WASHINGTON -- Regardless of station in life, faith or philosophy, unfulfilled expectations are the greatest cause of anger, frustration and discontent on the planet. That's true whether those expectations arise in the interaction of husbands and wives, parents and children, teachers and students, employers and employees, businesses and customers, leaders and the led or politicians and their constituents. President Barack Obama apparently doesn't grasp this fundamental truth of human nature.
Resolving the "friction" of unfulfilled expectations requires a straightforward recognition of personal responsibility for commitments -- perceived or real -- that have not been satisfied and a determination by the parties involved to do better in the future. My experience with this process with my wife, children and colleagues usually begins with an acknowledgment of mistakes or errors I have made and includes the words "I'm sorry" or a similar phrase.
When Mr. Obama was campaigning for president, he promised "hope" and "change." The majority of the American electorate believed these nebulous ideas would make life better for us and our children. We now know better.
Current poll numbers -- the lowest for any president at this point in office -- reflect the unfulfilled expectations of millions who voted for him. Yet the president's first State of the Union address indicates he still doesn't get it.
Absent from Mr. Obama's lengthy lecture to the assembled masses last Wednesday night was any recognition of personal failure or error or even the hint of an apology. Instead, he ascribes blame to his predecessors, his political opponents and even the Supreme Court for all our problems. Apparently, apologies still are reserved for our nation generally -- and are delivered in front of "blame America first" audiences overseas.
Worse, the president's efforts to deflect responsibility for his party's political reversals, our current economic travail, national security threats and foreign policy setbacks lead him to be disingenuous at best and downright deceptive at worst. Thankfully, not everyone gathered in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday night was willing to timidly "go along to get along."
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.