Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I feel betrayed...

Truth be told, I slept very little last night - and I prayed that President Obama slept very little as well - and frankly, I don't spend a lot of time praying these days. But I did last night, that President Obama would toss and turn at least as frequently as I did.

While the news of President Obama's decision about escalating the war in Afghanistan did not flood the trending topics on the most contemporary gauge of current news (twitter), there is no doubt that thousands of people in this country are dragging themselves out of bed with an all too familiar feeling of hopelessness and disillusionment about our country and the leader of our country.

I am one of those people. When I first heard the news from White House officials yesterday morning, I fluctuated between shock, anger and disbelief at what would be officially announced later that evening. I found myself hoping he would hear of the outrage and change his mind. He could, I kept telling myself. THIS President could.

Please understand, it was his stance on THE war that was my deciding factor in strongly supporting him as a candidate. His consistent language and stance was anti-war with only an occasional tip towards the real war Afghanistan, and usually a dig or taunt at Bush and his considerably bad decision making. Let's face it, much of the campaign was about the war. Obama very frequently repeated claims of being the only candidate to vote against the war, etc., etc.

To those who today say that his criticism was for Iraq not Afghanistan - those who believe he told Americans he would continue fighting in Afghanistan - I say ok, technically, you are right: I did find a quote where he said, in fact, that he wanted to end to the war in Afghanistan. That quote did not say he wanted to escalate it - nor did it say the escalation of 30,000 more soldiers would be announced three weeks before Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza, a time most Americans reserve for reflection, for hope, for thanksgiving and good will.

President Obama's escalation will bring the total number of our people in Afghanistan to 100,000. That's nearly the entire population of Flint, MI, the fourth largest city in Michigan. Afghanistan is a country where conflict has reigned supreme since the late 1970s. We've been there in full force since the 2001 US-led invasion toppled the Taliban government.

And we are still there.

I voted for Barack Obama because he gave me hope that real change could happen - that real change would happen. I firmly believed he would do things differently than W regarding the travesty of ALL the wars. It's no longer about 9-11 to me. The horrible truth is that more than 250 times as many people have been killed in Afghanistan and Iraq than in the ghastly attacks of September 11, 2001. More than 20,000 people have died in Afghanistan alone including more than 700 of our own troops. Another 50,000 people have been injured.

That's too many people - way too many people. How many people is enough?

Since the election of Barack Obama, I have felt a freedom from fear. I have felt that decision were being made with intelligence and accurate information from good-hearted people. I have been proud that we no longer lived by the whim of a cowboy president spoiling for a fight based upon his whim or any of his hawkish advisors.

President Obama invited that fear-based decision-making back into my life last night.

Finally, as I tossed and turned last night, I kept envisioning a somber President Roosevelt on that black and white tube television telling the country that America was at war with Japan. I remember hearing and seeing footage of how the country gathered around the television sets to hear what the President would tell his people. He delivered the news - from the White House - perhaps even from his office. It was not a show. He didn't fly anywhere to get the perfect backdrop. He showed us - true or not - that he was taking time from his very serious work at the White House to deliver news that would forvever change the world.

I am troubled that President Obama used the members of his administration to leak/provide HIS troubling news many hours prior to his speech that night. He had members of administration deliver the news. I believe he should have shown the leadership and responsibility in providing news of this magnitude to his country - if not the world. Instead, like W, he chose to float it to test public sentiment, to gauge support, to determine what should be said rather than speak from his own heart.

I expected more.

I have always considered Barack Obama to be a man of intellectual courage and integrity, fearless in the face of his enemies, hopeful even when the days were dark - a protector of the dreams for our country. He should have been the one to deliver the news to our country. No leaks. No embargos. No one but himself facing the cameras as he told the country his decision we all must now live with.

I am disappointed. I feel betrayed.

And I wish I didn't.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Right on. --slm