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.