Laughing

I’ve come to sympathize with Obama supporters, and I no longer laugh when they wail in anguish. I have compassion for them. I recognize that cry.

I flashed back recently to when I was so fooled by a woman I thought I’d forgotten that I lost faith in my ability to size up other people, for which I’m now profoundly grateful, although not then. I’d been wrong about other women, of course, and I’d done some pretty fancy flailing trying not to believe she really meant it and then moping around when I had to admit that she did, dammit. And when I was gnashing my own personal teeth, I didn’t want to be laughed at. Now, instead of sizing people up I try to pay attention without judgment, which is much harder.

Millions of people dedicated themselves enthusiastically to Barack Obama and helped him get to the presidency. Then the time came for him to make sweet love to his fanbase. Instead of health-care reform, we’re getting federally subsidized insurance, and as for closing Guantanamo or ending torture or the wars or anything else important, probably not. Not to mention the banks.

Then the brother starting talking up nuclear power of all things and offshore drilling in his State of the Union speech. He could’ve been Dubya, except with better oration. I can see how embarrassing it is for people who thought he was the beige messiah, which he may be, just not the kind they thought. I’m guessing that’s often what happens with messiahs. We could store the additional nuclear waste at the Capitol, and Congress could pay for oil spills personally. That seems fair.

Obama is the fulfillment of Dr. King’s desire for judgment of the content of one’s character, and proof that a black man can be anything at all and skin color is no guarantee of anything. I don’t laugh at anybody who still thinks that skin color is important, because they’re in the throes of having their minds changed and may be a little fragile right in through here.

I didn’t laugh at the flabby State of the City presentation in the city council chamber in beautiful downtown Chico some weeks ago, either. I was relieved to learn that everything about Chico is good and getting better and we’re meeting our challenges and looking ahead and learning as we go and getting all points of view and moving forward.

I listened pretty carefully, and I’m sure I’ve never heard the word “community” so much, the way governments use the word “terrorists” to justify fewer civil liberties and perpetual war. I’m keeping an eye on “community.”

Posted Thursday, April 8th, 2010 under compassion, government, Obama, Uncategorized.

2 comments

  1. I still laugh at Obama supporters. I’m not as mature as you.

  2. Tom/Mady Trask says:

    Dear Anthony-
    My husband and I were two of the people you described in your recent article “Laughing” in CN&R. We campaigned for Obama, we sent him money, we cried as we watched him inaugurated. We thought he was Jesus! And then within a few months of his reign, our initial uneasiness turned, over time, into the anguish you described. We have felt betrayed, jilted and scammed, and until your article, we have been living with cynicism and anger at the decisions he’s made. Watching him land in Afghanistan to talk to our troops wearing a leather jacket and giving a “rah, rah” speech seemed no different than watching Bush land on a aircraft carrier, decked out in a flight suit declaring Mission Accomplished. Comparing broken-hearted Obama supporters, as we feel we are, to partners who have misjudged a lover made us laugh for the first time. And perhaps there will be healing with that first small step. We thought it was going to be different with this politician, but alas, it appears that politicians are politicians are politicians. . . .
    Thanks for the chuckle!
    Mady Trask

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