Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Anchoress on Obama

Years ago, I was talking with a woman who had divorced her husband. She said that when she married him, he seemed to be just what she was looking for in a husband.  Later, it turned out he was a non-entity, an empty suit onto which she could project her fantasies, and he would do nothing that would disturb the image.

Throughout the election, it became increasingly apparent to me that Obama was the same sort of figure.  He spoke of hope and change, and did nothing to disrupt the fantasy visions people were so happy to project onto him.

Now, in this piece by the Anchoress, it seems he's now in a place where he has to manifest some substance.

I get the impression that President Obama would like very much to say to those Americans and traditional allies who are not falling for him, "Do you know who I am?"

I wish he would, because the response would be: "Do you know who you are?"

This piece by Robin of Berkeley, which includes the Zen story, describes an America that is holding its collective breath, and wondering just who it actually elected back in November of 2008.

One senses that the nation is not alone in wondering, that perhaps President Obama himself has no clue who he is, not as an American man, and not as The American President. For decades Obama has gotten by on elegance, a retiring demeanor and the ability to make people see their reflections in him. The first two are gifts; that last is a symptom of a vast emptiness, for a mirror may have width, but not depth.

If Barack Obama, who has made a great secret of his past, truly understood who he is, and who The American President is on the world stage, he would never have journeyed to Copenhagen to have his hat handed to him.


Whether he meant to entertain or to rule like a monarch, Obama seems now petrified to actually lead. One senses that this unformed man is at war with himself; what to do – play to the handlers and their agenda, or cast them aside, grasp both sides of the podium, swallow hard, and play to history?

The Office of the Presidency can either make a man great, or break him, but it will not allow him to coast and remain undefined.

No comments: