I don’t like President Obama. Can I still admit that even though in doing so I might offend a “sizable group of people?”
Here in the purple state of Colorado, expressing this opinion–my opinion–gives me pause. It can be difficult to tell if I am speaking to someone who agrees or vehemently disagrees. Discovering the answer is always an adventure.
Here’s why I don’t like the president: The president pretends to not know his own influence.
From the moment he took office, it was made known that he would be a very accessible president. “Ask him anything and he’ll tell you,” they said. The unthinking American loved his openness. His openness surely attracted positive popular sentiment. But make no mistake, it is a very calculated move on the president’s part. Think about it. What would happen if your boss started voicing that he or she really liked a particular camera…right around Christmas time? What would happen if your boss started describing how much he or she disliked the color blue? In my experience, in the first situation the boss would likely be given that camera as a gift at the company party; in the second, the color blue would be avoided in the office where possible.
The credible boss, the boss with high character understands the economics of his or her language. He or she understands that there are only so many hours in a day and many things have to be attended to. The boss knows, therefore, that he or she cannot afford to communicate for forever. They have to offer their guiding leadership eloquently, and rely on an able-bodied workforce to carry out the plan. This happens every day. Even the most micro-managing boss has limited time–thankfully–to communicate all that he or she wants to.
Likewise, when a president offers his opinion on something, it starts a chain reaction. Decisions are made based on the opinion. Take this together with the way our country’s political sphere has unfolded–the president being viewed as newsworthy celebrity rather than public servant–and there is a problem.
Bob Costas attempted to use his power to persuade the Washington Redskins owner to act. So far, it has been ineffective. Bob Costas is a virtual nobody. He is a talking head. Generally a pleasant to listen to talking head, but he is as effectually powerless over another man’s actions as the next man. The same is not true for the president. No matter what he’d like us to believe, it is not just “his opinion.” And he knows it. But he pretends not to. He pretends like he really is one of us. He isn’t. It’s categorically impossible. The us he is attempting to fit in with know their place.
For example, I know that this blog will have no appreciable effect beyond providing momentary pleasure for no more than 10 people. It’ll receive 1-2 ‘likes’, if that. More likely, it will irritate some people and be a stumbling block to my professional possibilities as I’m publishing it on LinkedIn.
Don’t buy this argument? Just wait. History will prove my point. Like the boss receiving a camera for Christmas, the Redskins will change their name. When they do, to deny the president’s influence will strain even American credulity.
In the end, I really don’t wonder what President Obama thinks about me. I just want him to stop pretending that his opinions are inconsequential. I want him to stop using his limited time to weigh-in on ridiculously un-presidential matters. I want “more work, less talk.” Is that too much to ask for?
Unless you live under a rock, you heard that President Obama recently had three dictionary’s (Google, Merriam-Webster and Cambridge) add the following entry to the definition of literally: “Used to acknowledge that something is not literally true but is used for emphasis or to express strong feeling.”
In typical fashion, that isn’t the only, or most impactful, word/definition that the president had modified. While everyone was abuzz over the fact that a definition clearly in opposition to the word’s actual definition was added, nobody noticed the other word the president had changed: different. (Of all the words for this to happen to, that he chose ‘literally’ to accomplish his ultimate goal is genius as it is so fundamental to a dictionary that it necessarily would draw attention.)
If you go to dictionary.com and look up different you’ll find, “not alike in character or quality” as the number one definition. However, the same three dictionaries the president has in his pocket have caved to the pressure yet again. Instead of just adding a definition to the number two spot, though, they actually erased all the previous definitions and instead put, “being the same.”
Now, we could discuss how, yet again, the president’s actions–always hiding bigger changes behind smaller changes–are disreputable, but let’s not. We could discuss how, yet again, the president’s actions–endlessly overstepping the limited nature of his power–are illegal, but let’s not. We could discuss how, yet again, the president’s actions–his surprisingly unsurprising changing definitions of words–are narcissistic and disrespectful to all mankind, but let’s not. Instead, we will focus on how his most recent action, changing the definition of different, clearly illustrates how he has a fundamental misunderstanding of his main campaign promise: change.
President Barack Obama promised to change this country, presumably for the better. We turn again to dictionary.com and find that change is defined as, “to become different.” Do you understand what has happened? The nature of all the president’s flaws are revealed perfectly in this one seemingly minor action. He wants to have it all. He wants to “have his cake and eat it too”. He wants to “have it both ways.” However, as long as there is one other human–functional backbone included–in existence, he’s going to have a problem reconciling his ‘wants’ with reality.
His changing the definition of different doesn’t even make sense if he doesn’t have these ‘wants.’ How can a man who promises change fulfill his promise if everything is the same?
Some of us might be inclined to let this minor change be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Let’s turn to a dissenting opinion: His entertainment value alone has been worth it.
For those of us who first learned how inept presidents were with Clinton, we were even more disappointed in Bush II. And out of these three presidents that have done nothing but drop the ball, has President Obama not been easily the most enjoyable to watch. Will you join me in admitting that rather than getting upset, you actually hope President Obama never leaves office? Long Live King Obama!
(If you’re short on time, skip to the bottom for numbered instructions.)
Five days had passed. He still wasn’t able to focus. He couldn’t believe what the President had said–what the President had done.
His friends were sick of listening to him rant. He felt like his co-workers were starting to be more than annoyed. But he couldn’t relent. He was in shock that the President of the United States of America had come to the conclusion that his best play was to say what he did. He was so angry. Rage had descended upon him as if an avalanche.
Five days was too long. He knew this. Academically, he knew he needed to get over it. But he was a man of integrity. He couldn’t pin down the reason, but he felt his integrity was under attack. As of this moment, though, he knew the time had come. He had related to everyone what he felt, and he had reached the point of diminishing returns. He knew he needed to just ignore it. He just didn’t know how to do that.
Instructions for How To Ignore:
Step 1 – Decide that acknowledging an experience, regardless of it’s truth, hurts more than it helps.
Step 2 – Lie. Deliberately convince yourself that you didn’t experience or aren’t experiencing the event in question.