The Year is Complete!

Please feel free to look back through the 365 days of 2010 sunrises, but "a year of getting up to meet the day" is officially completed. There will be no more new posts.


Thank you so much for visiting.
A one year blog project in which I share a process of transitions: emptying of the nest, reacquainting with my rusty intellect, plowing onward with my first full length book, entering the second half of my first century, and generally reflecting on life.

(see Dec. 29th, 2009 entry for further explanation)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

dipping a toe into politics

sunrise:  7:16

These next few days give us our latest sunrises of the year, until Sunday morning when we'll fall back an hour, to 6:21am.  Strangely, I'm looking forward to the change.  When my dawn walks are crowded up against the days' appointments there is less time for leisurely contemplation.

In honor of the news of the day -- election results -- I am going to delve where I rarely delve.  My dad, always full of thought and philosophical inquiry, sent his 5 children a letter yesterday asking for our response to an article in the Wall Street Journal, by Dorothy Rabinowitz,  It's called "Why Obama is no Roosevelt."  It had some legitimate points, some subtle raging, and a lot of questions I am not equipped to answer.  I do not, as a rule, read much about the intricacies of politics or business theory.  Nevertheless, I wrote a reply to my father, which I will reprint here.

I would love to hear responses from my readers today, if you are so inclined -- right, left or in between.  This is an area in which I can stand to be further educated, and any thoughtful and intelligent insights will be appreciated.


Hey Dad -- I came very close to sending that WSJ article to some of my friends, to ask their reaction to it. I am not well read or savvy enough about politics, business and healthcare to respond to most of these charges that I continue to hear against Obama. But I'll leave my friends alone and share my lightly informed thoughts.

I understand that there is a lack of connection that people are feeling with Obama, He is certainly not as great at instilling the nation with optimism and hope as he was during his campaign. I think he is genuinely frustrated and disappointed with the divisiveness of the nation, and maybe he's too honest about his frustration and disappointment.  A leader should put some rays of hope into his people, even if he's not feeling it. On the other hand, I don't think he's wrong about the fear and the whining!

I don't understand why they all think he has done such an abysmal job so far. As far as health care goes, the sense I get from those in the industry is that SOMETHING had to be done. It will take some time before we know if this something that we're trying will work or not. Business and the economy - who knows? Government gets more and less involved across the decades, and there are problems of some kind in every direction. Every new system that may look great in theory runs into trouble in practice, or so it seems to me in my ignorance.

One of the biggest problems I see in our country right now was illuminated for me at a seminar during T's parents' weekend at Emerson. It was about politics and the new media. The ever present barrage of easy political and social commentary are changing the face of politics (and everything else). The trend seems to be that with so much news, or pseudo-news to choose from, people tend to choose news that dovetails most nicely with their own opinions. You can find articulate arguments for just about anything out there now, and feel thoroughly validated in your beliefs.

As a result, we are becoming more and more factionalized, divided. Political blogs are HUGE now, and the most popular ones are definitively left or right. No one seems interested in reading stuff that balances the two sides out. Frankly, though I'm sure Dorothy Rabinowitz had a lot of intelligent points, I am irritated by her many barbs of sarcasm. It is the way of the media on both sides of the fence now, and I'm sick of it.

Bottom line for me is this, I guess. I wish Obama would show greater faith, pride, and respect for his country and fellow citizens, and I wish our country would show greater faith, pride and respect for their leader. But the latter hasn't been widely in vogue, it seems, since pre-Nixon days.

que sera sera


  1. Interesting. I'd love to read your dad's response. Do you think your siblings are more aligned with you or with your dad?

  2. Boy, where do I start. I like your response, which is fair but I can't help adding my own more adamant rant:

    First, I have not actually heard anyone compare Obama to FDR (other than by pointing out that he inherited complete economic disaster from a Republican president and had to do something to get us out of it - and this is of course is unassailable fact). I agree with your points about the sarcasm, which do nothing to further rational debate in this country (and yes, people on the left were similarly nasty about Bush also with no constructive effect), but this goes beyond sarcasm, I think.

    The "who is regularly compared to FDR" statement is a prime example of one political side constructing their own straw men to knock down against the other - the "some say..." syndrome. If some say this, tell us who? and when? so we can at least have the context. This punditry technique is tired and old, no matter who does it. And, it insults the very intelligence of her readers that she claims she's defending from Obama. When Obama rails against the current triumph of fear over thinking, he's absolutely right. He's not insulting anyone's intelligence when he does so, because *everyone* succumbs to it to some degree (except for maybe those on one side of the autism spectrum) - this is a natural biological phenomenon which I have discussed on my blog ( as I think I have mentioned to you.

    She's just parroting the same tired right-wing talking points that Obama is an aloof intellectual. I challenge anyone to substantively defend that argument after reading "Dreams from My Father" a highly intelligent book, yes, but the theme of which is the struggle to make society better when there is so much cynicism and politics driving people apart. As you point out, he still is dealing with that struggle. And I do agree with those that understand his thinking but say he needs to connect with people better. Unfortunately, I think a lot of that skill is inborn personality. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next two years.

  3. (Continued 'cause I don't know when to shut up, even if Blogger tries to shut me up..):

    Finally, because the health care bill was once again trashed in this column, I would like to have you ask your dad a question for me. Because of the health care bill, I or my husband can now get a job somewhere else if a better opportunity comes along. That's something a business man can relate to, isn't it? We were essentially trapped here before the ACA, the minute I got my cancer diagnosis, because with the pre-existing conditions rules, we could easily be bankrupted if I have a recurrence (which for me would mean metastasis somewhere) that an insurance company refuses to pay for. Does your dad truly think that that would have been fine? Because frankly I have yet to hear someone argue against the health care bill who has been through a major illness or condition *and* doesn't have the means to pay for it. (The people I know who are against it in my town don't have means but are either on Medicare, or haven't really been sick).

    As far as I'm concerned, the people who can cover their health no matter what happens should not even have had a seat at the table discussing this, because it doesn't even affect them. (Even my brother came around a bit on this one because he thought to imagine the current insurance situation a bit from my position.) If they are worried about the cost issue, that is certainly fair, but their like-thinking representatives certainly didn't do anything to try and work out that side of the problem - they wanted only to score political points to kill it all. The money is clearly an issue that needs to be solved, but it clearly won't be until we have some leaders on both sides willing to do the right (and politically risky) thing by taking it on. I don't know of any congressmen, current or elect, that have shown they have the courage to do that. So what are people really voting for?

    Enough from me! As your dad's mom used to say, "Put me down as doubtful!!"