Is Obama disappointing you?

Nice letter Clarinda.

One of the main things that frustrated those I know who support Hillary, is the idea that Obama is somehow purer and not going to shift his positions to suit the electorate. I did and still do support Obama but am not as hurt as you Clarinda, Maybe that’s only because I stayed somewhat cynical. I like all the positive things you eloquently noted and hoped he’d be better than what Hillary (and the past administration has been).

But it seems to me that Obama is just as focussed as winning no matter what as Hillary was/is. He will take the chance that the disappointment you and others feel as he becomes less obviously pure as he has to take more positions and actions will not stop our voting for him.

I’ve seen him do a number of things that indicate

-stating a belief in a new positive politics but not sending a strong message to his supporters to not personally attack HRC
-supporting gay rights but not gay marriage in a “separate but equal” kinda way
-not condemning the misogyny in the press thrown at HRC (which would, it now turns out, possibly have been politically useful as well as principled)
-taking new position against public financing of his campaign
-not opposing nuclear power and supporting ethanol even when its manufacture supports unjust farmer’s subsidies and food shortages in the world

There will be more coming. At this point I think this is part of the deal of becoming president. Our current system demands it. I don’t expect purity from him and still see all the great things in him that you articulate so well.

I am especially hopeful about these things I have seen him do very well: 1) run an excellent campaign, 2) organize well at the grassroots level 3) write brilliantly 4) show an understanding and embrace of nuance and intelligence 4) communicate and inspire by words and some actions (the strongest of which is the action of becoming the person who we hear addressing us as the nominee 5) understand and use the Net exceptionally well. I hope he applies all these skills to governing.

As much as I’m hopeful about him and his candidacy, my greater hope is in those of us who are engaging in politics but are not candidates.

It is up to us to make it not politically tenable to choose positions we don’t agree with.

We have waited all our lives to not hold our noses and vote. But haven’t be also been waiting to be the country we want to be? Isn’t that up to us even more than it is up to a President?

We are real leadership. Barack Obama is inspiring. Let us be inspiring. I am sure that if enough of us are inspiring with our actions, he will follow. Maybe because he’ll want to. Maybe because he’ll have to.

The greatest thing he’s already accomplished is giving people like you and me some hope and a reminder of our agency our political system. I’m so glad you wrote him and that James posted it. What else can we do to pressure him? Obama will be as good a President as we demand.

yours in hope,
heather gold