Sunday, August 07, 2011

A serious question before us

Here it is:

What Happened to Obama?

It's by Drew Westen, a professor of psychology at Emory University and the author of The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation.

Gosh, I'm truly not exaggerating when I say this article is profoundly insightful in answering the question posed by the title. Finally, I've found something that's helping me make sense of it all.

Here's just a small bit:

The president is fond of referring to “the arc of history,” paraphrasing the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous statement that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” But with his deep-seated aversion to conflict and his profound failure to understand bully dynamics — in which conciliation is always the wrong course of action, because bullies perceive it as weakness and just punch harder the next time — he has broken that arc and has likely bent it backward for at least a generation.

When Dr. King spoke of the great arc bending toward justice, he did not mean that we should wait for it to bend. He exhorted others to put their full weight behind it, and he gave his life speaking with a voice that cut through the blistering force of water cannons and the gnashing teeth of police dogs. He preached the gospel of nonviolence, but he knew that whether a bully hid behind a club or a poll tax, the only effective response was to face the bully down, and to make the bully show his true and repugnant face in public.

In contrast, when faced with the greatest economic crisis, the greatest levels of economic inequality, and the greatest levels of corporate influence on politics since the Depression, Barack Obama stared into the eyes of history and chose to avert his gaze. Instead of indicting the people whose recklessness wrecked the economy, he put them in charge of it.

I do encourage you to click through and read the entire piece. It's a bit long so make sure you have a few minutes. Worth every word, however.


  1. I honesty think Obama is doing as well as anyone possibly could under the circumstances. I think he is at heart an idealist who has been forced to be a pragmatic realist. The debit crisis reminds me of the story from the Bible about King Solomon and his wisdom. (1 Kings 3:16-28) The story is about two women (Republicans and Democrates) who both give birth around the same time. One night one of the mothers rolls over and kills her baby by accident. Then she switches babies and pretends that it was the other mother's fault. The next morning the mothers fight over the baby (the economy/the American people ) and the problem is presented to the King. He suggests that they cut the baby in half so each mother can have a part of him (the baby). Then one woman cries out and says that the other woman can have the baby. King Solomon then figures that the woman who would give up (compromise)the baby to save its live is the real mother and the baby is given to her.

  2. I really enjoyed reading this article; thanks for sharing the link!


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