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Reply #37: I am bothered to, but in a different way [View All]

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TayTay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-20-08 09:08 PM
Response to Reply #35
37. I am bothered to, but in a different way
Forgive the sad story, but bear with me. A few years ago, my brother had a restaurant fail and go into bankruptcy. That was one of the most awful events I ever saw up close and personal. That restaurant had been his dream. But, slowly it had gone downhill. Corners were cut that never should have been, bad decisions were made and things got worse and worse. The family tried everything to save this enterprise, within their means, and it wasn't enough.

The place entered into a sort of business death spiral. Being a person of good will, or so I thought, I wanted desperately to do something to save my brother and his family from this agony. I went to others who probably had to the cash to invest to help out. "Save them," I cried. "We can't," they responded. It couldn't be saved. It was time to let it go, let the place close, let the family grieve their loss and move on.

They were right. This loss had to happen. All the nightmares and guilt and recriminations and pain had to stop. It had to have an endpoint. I could not save my brother from this pain. I could be there to help him cope, but I could not prevent the inevitable. Any other actions would have prolonged the pain, frozen it into place instead of stopping it and letting it go.

I am reminded of this because of all the apprehension around the transition. I don't want to stop people from questioning what is happening. Campaigns foster illusions, big grand illusions that grand and great things will happen and problems will be solved quickly and so forth. It is not that way. It has never been that way. The expectations surrounding the win this fall was an illusion. It was never real. It was there because of all the pent-up hopes and frustrations of the last few years. We saw what we wanted to see. But that doesn't make it real.

It is damaging to pretend that everything is going to be rosy now that "we" are in power. That is unrealistic and it is hurtful. I don't want to say comforting things about that or give assurances I don't believe in. It hides the truth and we need to see the truth.

President Obama is not some magician who is going to wave a magic wand and suddenly everything will be alright. He is coming into office at a really awful period of time. There are millions of Americans who are on the verge of being thrown out of work, facing homelessness and really bad economic times. Health care, environment, foreign policy, economics, all these things are bad at the same damn time. This man is going to have to go to extraordinary lengths to get anything done. I am not surprised at all that he has a cabinet with deal-makers in it. He is going to need it.

There are people around who are going to work very, very hard to try and make things better. The thought that this would be some sort of magical transition and that having Dems in power would lead to some sort of wonderland obscures that. That should go away.

We elect human beings, we don't elect gods. The false expectation that Obama is going to do whatever it is that we want him to do is damaging. It takes "us" the citizens out of the picture. It puts too much power into the hands of one person. And it takes away from all the stories of all the people who are going to work so hard to help get us out of this mess we are in. Their stories matter too. (Maybe they matter most of all.)

So, I am in a quandary here. I have nothing but buckets of faith and hope with which to face the future. I have seen too many good people who have fought too long to give up. The coming years are going to be their story as they save their own country from it's own darkest impulses. Obama is a guide for that, and an imperfect and human one at that. He is not there to save us, we are there to save us. He helps. So do many others.

It got better for my brother. The initial sadness and grief and feelings of failure faded. It became possible, once the illusions were gone, to actually move on and build a new life. He is doing much better now and he has a healthier family life and actually sees his kids and wife now. He could build a future because he was building it on real ground with real expectations. That was a fine thing to see. It gave me real hope and real faith. It was renewal, born out of hard work and the love and help of others. It was real and it might even last a while.

John F. Kennedy once said, "There are three things which are real: God, human folly, and laughter. The first two are beyond our comprehension. So we must do what we can with the third." I try to remember that and walk something of a balance here. It is not my job to convince people that something is so when it isn't. That is not helping or hopeful, it is another way to lie. We have had enough lies. I think I will do what I can for bit with laughter and honest hope instead.

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