When I ask my daughter how things are going at school, her voice tells me more than her words. “It’s all good,” she says with lukewarm enthusiasm. Obviously, it’s not.
Explaining her misgivings about some friends she thought she knew well, she reminds herself, “I’m disappointed, but I guess it just takes time to get to know people.”
It’s an important life lesson. We can’t know others based on first impressions or even on shared but limited experiences. We’re not friends because Facebook says so, or because we’ve hung out occasionally.
It simply takes time to get to know people well enough to truly discern their authentic character.
This lesson is as true in our national politics as it is in a college dorm.
I’ve always tried to view politicians as both officeholders and fellow citizens. As officeholders, I can vehemently disagree with their ideas and political points of view, but as fellow citizens, I appreciate their talents and personalities.
In fact, I’ve admired plenty of politicians whose policies I believe are pure hooey, and when he first appeared on the national scene, President Obama was among those.
I hoped that he looked at his fellow citizens in the same way – that while he won 52 percent of the popular vote for the presidency, he at least respected the 46 percent of us who didn’t elect him based on the fact that we strongly opposed his agenda.
I’m convinced now, though, that Mr. Obama holds in contempt anyone who disagrees with him. He pays lip service to the notion of “spirited debate,” but the truth is, he thinks those who espouse traditional values are just a bunch of uneducated bumpkins.
Case in point: When asked on Sunday by NBC newsman Brian Williams about his impression of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who gathered in Washington for conservative radio/TV host Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally, the president said, “I — I do think that it’s important for us to recognize that right now, the country’s going through a very difficult time, as a consequence of years of neglect in a whole range of areas. Our schools not working the way they need to, so we’ve slipped in terms of the number of college graduates, you know?... So, given all those anxieties…It’s not surprising that somebody like a Mr. Beck is able to stir up a certain portion of the country.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Obama used a lie to insult that “certain portion” of folks. The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reports record numbers of college graduates in the years from 1997 through 2008, a trend that continues.
He’s right about one thing; people are anxious and he’s the reason.