Obama-to-date, Never has more been expected in less time, with fewer resources, under greater scrutiny

or: How’s he doing so far?

I have been putting off this piece for a while because I have wanted to hold off criticism until President Obama reached either a key decision or his one year mark, whichever came first. Unlike many of my opposing party opponents I have fought hard to reserve judgment, giving Obama a chance to begin to get his head around the true scope of all of the issues that faced his administration from day one. Sadly we have come to the ‘key decision’ moment as of Tuesday with the troop surge in Afghanistan, and now I feel we can rightfully look back at his track record and begin to cast a vote, as a supporter, on what direction I feel that we are moving in; at this point we can now piece together the puzzle of what Obama may intend with his administration, and the manner in which he is coming to, and executing, the courses of action his administration is enacting. From the controversial ‘public option’ and flawed ‘cash for clunkers’ program, to his ‘Bush Doctrine’ surge approach in Afghanistan, and doomed-from-the-start decision to bail out car makers and to a lesser extent the lending and banking market, Obama seems to be garnering little favor within his own party, across the aisles, or in the public sector, with every decision he makes.

Barack Obama basically campaigned on the same platform that every party opposing the presiding party does, more change and less of the same. There was nothing very different in his campaign than any other candidate may have spoken of. What set Obama apart was his rhetoric about transparency, ending the war, and better living conditions in America for the middle class. He spoke of lowering taxes, saving the economy, putting people back in to jobs and ending the kind of things we had become accustomed to under Bush. One of the biggest things, to me, was his willingness for open debate before massive bills were set in motion; periods of time where the public could weigh in and really get a sense of what was going on. Many of these things, and of the myriad of others, have either failed to come to fruition or are stalled in action.

First I want to address one situation where he seemed to have the best of intentions and caused a firestorm of controversy, the “cash for clunkers program.” It seemed innocent enough, give Americans a credit for a new car if they brought in an old vehicle that was less safe and fuel efficient than what was on the market today. This was seemingly a great concept, an innocuous situation for Americans to upgrade to a new car. The idea was two-fold, get older, fuel inefficient cars off the road, improving emissions, and to give the car market, which was floundering, a much needed boost. I think it was more than two fold though in the down side. What it did was get a lot of cheap cars, that could have been paid for in cash for people or young drivers to have as first or alternative cars. Then it also got a lot of people deeper in to debt taking on a car payment that they might not really be able to afford, and certainly did not have before, further straining the budget of Americans. Lastly it had one last, unforeseen outcome, the most popular car sold as a cause of the program…Toyotas.

The program had good intentions, a program to improve safety and emissions while boosting the economy, which is not a bad idea. The result of putting struggling Americans deeper in to debt for something they truly did not need by dangling an irresistible deal in front of them seems to really further corner us in to difficult debt to income ratios. This coupled with the job market continuing to fail, after the program closed, has probably resulted in a lot of missed payments and repossessions crushing many of the people that thought they were getting a great deal, blinded by 4,500 bucks. The program was wildly popular, almost too popular, and resulted in great criticism of its planning and execution, but it never exceeded the approved funds Obama requested, only the initial investment after it went too well. As we will see, this lack of thought of the repercussions of his ideas in how they affect the middle-class American long term is symptomatic of a slight disconnection in what we really need, not what he thinks we want.

One of the largest decisions, and one of the first, was the all-too-unclear bailout program to keep large industry and banking afloat in a terrible economic crisis. This is a massive, complicated, and unfinished issue with a long time to go before we can really judge the effects. This spending is still going on with more money to go out, industries just starting to see the effect it has had, and so many ways of looking at it my head spins just trying to tackle the lot of the issues. As complicated as it is, I think there are a few clear facts I can sift through. We have, to date, spent about 3 trillion dollars, total, according to CNNMoney.com, 73 billion of which has been paid back. This 3 trillion is only part of the total 11 trillion that was approved, but so far the repayment has only been about 2.4% of what we shelled out.

I did not want to go in to the private sector and buy up GM, did not support it one bit. I think that the government should not really own, with my tax dollars, any assets of a private corporation that has failed to compete with a good business plan. I know this is controversial, but getting bailed out only keeps bad companies afloat where new ideas, business models, and smarter men and women could step up and run things right. You cannot give money to a failing company and expect the same people who ran it in to the ground to make better choices. This is the definition of insanity, to do the same thing repeatedly and expect a different outcome. Even despite our best efforts companies still claimed bankruptcy! So we threw money at them, and wouldn’t you know it, failing companies that were making bad decisions made more bad decisions; gee wilickers.

I can kind of see the need to bailout car makers, they are a huge part of the American economy and employ tens of thousands of Americans on living wage salaries, so to let them fail would put a lot of people on the street quickly. So I see the move to give them operating capital to absorb toxic assets and market share losses. Where the bailouts lost me was capitalizing the likes of AIG and Fannie Mae directly without providing relief to the people that were struggling to pay these people off. I agree completely with an idea Jon Stewart mentioned on more than one occasion, to send those funds to the people who could then give it to the companies. Look, if I got a check for $15,000, you bet your ass I was sending 90% of that to those people I owed money to. I would pay off every credit card and cut huge chunk out of the principle balance on my student loans. As a result I have felt relief on my monthly expenses, cut down on my debt to income ratio, and the lenders got their money anyway. In this scenario everyone wins, not just the industry, but the people who needed it. As it stands I am still crazy in debt, the economy is still struggling, and no one has won.

The other concept I liked with the likes of paying off the banks and helping the American people in the process would be for the government to have taken that money they provided with the condition that the funds be spread out across the board at 10% of the principle balance on every loan or credit card. The money now goes directly to the company and I still feel the relief. My monthly payments go down, the industry now has liquid assets again, and we all win in this scenario as well. Obama didn’t need to send every American a check, but the effects of that money, those billions and trillions that have gone out to support the companies should have had a direct effect on those that fuel the economy, the people. The amount of money I owed, my monthly payments, or my debts completely should have disappeared when, now, not only my payments were going to the lenders, but my taxes I paid the government, were going to the lenders. I was double and triple paying Fannie Mae! This is symptomatic of a much greater issue this country’s people face, industry trumps people. The government is quick to support the industry, to keep the machine going, without any of the effects or cash going directly to us, the Americans who work to make this country move, those of us that are working and are paying taxes.

So here we are coming to the economy as a whole, something I won’t even begin to try and dissect in any manner other than philosophically. To be honest I really don’t get the minutia that comes with being an economist, so I am not one, but I do think that I can speak on some ideals we seem to hold to, despite the failing efforts they produce every day. The stance I take is that there needs to be some form of regulation, especially with the money we poured in to it, and the companies that got are money, we get to decide how it gets spent. I am disgusted at the news of massive bonuses with my tax dollars, you failed you blood sucking bastards, I was taught that bonuses are for successes, and you have had NONE! I also think that a free market can be only so free before corruption and greed cloud the eyes of everyone in it. Investors, quick money guys, and those that ignored the signs of failure and denied that growth would end, should not be allowed to continue to work without severe regulation and oversight to secure that it does not happen again.

As far as I can tell the money these people have gotten has been abused, misspent, and in some cases has disappeared without explanation. To the limit of my understanding the market is getting better, but a lot of industries are still slowing drowning or are gaining little ground on where we once stood as a relatively stable country. The President just started handing out blank checks without many, or any strings. When you give a ‘loan’ like this with money that isn’t yours to people that fucked the real earners of said money, you had better have a ton of strings. You cannot leave these screw ups to their own devices as you have given them a get out of jail free card; there is going to be the same orgy of misuse and BS that got them to the point they needed my, our, help. Regulation in the free market is necessary. When you take your dog out in public you have to put them on a leash because it is for their safety if they get too excited and dart in to traffic, and the safety of others as they may end up incidentally or accidentally hurting someone. This is simple civic responsibility and this kind of basic regulation, even those 20 foot retractable leashes, is necessary for the free market big dog to avoid horrible tragedies as the one we are trying to overcome.

Health care reform was a massive platform Obama spoke from. He wanted affordable health insurance for all Americans. This is quite vague but it is basically what he campaigned on. However, the reform he is putting forward is far from what he promised, intended, or will even get, as this thing makes its way to a vote. There are many items that he should have included, he said would be included, but has failed to come through on. One of the major items he campaigned on was passing the Freedom of Choice Act, the lack of reproductive health care at the ‘heart’ of the act, and among many others the importing of prescription drugs and a list of items pertaining to the elderly and those on Medicare, all of which aren’t in there. What he has put forth, as far as I can tell, is such a watered down version of what he promised that it barely resembles what he set out to get, and it still won’t garner enough support to pass. With this bill he has failed to address a lot of key issues, the debate of the insurance companies failing upon passing, the ridiculous ‘death panel’ phrase which is total bunk, and the idea of rationed care and killing your grandmother have made this an outlandish cartoon despite the fact that it is not nearly as partisan as he would like.

So many issues in relation to health care and insurance companies stems from people’s fears. I think they are largely unfounded and apocalyptic at best. Far too many think that the public option is anything but an option, as if setting this forth would force people to take the health care. His optional plan is just that, an option, you do not have to use this health care. Private industry will be just fine, if it were to pass, simply based on the fact competition is good for the marketplace; this is the sole reason the free market works as it does. If there was no competition there would be a monopoly by one company, and a monopoly is bad for consumers since they can do what they want and you have no choice but to take it. Competition drives down prices and improves services and goods because they are fighting for your business. Do you think insurance companies operate in a way different from this model? They fight for your business just as hard as any TV maker fights to sell you the best product at the cheapest price. It is in the interest of survival of a company where the customer wins.

Where does this fear come from? Well it may come from news outlets sensationalizing ideas and rumor as they twist small words and phrases in to the death nell for grandma. The news industry is where the average American is going for their info as there are few, if any, Americans that actually sit down and read the health care bill. This breeds ignorance, a lack of fact finding on our own, and what happens is the news outlets feed us what they think we should know, scaring all of us who don’t know any better. This nation is scared, and it is easy to whip us in to a frenzy right now because we are all so ignorant, coupled with a blind trust of our media outlet of choice, that we can be easily imprinted with suggestion. It is not totally the fault of news media, it is also our general ignorance, or warped misinterpretation, of history and true definitions of things like ‘communism’ and ‘fascism’ that let those around us convince us that the ‘public option’ is the linch pin in Obama’s quest to realize Mussolini’s Italy.

I love the idea of health care reform. I don’t have health care, so you can put as many bureaucrats as you want between me and a doctor, as long as I eventually get to see the doctor. I am one of those who need to see a doctor, a dentist, and an oncologist, because I could you a tune up, but I am also one that thinks that there may be another way to get me there than those that are being presented as the clear cut options. My feeling is that we can work within the system we have with some regulation, incentive, subsidizing, and careful analysis that can insure everyone, strengthen competition, and NOT provide a public option (government health care) at all.

My first idea is kind of three fold in that there are multiple items that need to be enacted, and they can be done so incrementally, while still keeping the system relatively unchanged. The first step in my process, let’s call it ‘Plan B’, is to go to insurance companies and decide which policy fits for you as an individual or family. You decide how much coverage you want and with which insurer you want to do business. The caveat is that you must get quotes from three different insurance companies to find the best deal. The legwork on this front is done by the people wanting health insurance just as if they were going to buy it themselves. The second step is done by the government as they determine what your financial assistance needs will be. This can be determined in the same manner as section 8 housing; taking in to account your income, tax bracket, average monthly expenses, assets, credit score, number of dependents, etc. The government decides how much assistance you qualify for; in some cases this amount you qualify for may be more than the policy you want/need, so you may be able to even get better coverage than you shopped for, and for others the short fall of the difference between assistance determined and cost of the policy is then covered by the individual.

What I think Plan B provides is many positive things. Number one, there is no government interference. They simply determine what coverage amount you qualify for and then, if you want more coverage, you cover the difference. It also allows for the consumer to shop the best deal and get whatever coverage they want, in whatever configuration. Thirdly it works within the current system, actually increasing the customer base of insured Americans and therefore making those in the industry richer without cheap government competition. The competition will continue to be between insurance companies, which will benefit consumers with better, cheaper services as the competition for dwindling amounts of new customers gets fierce. Imagine how hard they will fight for the last uninsured American, they’ll give him the moon!

This plan works within the constraints of the current model. It also hinges on Americans that pay their taxes, so illegal immigrants without SS#’s or tax returns can’t get the service, which will please the group of people that fear insuring non-Americans. No one can argue that it does limit government meddling in this sector of the free market, increases insurance company revenue (imagine the stock increases), and provides the American people with assistance as well as the option to get more coverage than the government determines you can be afforded. In all I think it eliminates the public option, the most feared and heated topic of the current bill, and will probably cost the US government less than the current plan, as well as insuring every American on some level. As far as I can tell this might be the best course of action we could take to please everyone.

I do have another option, similar to the last, but definitely different enough to warrant calling it ‘Plan C’. This is the option where the government gives tax breaks and incentives to companies that reach out and provide a service of their own on state levels to insure all Americans. A bit more ambiguous and open to criticism, the government would placate those insurance companies willing to lower premiums and extend a health care plan of their own designed on a sliding scale based on criteria similar to that the government would use in Plan B. So the insurance company determines that you should be able to afford a specific amount, and will credit a portion, or all of it to you, the consumer. If you want further coverage then you can buy it by spending the difference. So if the insurance companies design their own, low income/uninsured plan on a sliding scale/case-by-case basis, then the government will provide them with tax breaks and maybe subsidies on more expensive procedures, in return for taking the initiative to insure all Americans.

There are pros and cons to this one though, that are not present in Plan B. The incentives mentioned hinge on the fact that insurance companies that want these breaks would not be allowed deny coverage or discontinue coverage for anyone…ANYONE. They can no longer break policies or play the little games to deny coverage or drop policies, without government oversight. This means that once insured, if the companies want the incentives, they need to prove that they are humanitarian in nature and will not leave anyone in the lurch for any reason but non-payment. Also, incentives would stipulate that lapsed plans based on non-payment are still effective until 6-straight months of non-payment based on hardship. If someone loses their job then the insurance company covers them for up to six months, allowing a grace period of coverage for a person to get the means to continue paying, and still being covered in the interim in case of incident. In addition it does allow for some fraudulent companies to create loop-hole filled policies for these new customers, but with regulation of the industry I think we can avoid this.

As I said, Plan C is a bit more complicated and malleable as to exactly how ‘need’ is determined, the amount of government oversight, and as to how these plans can be expedited in to existence, but I think it still is better than a government run health care system as it continues to work within the constraints of the current system while insuring many, and with the proper amount of oversight, can keep them insured. Both plans B&C are not without flaws, but if Obama were to present either one I think he would be pleasantly surprised as to the amount of support he may get.

The insurance and prescription drug lobbyists are all too powerful and influential in Washington. I would go as far as to say that they are scary for politicians to cross, even for the good of the people. But if we can convince them to play ball and be the shysters they are while helping the people, then they may not even realize that they are doing a good thing, going along with it given that either plan is more money for them and minimal government interference. Can you even imagine a world where every citizen of the US is insured through a private insurance company? It is total market saturation for the insurance companies, what’s not to love about that Obama? Whatever does come out of the health care reform, it will not be Obama’s vision, or anyone’s for that matter, but I think we can get a lot closer to the idea of ‘every man, woman, and child’ being insured if we work to reform, not overhaul from scratch.

Unlike these past topics that have been addressed in some manner, for good or ill, there is one section of the population that has been largely, if not entirely, ignored, the gay community. Obama during his campaign was a champion of the people and a lot of those people were gay and lesbian. He got massive support and endorsements form the national and local organizations working for gay rights on different issues. To date though, Obama has done nothing for them, except reassure them that change is coming at a dinner they held in Washington, coupled with a rally, some months ago. Obama had, really, three major platforms for the gay community, basically giving them everything they wanted from a ‘rights’ perspective.

Obama said he would repeal the ever fiery policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”. This policy has seen hundreds of gay men and women booted out of the military; some from positions as invaluable as translators in the middle east to men and women on the ground doing the fighting and dying. This policy has undermined the very status of the soldier, fighting for the country and freedoms that they don’t even have, while trying desperately to hide their identity in utter danger for the likes of you and me. Obama also spoke of ‘bullying’ states in to treating same-sex couples with full equality to all of the same rights in family and adoption laws. Basically, every right a heterosexual couple has, which would be a huge step forward for this community and this country. Third major platform was a big one, to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act which opens up all of the same federal rights that heterosexual couples have, to every civil union and legally recognized union in the gay community.

These three things alone would be a great milestones for this country, but taken as a whole, if he accomplished all three of these campaign promises would place the gay community at nearly eye-level and give them an openness and security to truly pursue happiness in this country for the first time in their history. Imagine not being able to marry the person you love, or being able to visit them in the hospital, or being able to adopt a child, or even just be open about who you are at your core. Can you even fathom having to hide a big part of you while you die for the rights of this country, some of which don’t even extend to you? No, you can’t, unless you are gay, and then I am preaching to the fabulous choir. Any one of these items would be great, Obama, just pick one. DADT could end tomorrow, DOMA could be done quickly, and pressure on the states would take time, but repealing DOMA would definitely open up the flood gates at some state levels.

Not one of these has been addressed in any real manner. All of them are ‘stalled’ or ‘not yet rated’ according to Politifact.com; not yet rated means he hasn’t done anything at all to rate on the subject. The White House is not using strong language on the subject, deciding instead to push those decisions ‘down the road’ as the President has ‘a full plate’. Well no shit, he is the president, his plate will forever be full. There will never be a time in any president’s tenure where they will be bored, there is always multiple things to do, multi-tasking is the life’s blood of a presidency. A full plate is no excuse, it would not take much time to draft legislation to repeal these laws and them file them with congress for a vote. The amount of effort is less than the health care legislation and requests of fund for bailouts. In comparison these little things are weekend projects, there is little to do. Hell, we’re not even writing new laws, we’re just erasing old ones, it could not be simpler, and yet nothing is done. Good luck getting re-elected if nothing is done on the front of gay rights before your next campaign.

One area where I think Obama has shined is reaching out to the world and repairing bridges to create at least the illusion that we again want to work to create a better world over all. Obama has visited more foreign leaders and countries than any other president in history in his first nine months in office. His missions of good will and garnering friendship throughout the world are a testament to his willingness to create a stronger America through diplomacy and shared interests. Now I don’t care how low he bows or what you may criticize are his follies in these visits, he has yet to throw up on anyone, and he has spoken of creating lasting relationships and even human rights in places like China. Obama has done a great deal to show his appreciation for international foreign policy, and he has to, we owe a lot of people a lot of money, especially the aforementioned China. Our debt to other countries as they have financed much of the work we have done to repair this nation and fund our wars has garnered a need for him to travel and sit face to face with the people we owe billions to. So as much as his visits are of good will, they are really for selfish reasons of working with nations to whom we owe a favor and a deepening debt.

Though these trips have an ulterior motive in them more often than not, his work with the UN and other international agencies is not without merit. His trip to Copenhagen was much for the pledge to limit emissions, and he has spoken on more than one occasion against nuclear programs in hostile countries as well as measured criticisms of bunk elections and human rights violations. Obama has done more to be vocal on an international level than many before him, which is both a blessing and a curse. One could argue that he is simply trying to garner favor in lieu of actually doing anything specific. He is out there, jet setting the globe, to position himself to be Andy Taylor in Mayberry as he works to squash terrorism. Really, in essence it may be a simple rebranding of the same agenda, he seems to be trying to get support on being such a ‘good’ guy. But I feel it is more a genuine hope that as we meet and understand one another, a face to face promise or meeting gets him a support on subjects that may earn him a sneer and hesitation if he were less accessible, and this seems to be part of the legacy he wants to leave; a President of the US in service to not only his country, but those that agree to conditional help in times of crisis.

This brings us right to the reason for this piece, the heart of the matter as it were when I began writing this thing three hours ago, Afghanistan. Now I have refrained, to date, from writing even a single piece on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan because I feel it is for far greater minds than mine to contend with. I feel that in my short life of 25 years I have neither the experience to draw on, or the scope of first hands accounts of watching a war unfold, to truly speak as even a moderate authority on the subject of our current predicament. Though I research, read, and watch documentaries, on many conflicts and scandals of the past, I feel that my opinion is that of a true idiot savant and is taken with nary a grain of sand. I do, however, feel that this damn incursion in the middle east has gone on long enough, and the situation we are in is our fault in the first place, so we do have some responsibility for cleaning it up; but it simply is not that simple.

I tire of writing this piece, it has gone on too long and has covered far too many subjects, but I need to press on as we are now getting to the most important part, the climax, as it were. There are two major, driving forces that have led us to the quagmire we find ourselves in at the moment. I won’t go over how we got here from day one at 9/11, it has been milled through far too much already. The basic cause was a thirst for blood, we were offended by the audacity of the attack and we wanted revenge. Revenge is no way to start a war…wait, I said I wouldn’t do this, so I’m not. The first driving force is that we will never win. There, I said it, so let it sink in. Not only will we never win, but we can’t ever win. We are fighting religious zealotry with diplomatic and military force, one does not connect to the other. You cannot eliminate terrorism that is born of a misuse of a religious doctrine unless you eliminate the religion…and that sends us right back to the Inquisition, or worse, the Crusades. That is not our stance after all, we are all about religious freedom, so let’s face the fact that as long as these different peoples exist, and we, the US, exists, they will hate us and plot. It even goes to deeper issues of the holy land, chosen people, racial suppression, as well as a control of regional resources. We can never hope to end the fighting unless we want to just nuke the place and start over, for as long as there are generations being born, there will be those that take things too far.

This is what this is all about anyway, taking things too far. We have been at this thing called the “War on Terror” for eight bloody, intractable years with no end in sight. While I am here, I think I have said this before, but I’m saying it again, you cannot win a war on a ‘noun’. A war on the feeling and weapon of ‘terror’ is like declaring a ‘war on sadness’ or a ‘war on happy’, a losing battle with no clear enemy or foundational strategy. What now, oh yes, the second driving force, it was fucked up when we got here, and we only fucked it up worse every time we’ve left. Think about it. Corrupt Karzai is a man of our making in Afghanistan, and little known fact, we put Saddam Hussein in power! We appointed him, or at least created the situation where he could take power. Follies of this kind on our part, backing the wrong ponies, goes all the way back to Vietnam at least, maybe further, and span the globe.

The middle east, every time we have touched it, is worse off than before we showed up and our activities in, and occupation of, those countries has only fueled anti-american sentiment among the populous. As far back as the Afghan-Russian war, or Kuwait, et al, we have really just messed it up more than need be. Every time it seems we back the wrong horse as well, creating terrible situation that are only different, not better, than the last one. We really owe this region an apology, if it weren’t for all the oil and money in the region we really would never have shown up, but Allah put you on top of our God’s oil, so we gotta get us some. Our meddling has only made things worse, from providing arms, to removing governments, we have made one misstep after another, like we have so often in the past. I would argue that our last great foreign policy decision was crushing the third reich, and we had to level whole countries in the process to do it.

Our involvement overseas is happening, no matter how much screwing up we’ve done, we’re here now, and motives be damned, we need to figure out how to relatively stabilize the region enough so we can get out. Obama’s speech was just like every other president’s war speech, and far too close to Bush’s for my liking. So I’m not gonna break it down, it’s been done, check a website. But I will comment that 30,000 is the exact amount of troops Bush, I mean Cheney, sent to Iraq during the surge. I guess it worked ok, so Obama is doing the same. One good thing is a time table, we cannot afford financially, or through the cost of life, to fight a protracted war so I appreciate a final date. Obama is following through on his campaign promise he made to redirect troops and resources to Afghanistan after he took office. After careful consideration and what seems to be a very measured approach, he is doing so with naysayers on all sides of him.

This is typical, the republicans are criticizing a democratic president when he is doing the same…exact…thing…Bush did, literally down to the number of exactly 30,000 troops, and he still can’t win with these people. I see the wisdom in Obama’s move, let’s get the initial goal accomplished, quell an Al Qaeda uprising in the Pakistani/Afghani border region, give the Afghani government a trained fighting force and a foot hold in their country, and then bring our boys home after beating the bajeezas out of what may be left of the terrorist networks we let get out of hand. I can see this, and I appreciate him trying to get out of Iraq and trying to finish the job in Afghanistan, and I even more greatly appreciate that in his speech he never said the word ‘win’, because we cannot and in all actuality we never would or will, win. This is a losing battle simply based on the fact that kids will grow up to be extremist and we can’t be wiping out generations of kids, so they will be back and better than ever, eventually. Shit, kids own AK-47’s, this mixed with shi’ite/Suni & Jewish/Muslim hatreds are going to breed some seriously badass, bat shit crazy SOB’s. Period. All we can do is kill who is around now and reload for when those kids hit puberty.

I know this seems like a defeatist attitude, but I am simply a realist and the war and bloodshed in that region will continue long after we have left, and gone back in, and left and gone in again, and then probably still be going on after we go in again and limp out one more time. The cycle of violence and hatred will never be broken because the fight is not just between us and the extremists. They declare war on everyone, so they fight amongst one another, against countries, religious peoples, racial groups, etc. They care not for our involvement, if we leave it just means they have more bombs for the markets they would have used on our humvees, so no, I am not optimistic about building a lasting democracy in the middle east. There is simply too much for us to contend with, and even if we kill every single ‘terrorist’ we cannot shoot racism, we cannot bomb prejudice, and we just can’t eliminate the threat of battling for the holy land. I don’t expect you to win Obama, I expect you only to get us out one day, because no republican or democrat can command a military to turn back the clock on more than 2,000 years of blood soaked sand, and it’s not our place to try.

Indeed. Ten pages later and now we are here, together, both exhausted and a little flustered by this spine-jarring journey from one wretched idea to the next. If you are still reading this then I sincerely hope you got something out of it, if not then I am sorry, you just wasted a portion of your life on me and my screed; there are no refunds! It is not my contention here that I know better than Obama, or that I don’t support him, it is simply that I disagree with the execution of certain acts and policies that have had, what I believe, were foreseeable consequences that seemingly no one saw in the planning. This man was given an impossible task with hopes of a large portion of this country weighing heavily on his shoulders even before he took office. In no way do I think he has failed as a President, he has plenty of time to address many more issues and bring this country in a better direction. What is next for America only Obama knows, I think I see a glint in his eye like a half-mad Willy Wonka. At some point he will grab us, tip his hat, give us a topsy spin, and as our heads clear we can look around, at the path we took, and the now-clear genius of every orchestrated step that seems so logical only now that we are in the magical place he knew was our only plausible destination the entire time.

Epilogue:

Then again, if he ruins this country, it’s better than the alternative, and as such I am stating that I would rather be fucked by a young black man than an old white guy. Here’s to you, Obama.

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