Posted by: Audiegrl
Op-ed by Frank Schaeffer
Re: Health Care Reform;
President Obama: 1
Presidents are made great by horrible circumstances combined with character, temperament and intelligence. Like firemen, cops, doctors or soldiers, presidents need a crisis to shine.
Obama is one of the most intelligent presidents to ever step forward in American history. The likes of his intellectual capabilities have not been surpassed in public life since the Founding Fathers put pen to paper. His personal character is also solid gold. Take heart, America: we have the leader for our times. He’s just outworked and outsmarted the far right and the far left. The Tea party troglodytes are reduced to yelling racial epithets from the sidelines. The Lefty critics have egg on their faces.
I say this as a white, former Republican active on the Religious Right before I got disgusted with right wing hate and changed my mind in the mid-80s. (Something I write about in my memoir Crazy For God.) I say this as just another American watching his health care costs go stratospheric.
I say this as someone happy to have been called a fool for going out on a limb and declaring early in the primaries that, 1) Obama would win the nomination and then the election, and 2) that he was going to be amongst the greatest of American presidents.
You doubters beware. In November the Democrats will do much better than expected right now. You were wrong on health care. You are wrong about problems in November too. And while we’re at it: Obama is not in the “pocket of Wall Street.” He is not “betraying working America.” What you saw today you’ll see next in financial reform of banking laws. And you’ll also see the economy turn around.
Obama puts service ahead of ideology. He also knows that to win politically you need to be tough. He can be. He just has been. Ask the Republicans today!
This is a man who does what works, rather than scoring ideological points. In other words, he is the quintessential non-ideological pragmatic American. He will (thank God!) disappoint ideologues and purists of the left and the right. He’s already made them angry. And because he did that he just won a huge victory.
Obama has a reservoir of personal, physical courage that is unmatched in presidential history. Why unmatched? Take a look at the signs the Tea Party people carry. Take a look at the weapons they carry. As the first black president, Obama is in great physical danger from the seemingly unlimited reserve of unhinged racial hatred, and just plain unhinged ignorant hatred, that swirls in the bowels of our country. By stepping forward to lead, Obama has literally put his life on the line for all of us in a way no white president ever has had to do. His health care reform victory just made his life more dangerous. What personal risk have his critics taken? What courage was required to snipe from the sidelines?
Obama is the sober voice of reason at a time of unreason. He is the fellow keeping his head while all around him are panicking. Both the Left and Right not only blinked but ducked. Obama stood tall.
Obama brings a healing and uplifting spiritual quality to our politics at the very time when our worst enemy is fear. For eight years we were ruled by a stunted fear-filled mediocrity — Bush — who expanded his power on the basis of creating fear in others. Fearless Obama is the cure. He speaks a litany of hope rather than a litany of terror. Bush legalized torture. Obama just legalized health care for all. Which line would you rather stand in?
America is fighting its “Armageddon” in one fearful heart at a time. From the nutty Right we were told that Obama wanted to kill old people. From the nutty Left we were told Obama had “sold out to big pharma.” What nonsense! A brilliant leader with the mild manner of an old-time matter-of-fact country doctor soothing a frightened child is just what we need.
The fact that our “doctor” is a black man leading a hitherto white-ruled nation out of the mess of its own making is all the sweeter and raises the Obama story to that of moral allegory. Literally we have a president that is now a healer of millions hitherto uninsured.
Obama brings a moral clarity to his leadership reserved for those who have had to work for everything they’ve gotten and had to do twice as well as the person standing next to them because of the color of their skin. His experience of succeeding in spite of his color, social background and prejudice could have been embittering or one that fostered a spiritual rebirth of forgiveness and enlightenment. Obama radiates the calm inner peace of the spirit of forgiveness. Doubters from the left and right just look cranky by comparison.
A hundred years from now Obama’s portrait will be placed next to that of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Long before that we’ll be telling our children and grandchildren that we stepped out in faith and voted for a young black man who stood up and led our country back from the brink of an abyss.
We’ll tell them about the power of love, faith and hope. We’ll tell them about the power of creativity combined with humility and intellectual brilliance.
We’ll tell them that President Obama gave us the gift of regaining our faith in our country. We’ll tell them that we all stood up and pitched in and won the day. We’ll tell them that President Obama restored our standing in the world.
We’ll tell them that by the time he left office health care was reformed! We’ll tell them that our schools were on the mend, our economy booming, that we’d become a nation filled with green energy alternatives and were leading the world away from dependence on carbon-based destruction.
Remember our slogan as we fought for our candidate: “YES WE CAN”?
We just did!
Thank you Mr. President!
Frank Schaeffer is a writer and author of Patience With God: Faith for People Who Don’t Like Religion (or Atheism)