If only Obama’s deeds matched his words

President Obama, say what you will about him, is a outstanding speaker, both in style and substance.  His second inaugural address was characteristic.  He connected the ideals of the Declaration of Independence and of President Lincoln’s second inaugural with the struggles for women’s rights, black civil rights and gay rights.  His speech was, as usual, wonderfully balanced.  He offered comfort to the marginalized without attacking the successful.  He performed his usual feat of walking through a minefield, rallying his supporters without offering any obvious opening to his opponents.  If all I knew about the President were his speeches, I would have voted for him.

Unfortunately, I also know his record—the drone strikes and kill lists, the bailout of Wall Street, the prosecution of whistle-blowers, the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations which would subject U.S. worker, health and environmental laws to a corporate-dominated international tribunal.  Most of my friends are liberal Democrats, like me.  When I mention these things, they seem momentarily disturbed, then recover their equilibrium and ask:  What about the Tea Party?  What about the NRA?  What about the crazy religious fundamentalists and right-to-lifers?

The fact that Obama is such a great speaker, the fact that his words have the power to stir me, gives me all that greater a sense of betrayal when his deeds are contradictory to his rhetoric.  But rhetoric matters.  His articulation of liberal ideals brings them out of the margins and into the center.  It is not nothing.  It sets a goal of those who come after him to follow.

Click on Inaugural Address by President Barack Obama for the full text of his speech.

Click on Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall if you’re not sure what the President meant by these words.

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One Response to “If only Obama’s deeds matched his words”

  1. Atticus Says:

    I respect and often agree with classic liberal democrats, like yourself. What irritates me is when certain people are so blinded by party loyalties or beliefs that it blinds them to the “evils” committed by the people they want to believe are good.

    Back when Sara Palin was on the VP ticket I could believe that some of the conservative Republicans I knew (most of them) were on that band wagon. They really felt she was a great pick. I couldn’t find one reason why.

    At that time I was happy to see Obama/Biden defeat McCain/Palin. But it seems more and more both parties are become more radical and doing things that no typical American would agree with if they could get past their party or ideological loyalties.


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