Sunday, December 20, 2009
Where's My Unicorn?
An Obama supporter said yesterday about the Obama presidency and its current trajectory, "I'm very disappointed. I wanted my unicorn. Where's my unicorn?"
Many of us recognize that our expectations were high. But we didn't think they were unrealistic - after all, we helped get him elected. A lot of us expect gay marriage to be legalized; we expect our troops to come home from wherever they are; we expect a return to science and a strong commitment to combating global warming; we expect single-payer health insurance, quality public education and affordable higher education, sooner rather than later. These aren't exactly unicorns.
Marc Ambider, editor of the politics section of the Atlantic, asks, "Does Obama Hate Liberals?" He quickly answers that no, Obama does not hate liberals but instead "harbors contempt for ideologically driven special interest constituency politics." For the past couple years, many of us have projected our own beliefs onto him, our own struggles and aspirations. Because how he talks and approaches issues seem to account for disparate points of view (during the campaign, in particular), we have felt heard and validated. But when it comes to choosing a policy or direction, we see that our point of view was not chosen - instead it's some middle road that leaves us scratching our head. Still, he's the president of the United States, not liberal America or Blue State America. Obama has said on many occasions, don't let perfect be the enemy of good.
And so we wait. Health care reform will pass, barely. Many of us will be bitter because it will lack a public option or Medicare buy-in. But even with the public option, the reform would still represent tinkering around the edges; it would still be a far cry from single-payer. The bill is better than what we have now, though. The bill isn't perfect, and it may not even be good, but it's something. It's a start.
We still expect unicorns, but hopefully we can settle for a decent horse.