. It is the tragic cycle of American politics.
The ideology of immediate gratification that is ingrained in the public will forever be manipulated by politicians until either they run out of money or pick up a book.
However, in the centuries that have passed and looking into the near future, it seems neither of those may be happening anytime soon. Hopefully it will before it is too late (i.e., President Palin).