Tuesday, February 20 2018 05:48 pm

100 days with President Obama

Well, I’ve shied away from either praising or criticizing our new President, for quite a few reasons.  One, while I’m interested in politics, over the last couple years, I’ve kept a more healthy distance from it.  Two, I think that this sort of 100 days analysis is somewhat ridiculous in general, but in this case especially because of the 8 years of virtually NO domestic policy under Bush.  Obviously, with a country gone ape-shit, Obama had a lot more on his plate than most of his modern predecessors.  Three, one thing you can actually say about the guy, whether or not his policies will have a lasting positive effect or not, is that he has kept several of his campaign promises… to close Guantanamo (more of a symbolic gesture with god knows how many other secret prisons we have across the globe), to pass his proposed stimulus package(s), and to attempt to earn back the respect of the international community.  He, in fact, has concentrated on the major problems he promised he would.  He also has, unlike Bush, planned a gradual step-down of force in Iraq.

That said, I’m not naive enough to simply assume that he has our best interests at heart, but I also have to admit that he’s probably doing a hell of a lot better than McCain would have.  And I personally am more comfortable with Obama over Hilary Clinton at the helm, as, she is more of a middle-of-the-road establishment career politician.  He is also a career politician, but there’s at least the aura of disgust with the status-quot  from Obama, whereas Hilary didn’t present as much of a dynamic shift in leadership, compared to the last 30 years of politics – Obama, on the other hand, seems to represent a major shift, and a new perspective on how the Presidency should be run.  He is indeed more personable, more open, more likely to admit when he is wrong… something that I can’t really say about any president from 1980 onward.

Yet, to this day, his detractors continue to demonize him, and for mostly baseless reasons.  The religious-right has really oozed with hatred and fear over what Obama represents to them, from him being a “secret Muslim” to, (and this one I heard PERSONALLY from a harsh critic – a family member) “OBAMA IS THE ANTICHRIST!”  No, I am not kidding, and if you’ve been paying attention, that accusation is not isolated to just a few whack-jobs.

Today I got a text message from an in law, relatively close to me, and I was disgusted.  He really thought this was funny:

“It was once said that a black man would be president when pigs fly.  Indeed, 100 days into Obama’s presidency, Swine flu.”  (Swine flew)

Yes, a somewhat clever pun, but the racial implications… You know, I always grew up believing that people were really equal in the eyes of “God” or whatever you want to call it.  My father – my step father, whom has been my father since I was 3, is Palestinian, as is his entire family, many of whom are now Naturalized American Citizens, including himself.  From an early age I LIVED diversity, I LIVED equality, I grew up with the right example, that’s for sure, and I thank my both of my parents for teaching me many valuable lessons about life along the way.  I grew up knowing tolerance and acceptance.  To me, there was never anything strange about my dad being Palestinian.  Yet, when I mentioned this to a cousin, another in-law, she nearly gasped with horror!  She actually LOOKED AT ME differently after I revealed that detail about my family and my father.

So, contrasting my upbringing with some of the things I hear, intolerant, disgusting, racist, religious-superior… GRRRRRRRR.. I get very frustrated just thinking about it, because it DOES NOT COMPUTE!  When I had my first taste of racism as a child, I was literally horrified.  I was playing with some friends of mine and my brother’s, who happened to be black, and some of our white friends saw this and started calling our black friends “Niggers.”  I didn’t even know what the fuck it meant, but by the reaction, I knew it was something bad, but I did not understand WHY my other white friends were so intolerant of a few black kids trying to play like everyone else.  It was how their parents taught them and I still to this day have a really hard time understanding how and why this hatred is passed on and how it’s so deeply ingrained in our society.. Our PLANET.  Our human race.

So, watching the Daily Show lately, I have had more than my fair share of ridiculous accusations flung toward Obama… and those old feelings come back.  I see that racist sickness in our politicians, our commentators, our news people…. And I ask myself WHY?  Why are people so ignorant and hell-bent on destructive behavior?  Why the tendency towards division?  It must be rooted somewhere!  It’s so absurd, yet so powerful, because it exists, in all its latent and not-so-latent ugliness, and it spreads like a virus.

For that reason I have a very hard time taking seriously any holier-than-thou asshole on Fox News or any other whack job in the news… No one will admit to racist thoughts and tendencies, because it would damn their careers, yet, there it is, it is manifested in their thoughts, their words and their actions.

Something that I’ve heard quite a lot lately, when I try to bring up the bias… “Well, dude, Obama got elected, racism is over!”


So, all this garbage being circulated through the media makes it hard to know where to start, where the level ground is when it comes to critiquing Obama, because it’s very hard to know whether someone is criticizing him because of their own deeply ingrained prejudices or not.

What is one to do?  Well, for starters, you can judge what he does, and the results that follow, and maybe attempt to shut out the “naysayers without a cause.”

On with it!  I know, I ramble…. So, here’s a couple areas where I feel he needs to do more, or do things differently… and yeah, you may ask yourself, who the hell is this gatekeeper jackass and why should I listen to him?  You don’t have to.  I’m fucked up just like you!  But I have opinions, and like any other human ego, there’s a desire to express them to the world at large, regardless of how few people actually read this thing (Hi MysticMuse!) thus far.

THE PATRIOT ACT… why is he not working to get congress to repeal it?  And if that doesn’t work, why not write one of those magical “executive orders” suspending it?  Are there people who still judge this piece of crap legislation by the name alone?  If so, then they need to start PAYING ATTENTION.

I really don’t understand why there isn’t more outcry over this issue.  It is the most insidious piece of legislation passed in the last 50 years in my opinion.

The other big issues I have: GEORGE W BUSH and RICHARD CHENEY.  Obama has denounced efforts to investigate the Bush Administration’s torture practices.  WHY?  I cannot tell you how much this frustrates me.  They are war criminals, and for Obama to say that they shouldn’t be prosecuted because they “made mistakes” is ignoring the facts… they didn’t just stumble into Iraq!  They didn’t just get wound up in their post 9/11 policy… 9/11 was the EXCUSE to go into iraq.

Despite this, I imagine George W Bush won’t be doing any inter-continental travel any time soon.  The rest of the world wants him and his administration tried for war crimes.  Who is Barack Obama to deny global justice?  He’s just a man, contrary to popular belief.  He is imperfect, and these issues I have brought up illustrate not only flaws in his views and policies, but a “look the other way” mentality, which I find unacceptable as someone who values the concept and power of justice.

To be continued…



5 Responses to “100 days with President Obama”

  1. mysticmuse Says:

    Hello Gatekeeper…

    Did you see Wanda Sykes do her thing at the White House Dinner
    for the Press and Hollywood glitteratti? Fab, totally Fab.
    I think she said it on Obama….and I semi-Quote:

    “George Bush …. he sure knows how to leave town.
    I mean,
    we haven’t heard anything from him …he’s just Quit.
    He left like a house guest who broke sumthin in yer house
    and hurry get outa there b’fore you find out.

    You look at yer beautiful vase, yer like ‘what the heck? …
    Who broke my vase?’

    I gotta say he broke a lotta stuff, sir. He broke a Lotta Stuff.
    I mean, you thought you found a New Home.
    You got a Fixer Upper, huh?
    An there’s a lotta things that need to be fixed.

    The Country givin him grief about the Dog.
    The Animal Rights people go…
    ‘Why didn’t he get a Rescue Dog?….’

    Look….the man has to rescue a Country that’s
    been abused by its previous owner.

    Let him have a fresh start with the dog. ”

    Personally, I think he’s done a Lot already. I have great
    trust in my ability to read people, and I read him as
    genuine….he’s the real thing.
    He Will do the right thing, and he’s smart enough
    (oh thank you God…Intellegence at last)
    to ignore the idiosies of the Rightwing Desperados.

    They are So desperate, they’ve prattled on for 3 days
    cause he wanted mustard on his burger. And not just
    everyman’s mustard….nooo…..he had the elitist gaul
    to ask for spicey mustard….or a dark mustard…..
    or poupon…. what a Snob! He’s no man of the people!

    I heard some female radio commentator literally
    screammmming “what kind of man doesn’t want
    ketchup on his burger?????…I mean,
    what kind of man is this????? ” …freaking out!!!

    Some news stations were playing that old Poupon
    ad, where a Rolls pulls up next to another Rolls, and asks
    ‘Excuse me….(Brit accent)…do you have any
    Grey Poupon..?’

    THAT is how DESPERATE they are. It’s Embarassing.
    Grand Old Party? how bout the GOF Grand Old Farts.

    Just like his decision to Not release the Torture photos,
    because it would jeopardise our troups..good call!
    Transparancy is one thing, but done correctly.

    Time and Trust…….


  2. gatekeeper Says:

    You know, I heard it from that angle – the decision to not release photos of detainee abuse in order to prevent possible retribution on our troops. I do understand it, I really do. If, say, my brother was in Iraq or Afghanistan, and he had absolutely nothing to do with the abuses, I wouldn’t want him to be a target for retribution, and from that angle, it is easier to understand. I don’t know many people, personally, who serve in the military. My older brother did, but that was before 2001.

    I suppose the way I feel, on first look, is disgusted. I value truth, and at first glance, my thought process was “how is it going to help our troops if we conceal the truth and don’t own up to it?”

    I still believe that there is more than one valid side to the story. But I still can’t help but go back to the thought – “how does it help us to deny what happened, instead of admit it in its fullness, and in absolute regret?”

    This country is in denial, yes it is, and it is a very tenuous balance, trying to protect those who serve us, and facing up to our mistakes. I don’t necessarily think those two things are mutually exclusive, you know? I think part of the healing process MUST be recognition of the facts, and through that recognition comes true regret, and hopefully, some kind of repentance – not in the man-to-god sense, but in the sense that we’ve done something that we have to come to terms with, and the only way to heal ourselves and our victims is through honesty and right action.

    But again, I can see the other angle. It is just harder for me to be okay with a course of action that delays true justice – and true justice can only be had through honesty, through a full recognition and apprehension of what we have done.

    That is hard for me to get past… Time and trust is right, but I always look back at this nation’s past crimes, and we always see the need to protect those who were involved before coming to grips with what they’ve/we’ve done. And in the process, we forget, as a nation. Those scars, while forgotten for now, have to surface some time. But when? When do we decide it’s OK to be honest? When is it ok to tell the truth?

    The big lesson our government learned from Vietnam was “the more we see, the more we care.”

    Since then, we’ve only seen a milquetoast, ultra-filtered version of the realities of war, and, not surprisingly, as a result, our population has become absolutely complacent about war. When people were able to see the true ugliness of war, they were willing to stand up against it. Oh, sure, we have a vocal opposition, but what does it mean anymore when the truths the angry ones are espousing are ignored because they can’t be readily verified on the boob-tube? Vietnam brought the ugly truths home – literally.


  3. gatekeeper Says:

    Oh yeah, and I love Wanda Sykes, she’s hilarious! I didn’t hear/read what she said until you posted it… She’s awesome.

    And… speaking of the Correspondents dinner, I know it’s an oldie, so-to-speak, but did you see Stephen Colbert’s 2006 speech? WOW.



  4. mysticmuse Says:

    hey…..did not see that……can I stiill find it on Utube? hope so….just Love Colbert, and love the hilarious fact that a survey showed that a majority of conservatives take him as a Serious Conservative! hilarious!

  5. gatekeeper Says:

    Haha! I did NOT know that. I figured everyone was in on the joke by now! I did read an article where he says he sees his show as an ongoing sketch, and he’ll play it as long as it’s still fun. I love that!

    If you look up “Stephen Colbert Correspondents Dinner” you’re bound to find it on Youtube.

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