Something has been nagging at me for a while. And usually when something is nagging at me during the quiet moments of my day, it means I need to blog about it. For the last few weeks I have been fighting the urge (fighting because saying things out loud, even to admit them to myself makes them real) to admit that Pres Obama is disappointing me. I feel like he’s letting me down, like he’s taken refuge inside the white house bunker recently, and left me out here in the cold by myself.

And then I was talking to my lovely friend Margaret this weekend about these exact sentiments and her fantasy about Obama finally giving the finger to the republican party (who now seem to be holding the government hostage to get their way), and the discussion changed to what happens on the internet. Because I would love to talk about how Obama is disappointing me, how the attitude he ran with, the attitude I voted for, is not the attitude he’s leading with. How he is coming off luke-warm in the press and how I haven’t seen his rally cry in his entire 2nd year. How I want him to succeed, how I still have a glimmer of hope, but how ultimately I’m feeling let down. But the internet creates a space for anonymity, for icky negative comments that don’t have anything to do with discussing these ideas, these opinions, but instead have all to do with stomping on someone else. Whether it be another commenter or me. Why do posts that not everyone agrees with create so much anger? And not just disagreement, but hostility? And not just on my blog, but across the board. Hate mail, aggressive comments, and trolls are everywhere. What happened to just being nice to people even if they don’t agree with you?

These are my questions today. In the future (or hell, even now) I may be wrong, or misinformed and I may be showing my ignorance in a public space. But I’ll be the first to learn and admit when I’m out of line, or need to update my facts so it’s ok to disagree with me, but it’s just not ok to threaten or call names or belittle, because that’s when people stop listening.

11 thoughts on “Politika”

  1. Hmmm…it might help if you told us what you expected from him? “Giving the finger to the Republican party” sounds nice, but how would you have him do that, policy-wise?

    1. That was a funny little visual I threw in there. 🙂 I just don’t feel like he’s leading, period. I don’t think this is about policy as much as it is about attitude, about presence, at about his current inability to demand any kind of respect. Like: Boehner had a press conference to demonize the president about not wanting to discuss policy and being bitchy about the new repubs that came into the house, etc after the last election, but Boehner actually canceled a meeting with the president to hold that news conference. Why isn’t this all over the press? Why does the Obama administration sit back and let themselves get smeared all over hell?

      1. Well I agree with that. He could stand to be a little more aggressive. But remember that just because he doesn’t project an aggressive attitude doesn’t mean his administration isn’t accomplishing a great many things. Blame him and his PR department for not delivering that information to the people in a more obvious manner.

        The battle between Obama and the Republicans is the classic battle between the geeks and the jocks. Geeks (Obama) have always had the intelligence and wisdom to achieve anything. What they lack is “presence,” the gravitas required to capture the people’s attention and command the credit they deserve. Jocks (Republicans) have always had those qualities in abundance and used it to craft the narrative that the American public runs with–no matter how factually incorrect.

        That’s how an Old Money Connecticut businessman (and son of a former President) can transform into a Texas Cowboy everyman who you’d “like to share a beer with.” That’s also how Republicans can lionize a B-movie actor as one of the Greatest Presidents Ever while demonizing Hollywood as a den of liberal elitism. And have most of America believe that

        Remember this as well: we’re only at halftime. Wait another month when the new, Republican-heavy Congress takes over and the President sets his sights on reelection. That’s when the “fight or flight” instinct will really come into play.

      2. I’m going to agree, and I think many would, that Obama ran with vigor that is now lacking in his presidency.

        One the topic of the administration sitting back and letting themselves get smeared to hell… I don’t know what else they are supposed to do. They did get in a bit of a fight with Fox, but I feel like that is a lose lose. Fox is going to make stuff up, be outrageous, and try to spread hate messages as best they can. The administration should keep trying to help the country instead of give attention to those idiots. BUT, those ideas and the media have way too much influence to ignore…
        I don’t know. I don’t envy Obama the presidency at this moment in history, though.

        1. That’s true, it totally is a lose lose and crazies are going to beleive other crazies no matter what. But! I feel a particularly frustrating silence on the administrations end. I don’t think he should start slinging mud with the media because – well, that’s just silly, but whenever he speaks in public I see a lot of dancing around the tough stuff, dancing around what I want him to just come out and say. Sigh… something has GOT to change though before re-election, even if I really don’t know what that something is at the moment.

  2. But the way, not to write your blog for you, but this should’ve been the discussion you establish in the original post. In fact, the post you did write can serve as a metaphor for Obama’s presidency thus far. I saw something compelling in the first paragraph: Lauren talking politics. You had the opportunity to take a stand and give a solid assessment on important issues facing this country. You have your own forum, an audience that listens to what you say, and the talent to craft a clear, definite opinion piece.

    Instead, you change course halfway through the post in deference to the trolls and other meanies on the internet. You leave us with no clear understanding of where you stand. All we can take away from this is that you’re only willing to put yourself as far out there as those who hate you will let you.

    You’re either a confused and disappointed blogger or far more brilliant than I’ve ever given you credit for.

    1. I think you might be trying to make this post something that I didn’t necessarily intend. Yes, I do think all the things that I wrote about Obama, and of course there is a lot more I could say. But this post uses my thoughts on Obama to touch on how forums, discussions, and comments function on the internet, how discussions somehow fizzle and die because of the urge to say whatever whenever without thinking about the consequences the internet somehow brings out in people.

      I want to get into the nitty gritty of discussion on various topics, not just politics, but I think most reasonable people are turned off by aggression they may insight.

      And maybe this is how Obama feels, but for fucks sake he’s the President of the United States – his job is to take the shit he receives and push it aside, his job is to make the hard decisions and I am wishing he did that with a little more gusto and confidence than I’m seeing currently.

      1. He may be the President, but he’s also human (and, perhaps more importantly, a politician). At the risk of sounding like some new-age holistic hippie, EVERYTHING’S CONNECTED, MAN! I don’t want beat my metaphor point to death, but you have to see how what you’re writing almost perfectly parallel what’s going on in Washington right now.

        Take the health care debate. A lot of good discussion on how to make health care work for the people got mangled by the “ZOMG COMMUNIST DEATH PANEL” noise and, like the final bill that was signed, never reached its full potential. We wish Obama would’ve stood his ground. We wish he would fight his detractors. We wish he possessed the moral fortitude not to let the noise dilute his agenda.

        Yet, when presented with the same opportunities on a much much smaller scale, we…do the exact same thing Obama’s doing.

        There’s noise like this everywhere–especially the internet. And as you’ve seen, that kind of noise can discourage anybody, from the most powerful President to the most humble blogger, from accomplishing what they want.

        So regarding the intended point of your post: I believe the noise, the anger, the stupidity will always be there. Not because internet anonymity provides a shied (though I’m sure that has something to do with it) but because people are jerks. Embrace it, use it as proof that you’re doing something right. And then fight through it to achieve your goals. We expect that behavior from our President. I also expect it from my writers.

  3. I dunno . . . I also say that it’s probably part of the job to put your head down and get things done. Sad, that PR matters for so much! As much as gusto and enthusiasm are appreciated and well-received by certain members of the constituency, those who aren’t aligned with the particular ideas wouldn’t be nearly as satisfied. This country’s politics are so polarizing anyway, a large part of the job is just . . . politics. That’s obvious, but do you know what I mean? Not fighting so hard in this area to get what you want in that area . . . and the small victories are often the ones that go unnoticed and unpublicized. I honestly don’t think you can win. And that’s not me being pessimistic, I don’t think — I think it’s just an honest reflection of how our government operates, regardless of which leader is in office.

Leave a Reply