Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Bull in a China Shop Syndrome

The election was a year ago, and everyone's still wondering what we've gotten ourselves into. The President is treating his term in office almost as if he were still campaigning. He's the first one in US history to have his own network TV show, and he's easily the only one who could ever have pulled it off. He treats congressmen as if they have to justify their leadership skills, by continually calling them out on their reasoning, in what he calls his bull sessions. He doesn't let up. He demands almost as much as any citizen once demanded of his predecessors. He doesn't even know the meaning of the word "complacent." He's a constant challenge.

So of course, as many people who love him, there are just as many who hate him. Can you believe it? We finally get a president with a spine, and we still can't unite around him. It's ridiculous. The good news is that it doesn't seem to bother him. He's creating history. Even if he doesn't get re-elected (and he's constantly remarked how even two terms is not enough, or too much, for any one man or woman), his successor has a tall challenge, no matter how different they'll want to be. They will now have had a precedent for a strong president, not one who bends the articles of democracy, but one who takes his oath seriously, who is completely dedicated to the office but also to the people he represents.

He's both a dream and a nightmare. How do you contend with a force of nature? I almost wish I were living fifty years from now, so that all the knee-jerk reactions I get to enjoy now won't matter. But who am I kidding? History is both a record of what actually happened and just as much a subject to interpretation as any contemporary reaction. I wish it weren't so, but that's life. That's human fallibility. But at least I can say I got to experience a president who seemed almost completely invincible, even though he's the most human person to ever hold that office. He doesn't hide behind anything.

It's fair to say the likes of him won't soon be seen again.

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