There are people who feel dissatisfied with the President, people who had high hopes and life long histories of frustration seeing those hopes materialize slowly or not at all, people who have seen their causes come up for consideration, only to be blocked or gutted by a cynical legislative process; Healthcare didn’t have a public option, DADT repeal took too long, the Dream Act is still a dream, Guantanamo isn’t closed yet, we haven’t converted to solar & wind, world peace is too far off, unemployment isn’t below 6%, Cheney is still a free man, the Supreme Court has a conservative bias, the War in Afghanistan isn’t over, Israel and Palestine continue to fight, Republicans aren’t cooperating, children are too fat, the polar ice is melting, wages for the middle class are stagnant, there are bigots on TV, guns are sold to anyone, Corporations have free access to the legislative process, wealth and political power is consolidated in the hands of a few, the banks rob us with immunity…. the list is long and painful for many of us to go over.
Although this is a representative portion of my personal list, what it’s not is an indictment of the President. There’s a fine line between being patient and being duped, but I don’t feel cheated with my trust in President Obama. Given the cards he was dealt and the strength of the opposition, a lesser man would have caved to the pressure long ago. But, he hasn’t done that and I don’t see anyone with better character or skills on the horizon, who is willing and able to fill his shoes. The problems being addressed are complex, entrenched and take time to unwind from the fabric of our culture or power structures and the workings of our economic system.
Progress is measured in next steps and we have come a long way since 2009. What we see on the horizon are the goals and we are headed in the right direction. While we revisit our expectations and the anxieties they engender, we would do well to consider the accomplishments we’ve made against them too. The list of what has been done in the President’s first term is impressive and historical, even though it’s still not complete. The fact that there is so much left to do speaks to the condition of the nation and our government when he arrived in office, rather than the effort, wisdom and focus of the administration during his term.