Thursday, November 5, 2009

Running a Marathon

President Obama has now spent less than ten months in office. Within that short period of time, the public, if you believe the likes of Beck and Limbaugh and most other media pundits, is now claiming that Obama is an utter failure in doing what he claimed he would do during his two year campaign for the position. The whole situation has caused me to actually think for a moment or two about where this country is headed with a president who is unable to magically and instantaneously do all things for all people in less time than say, for example, it took indicted former congressionman Tom Delay to learn the samba on Dancing with the Stars. My thoughts naturally flowed to running marathons as a useful metaphor for what Obama must do to turn this country around. Those who run marathons know that more than simply lacing up running shoes and paying $35 for an entry fee is necessary to accomplish the task of competing and finishing the distance. Advance planning and preparation is necessary. One must go out and hit the roads over a long period of months to condition the body properly to even complete a race, not to mention racing competitively which can take several years of high level training. Most people simply won't make the effort to do such a thing because it requires too much effort. Interestingly and similar to the criticisms of Obama, many will go out of their way to mock those who do run marathons. The path to change from a sedentary do nothing type of person to a marathoner takes time, dedication and effort, not to mention a commitment to see the effort through to completion. The public, accustomed to instant gratification of crdit cares and TV remotes, fails to understand the depth and effort to effectuate the kind of change that Obama is trying to bring. It takes many steps, one at a time, to complete the distance. Quick fixes are inappropriate for the overhauls our government needs. The country needs to get in step with our president as he moves our nation to a higher level of standards regarding education, health care and energy conservation. It is not a sixty yard sprint we signed up for, but the political equivalant of the ultimate distance.

*Note: This column is dedicated to my granddaughtr, Kari, who just recently completed her first marathon in Chicago.

Monday, November 2, 2009

We Are All In This Together

Rush Limbaugh was interviewed by Chris Wallace on Fox yesterday. If one takes him seriously, it appears that the world is coming to an end because President Obama's plan to take away all of our individual rights is right on course. Limbaugh was a little vague about just what rights he was talking about, but provided a clue as to what he meant by attributing his inability to purchase part of a professional football team, a right we all cherish, directly to Obama. What got me to thinking about the topic of my title "We are all in this together" after hearing Limbaugh's rant was the recognition that he is heard daily on 600 radio stations by millions of 'ditto heads' (his term, not mine) who, from what I hear from talking to a lot of them, accept what he says as the gospel truth, i.e. he tells them what to think. What I experienced vividly from watching and listening to him yesterday was a sense of de ja vue that I couldn't quite piece together at the time. I awoke suddenly early (very early) this morning with a flash of awareness as to where I have had this same sense of disconnectedness. Early in my legal career I would cover criminal preliminary exams in Detroit's Recorders Court. In doing so I became aware of a force in our society of which I was previously unaware. This activity required me to sit and wait my turn in a courtroom buzzing with story after story of stupid and crazy behavior and acts commited by my fellow human beings. Limbaugh's words and thoughts and the litany of criminal conduct acts spelled out in that courtroom share the same thread of lunacy that most common sense type of people are not generally exposed to in a life time. Limbaugh's words are as dangerous to the integrity of our society as the mayhem that goes on nightly in the streets of our large cities. Words, like the guns and knives on the street, cause harm except that the harm caused by Limbaugh and his wannabees goes well beyond the pale of constructive criticsm. It is one thing to criticise, but it is all together another thing to make up facts to spread hate simply to maintain radio ratings to justify a $400 million contract.