Yeah, the one with Michael Douglas, Martin Sheen, Annette Benning and Michael J Fox? Yeah, that one. Somehow that movie seems to resound with me now as I look at our current political situation.
Whether you voted for Obama or not, support/ed him or not, the fact is, something's wrong. President Obama is not the man we fell for, not the man we voted for, not the man we thought he was. And I'm not sure why. We could come up with reasons until we're numb, but will we ever know the truth? Doubtful. An old friend emailed me and she's decided everyone on the right are...right. That's he's neither a Republican nor a Democrat - but someone who's job it is to ruin America. She's starting to 'feel' a conspiracy.
I definitely won't go that far. *G* But I can't deny he's NOT the man I voted for. He wasted his first two years for reasons we can't fathom and now he's simply failing to show any leadership qualities at all.
So where does "American President" fit in here?
Well, first, there's a line in the movie as said by Michael J. Fox, that for me, explains exactly what's happening right now:
"People want leadership, Mr. President, and in the absence of genuine leadership, they'll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They're so thirsty for it they'll crawl through the desert toward a mirage, and when they discover there's no water, they'll drink the sand."
That pretty much says it all. President Obama is simply not giving us a leader we can follow, but his opposition? Oh yeah. Tons, even if most of us 'liberal's' consider the opposition to be a group of nutcases. But let's face it, when only the nuts are talking, when they're the only voices heard, they begin to sound sane. And if the nuts don't convince you, well, there are some very reasonable sounding Tea Party folks out there, like Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, or Rand Paul. Or even someone leaning so far to the right he's almost touching the ground; Rick Perry. All are talking at every opportunity - while our President simply repeats the same lame words over and over and over again. Words he's already turned upside down and deserted.
In the movie, there was another speech, this one given by Michael Douglas, who played the President. It came at the end of the movie and, with a few changes and updates, could easily be used right now to remind us all of what's at stake, what's been happening, and what a Democracy (or should I say, a Republic) really is. So yeah, I kind of tweaked it to fit 2011.
PS: If you'd like to read (or view) the original, you can go here, but meanwhile, here's the tweaked version:
"For the last several months, many Americans have jumped on the "Birther" bandwagon in order to discredit our President, not to mention comparing our President to evil, in league with our enemies and without character. For the most part, our President remained silent, unwilling to engage in their attacks on him, but he's been President for over two years and yes, he finally stepped up to the plate and fought back at a dinner where he roasted one of the loudest birthers, Donald Trump, with elegant humor. So yes, it could be said, without hesitation that being President of this country is entirely about character and Obama has had a few shining moments illustrating his.
Right now, we're filled to the brim with 'characters' - most of whom don't possess one iota of 'character' - but they're sure good with words. They've learned that if you say something enough times, and loud enough - it becomes fact - especially when no one else is arguing louder. So yes, the 'birther' issue is still alive and well - which proves better than anything could, that America isn't easy.
America is advanced citizenship. You've gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say, "You want free speech? Then let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil while he takes center stage and advocates at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours." You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can not just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your living rooms and our children's classrooms and then, then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.
Our President has known his opposition for years and so he's been operating under the assumption that they were reasonable and that bi-partisanship can work because history has shown this to be true. But when 2010 rolled in, he was faced with politicians belonging to a splinter group who'd decided that there was only one word Obama would hear from them: "No".
Still, it's possible he believed the moderates would prevail - but unfortunately, he was and is, wrong. So maybe he believes that the Tea Party, being such a small caucus, couldn't possibly have the numbers or power to sway the good Republicans from the right path to bringing this country back on balance, or that they siimply didn't get it. Again: wrong. They do get it and they're using it.
America has serious problems to solve and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, the Tea Party - as it's morphed into now - isn't the least bit interested in solving it. They're interested in two things, and two things only: making you afraid of it, and telling you who's to blame for it.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.
You gather a group of middle age, middle class, middle income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family, and American values and character, and then you tell them their President isn't an American. You continually ignore the proof, and then you wave photos of him with black rock stars, as if that's a bad thing, and you scream about patriotism, about being a good American (meaning WHITE) and you tell them this man, this non-American black man, is to blame for their lot in life. And then you go on television and call him the devil.
President Barack Hussein Obama has done nothing wrong except, perhaps, spent too much time trying to keep his job and not enough time doing his job, thus he's failed to find a way to fight the Tea Party. But there's still time. Time to stand up to his promises to protect the unions, public school teachers, improve our Health plan, stop the loopholes that allow the wealthy to avoid paying their fair share, end the Bush Tax Cuts once and for all and lobby for the safety of our natural resources.
We've got serious problems, and we need serious people and something drastic has to change because the Tea Party's fifteen minutes are up."
And if you need another reference - try The West Wing - a certain episode where the Republicans tried to hold up the budget - remember that one? Season 5, episode 8, called, appropriately enough, "Shutdown". So does life imitate art, or art imitate life? Did too many Republicans watch the West Wing and get their ideas? :) And too bad Obama didn't? Because in the episode, Bartlett lets the government shut down - and wins. Because sometimes life is about winning and who knows better than politicians that it's true?