19 January 2009

Willing Fools

I'm sitting here in the hotel watching an HBO special pre-inaugural event with a stream of speakers and performers like Bruce Springsteen and Stevie Wonder. The mall is crowded with an at-capacity crowd. It is so obvious that nearly everyone is foisting so much hope onto this one man - looking to Obama as a symbol of progress, change, and proof that the world again makes sense and will soon be better. My neighbor was telling me about the nurses in the Tijuana hospital who were excited about Obama, convinced that he's going to address even the spate of drug killings in their city.

We're fools to put so much hope in one man. It makes me wonder if politics is some shared delusion, a conspiracy between a people and their leaders not to admit that life is full of random events and that the systems we depend upon - whether financial systems or ecosystems - are unpredictable and can just as easily hurt us as help us. We're fools to think that one man who has had no real leadership position before can be be up for such a task as this. It's hard to believe that all of us excited about this change won't be disappointed. Foolish, really.

Fools get a bad rap, but I'm not so sure. They say that only fools fall in love. If that's the case, who wouldn't choose to be a fool?

17 comments:

Pinky said...

Speaking of falling.
It's gonna be a long fall from the pedestal he's been put upon.

Nobody can meet that many expectations.

Pinky said...

I appreciate this post, Ron. It scares me how much hype the media and Obama's followers have whipped up around this man. It's not healthy.

It's not a sign of a healthy democracy, in my opinion.

Damon said...

"life is full of random events and that the systems we depend upon - whether financial systems or ecosystems - are unpredictable"

Funny how when Bush is behind the controls these 'unpredictable' systems suddenly become his fault...

If you're gonna hold Bush responsible, apply the same standard to Obama.

Big Al said...

I can only imagine the emotions rampantly scampering about in our new President's head, from the intoxicating love-fest of his inauguration to the fear growing in the pit of his stomach like kudzu as each minute passes and he's that much closer to the dawn of January 21st, 2009, when the parties are all over and he gets his try at attempting to lead our great United States of America.

God Bless and God TRULY help our President Obama.

Lifehiker said...

A couple of months ago I attended to a hypochondriac who was taking yet another useless trip to the hospital. When she complained about the doctors who couldn't properly diagnose her, and the bills she got, I had to grit my teeth. Finally, after she finished her diatribe, she said "Well, Obama will fix this!"

Some people do have unrealistic expectations of our new president. He is no "Obama, the magic negro", but he is smart and organized, he has chosen a good staff, and he's not afraid to work on the hard problems or tell the truth.

If I'm a fool for being hopeful, maybe it's just that I can't think of anyone I'd rather see in the job. But I don't envy him. America is down in a hole, looking up. Digging out will be tough.

Dave said...

On a non-serious note, I thought fools rush in?

Kale Roseen said...

Well put Ron. I believe South Park episode on November 5th touched on this subject a bit.

http://www.southparkstudios.com/guide/1212/

K-Kix said...

I'm with Dave on this one...As wise men say: Only fools rush in... but I can't help, falling in love with.... uh the same man - Rosar!! :) I'm a fool.

On another personal note: I am a hopeful woman - not just for America but for life in general. For change to happen, let's not look too far or rely on one - it can begin within ourselves.

Ron Davison said...

Pinky,
as you know, I'm optimistic about Obama's presidency but I agree that he's unlikely have do as well as we fans are hoping. And you worried about the media's delight in him? I never thought before that there are people who are shaking their head at the way the media is moving in perfect unision on this the way that I felt so angry and outraged at the way the nation - from congress to media to American people - jumped neatly in behind the invasion of Iraq as if it made any sense. I'm sorry you are feeling that way - I remember it as being a "am I from Mars?" moment. No fun at all.

Damon,
You are so sensitive. :) There is a difference between managing systems and actually controlling them. Leaders are responsible for their performance but we're fooling ourselves if we think that even the best made plans ....

Allen,
About the only we don't know about the president is what he is thinking. What a lot of coverage of this event? Every minute of the poor man's day it seems. And to think that people work HARD to get this job.

LH,
Best of all, I don't have to feel disgusted at him all the time.

Dave,
fools rush in ... isn't that the theme song for every election?

Kale!
good to see you at R World. I will watch this ... kind of hoping that we don't have another president that makes more sense through the filter of stand up.

Karen,
you and Obama think alike. He seemed to be reminding us that change and problem solving will come from us as well. Do you think that he's already trying to shirk responsibility?

Damon said...

wait...so Ron...that's an admission that maybe *gasp* the economy collapsing is NOT all Bush's and those terrible free-market conservatives fault?! lol.

Or are you just saying that so we can't blame Obama when things collapse even worse...

tricky tricky! =)

Ron Davison said...

Damon,
there is a difference between allowing that some things are beyond control and simply explaining EVERYTHING that went wrong under Bush as merely a coincidence. Bush was going to bring accountabilty back to the White House. I distinctly remember that. It would seem a shame, Damon, for you to dishonor his memory by not giving him that much - accountability for the results on his watch.

Pinky said...

Yes, I'm very concerned about the media's love affair with President Obama. I seriously doubt we would have seen such compliance from the press towards President Bush. They sit quietly and let him predetermine who asks questions and what they can ask?

That's just creepy.

I think that every President, regardless of party affiliation should be grilled by the press equally. It's just one part of what keeps them honest (if anything can). We need our press to be bulldogs, not lap dogs.

Obama is not above the law, the press, or THE PEOPLE.

Pinky said...

And I agree with you completely, we should have questioned Bush regarding the invasion of Iraq. We should never stop questioning our leaders, lest they become unaccountable.

David said...

In my studies of the our country's presidency the so-called experts have always unanimously concluded no one is capable of doing the job. Nevertheless, if the world can't look to us for hope, whether to a certain man or to our people, where will they look?

Every president is accountable. It's whether you and I or the dominant media recognize that truth or seek to hide it. Obama deserves the chance to fail or succeed and I believe he'll accept the responsibility or blame. Many others most likely will make excuses for him should he fail. Those of us who supported Bush over Iraq and still do still often criticized him elsewhere, even Rush Limbaugh.

What scares me Ron is who we're neither recognizing nor blaming today for our failures because these are the same people and institutions than can derail Obama no matter how competent he proves to be even without relevant leadership experience. Good on you for recognizing that by the way.

In the end Barack Obama will say, had he the chance, that he'd do some things differently and some things the same. Every president I've known (lived through) since Hoover has said this unless they died in office.

Ron Davison said...

Pinky,
I know that I'm biased, but I'm guessing that Obama will have a more open administration than Bush. Not that this is a hard standard to beat.

Davos,
Accountability always suggests that things are simpler than they are. Lack of accountability always leads to really, really bad decisions and actions. Already Obama supporters have pointed out that he's starting out in a deep hole. And they are right. But you play the cards you've been dealt.

David said...

And rightly so because he had a lot of time to look at those cards and to turn and run. However the hole his supporters have dug for him is not as deep as they make it seem for obvious reasons. I'm still betting he welcomes the challenges. He'll get a lot of new cards soon and maybe even new games without Hoyle rules. I'll repeat: all presidents are accountable from day one. You never once heard GWB say it was Clinton's fault, never once.

Barack is quite a guy, maybe not B The Magic Negro but a welcome change himself. I'm shaky about those around him. Billary and her Nosser views on foreign affairs, Geitner, the Lynd guy taking my friend's place as dep sec DoD, and of course many others.

George Stephanopolis summed up the three days as massive changes, big stuff, bold moves. Wow. Where was I.

Patrizia said...

Do you remember Pandora´s box?
Hope was what was left after everything disappeared...
Fools are humans and humans are fools.
You got to believe in something and you have to believe in the future, otherwise it would be too difficult to live the present...
It´s like falling in love again.
No matter how deluded you are there is always a next time, at least you hope there is a next time...
In the mean time life passes and we arrive to the end, still hoping that there is a little time left...no matter how old we are...