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Obama

A tiny, noisy, unsettled slice of pie

After last week's social bonanza, it's nice to have some downtime today and tonight. With Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday and the Presidential Inauguration Tuesday, it hasn't felt quite like a "normal" week (whatever that means). Witnessing the beginning of a historic presidency has been surreal in many respects. Some lingering thoughts:
  • Heard lots of inauguration prayer comparisons, contrasts, and critiques (probably more than the average Joe, since I work for a church). It's weird to hear people approach prayer, even public prayer, from such an evaluative stance. Wonder if many Americans functionally believe they have both the right and the duty to form and voice an opinion on everything. I think that's individually, corporately, and culturally crazymaking.
  • Already really tired of sore winners—those whose unbridled hope in the Obama presidency seems to require that they seek a full explanation from anyone not visibly celebrating alongside them. It's pretty disrespectful and relationally grotesque, and I don't recall Bush supporters demanding answers from those who didn't receive his presidency with a full-body embrace. Thankfully, the sore winners are a small minority, and maybe the inspiration they've been enjoying will eventually lead them to a place of accepting and respecting differences—a position many of them vocally espouse.
  • The Obamas are just plain fun to watch. I think many of us find (or project) a relatability to them that we haven't seen in the executive office before. Of course, this raises the possibility that some of the positive feeling that's been branded as "hope" (and make no mistake—legitimate or not, hope was definitely branded and marketed) could simply be narcissism—the presidency just became more about us than it seemed to be previously. The executive branch seems to be where many of us look for that connection (as the Loveline crew used to say, "Where's Dad?"). Whatever the reason, and regardless of the other concerns I may have, it certainly feels more engaging (even though my actual life is pretty much exactly the same as last week at this time).
That all might sound like I'm completely down on Obama, but that'd be an untrue reading. To break out the old, tired line regularly used about Christians, there's a lot I like about Obama—it's (some of) his followers who push me away. And more than that, I'm just not that interested in having extensive thoughts, feelings, and opinions about him at all. For some reason, that's hard for a few to believe, but truthfully, if I were to make a good old-fashioned pie chart about what I'm up for devoting my attention and energy toward, the executive branch of the federal government wouldn't get much of a slice (ever, regardless of who's in the office). And it's weird to me that that's weird to anyone else—I feel disrespected when my choice is challenged, because not only am I free to make it, but I also believe I've made some good decisions on where I spend my attention and energy instead.

Comments

There's so much truth to this, I wish I had written it instead of you! ;)

I have heard a great deal of "buyer's remorse," too, regarding President Obama. What if he can't live up to all that we expect of him? He's a hero to so many but he's also just a man. Assuredly, he is an idealistic young man who has aspirations and dreams...but he's still just a man.

Won't these next 4 years be interesting?
The "buyer's remorse" is encouraging to me. If we can adjust our expectations to something more appropriate (which doesn't require relinquishing that all-important "hope"), maybe there'll be more grace for future presidents as well.

There are a lot of cool things that could happen in this administration. Regrettably, they'll come alongside some horrific ones that are already underway. So I suppose my hope has some different qualities and objectives than some of my neighbors, which doesn't mean I have none.
So...my tax dollars will pay for women to kill their babies.

That's depressing.

Yeah, the feeling I get from that decision is certainly something other than "hope." A society that does this willingly to itself is terrifying to be part of.

Ironically, Obama's apparently remarkable ability to hold babies seems to make people feel warm and fuzzy enough to build websites about it. I hope a few will bother to remember the babies who will never be held.
I agree...

I just don't understand how we (humans) have the capacity to destroy our own children. It seems so contrary to what you think would be instinctive.

Your icon is so disturbing....and sadly....appropriate.
You're so awesome. I read your pie chart line out loud to my assistant... who really couldn't care less. But it was THAT great. :D
I'm all about preserving the right to care less.
if I were to make a good old-fashioned pie chart about what I'm up for devoting my attention and energy toward, the executive branch of the federal government wouldn't get much of a slice (ever, regardless of who's in the office).

Brother, you spoke a mouthful there! So true. :/
I actually got as excited about pie as I did about the presidency when I wrote that. I'm a simple man.
Great thoughts!
Thank you! I used to write to in order to make my thoughts clearer, and lately I've been fearful that things just get muddier when I put them into written form. So it's encouraging to hear these thoughts were clear enough to understand.
Remember when I thought this icon was you? That was a LONG time ago.
I could only hope to be like The Busey.
lol squared.
<---- I almost spewed. Hilarious.

Also, it's good to read your thoughts. I identify with a lot of what you've said and it's always nice to find others who are on the same page.
(I know you were replying to Lee, but I can't let this icon go by without a comment)

HILARIOUS.
Agreed—around here, sometimes I feel as if I've transgressed by not having the same hopes as some of my neighbors. My differences aren't intended to be a personal rejection; I just have priorities that override the other stuff. It'd be great for that to be respected, too.
Additionally, I joinked your Obama Jesus icon. Don't hate me.
I remember once being called to task for believing something to be true—how could I have the audacity to think my belief was true (which is not to be confused with the audacity of hope, which we all know to be awesome)? I responded by pointing out how nonsensical it would be to believe something I didn't think was true. Duh. Of course I believe my beliefs to be true; when I don't believe them, they aren't my beliefs. Logic, people…

Similarly, I must believe my priorities take priority over other things. That's what makes them my priorities, by definition. While I don't expect others to agree with me, the fact that my having priorities could be offensive to someone else (and you're right: people totally choose to see it that way) is just weird and creepy. It's as if their egos have grown so large that they need to bleed into my life as well. Ew. No, thanks.

Edited at 2009-01-24 06:28 am (UTC)
omg. attack of conscience. delete my last comment.

i was being snarky.

(i'm not really sure what snarky means, but i think that's what i was being.)

(for the record, i was also being RIGHT)
All nice and screened, including my response. My journal is now child-safe again.
I just really wanna know what your snarky comment was
well, it was right there! UNSCREENED. good lord. so i deleted them.
My bad—I had screened it earlier, promise!
You will have to email me what you said.
I just wonder if you realize this - when you say "Wonder if many Americans functionally believe they have both the right and the duty to form and voice an opinion on everything. I think that's individually, corporately, and culturally crazymaking." You do realize that you act as if you believe that you have the right and duty to form and voice an opinion on everything, right? I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing for someone to do that, but you're talking as if you don't fall into that category. I also don't think it's a trait exclusive to Americans.
Oh, I may have been unclear: my thoughts about the inauguration are (by definition) rooted in American culture. Could they apply to others? Oh, sure, maybe—that just isn't what I was writing about.

I don't think we're tracking with one another on the rest—I'm either not following you, or you aren't following me, or both, or it just feels that way. And that's OK; I'm not a fan of the internet as a place to do any serious relational work. I'd love to talk in person (sometime other than a Sunday morning) if there's something important in there for you. I don't want to miss you on something that matters to you, but experience tells me the internet is pretty unlikely to be helpful with that sort of connecting.

Edited at 2009-01-24 06:44 am (UTC)

(Anonymous)

That sounds good!