Friday, December 17, 2010

Fussing Up

I get it that there are progressives who are upset with President Obama. I get it that they’re not happy with the lack of progress on some of the issues that he promised. But I’m getting a bit tired of the way they’re carrying on about it. For all the angst, petulance, threats to find a primary challenger to the president, and holding their breaths until they turn blue, you’d think they were Republicans.

If you thought that once we elected Barack Obama everything would be all roses and rainbows, that all our disagreements and distrust would magically vanish in the abundant sunshine of the dawn of a new day, then there’s a lot you missed in learning about the way things work in this Washington… and in the world. Remember, your mileage may vary, some assembly is required, batteries are not included, other items shown sold separately, and for every pony, there’s always the manure that comes with it. But things will get done. Maybe not the way we hoped and not in the final form, but that’s how it rolls. For instance, after all the impatience and ranting about how the president was not living up to his promise to get rid of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, it looks like the repeal will actually happen. And it won’t be a temporary measure like the signing of an executive order that can be repealed by the next Republican president. If it passes, discrimination by law against openly gay and lesbian soldiers in the military will be done away with forever.

I am not suggesting that Democrats and progressives all shut up and do whatever it takes to make the president look good and go all eyes-glazed-over on Hardball with the droning of “Yes-I-support-the-president” chorus. And I also recognize that there are progressives who have never thought that Barack Obama was a liberal and don’t trust him. Fine; I give them credit and a lot of admiration for their zeal and drive to move the nation in a more progressive direction. I’m all for it. But there are things worth fighting over within the party and there are better ways to go about it. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done to restore this country and recover from the serious damage of the last ten years, and the clock is running. Let’s discuss it, let’s get a lot of different ideas out there, and but let’s do it constructively and convincingly. As John Cole noted, there’s a difference between holding someone’s feet to the fire and burning them at the stake.