Terry Paulson
Even with all the awards and accolades our president has already received for "talking about" change, hope, diplomacy and peace, President Obama seems to know little about being a change agent, about building hope in anything but getting a government stimulus "bailout," or about seeking "peace" through bipartisan diplomacy with those Americans who disagree with his policies.

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He's eager for diplomatic talks with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chávez, but talking to Fox News, that evil conservative cable network, is just out of the question. He says that he's everyone's president, except of course those "Tea Party" radicals controlled by conservative talk-show hosts. For all his silvery talk about openness, transparency and bipartisanship, President Obama is acting more like a Chicago political-machine steamroller-"It's my way, or you become part of the highway!"

Bipartisanship to Washington liberals seems to be an invitation for conservatives to go along or get out of the way-vote with us for healthcare reform or we'll change the rules and use the 'nuclear' option! If Republicans and conservative Democrats won't help those pushing for sixty Senate votes, they'll use the "reconciliation shuffle" to garner 50% of the votes in both houses to force their way!

Such win-at-all-cost change agents may win a key vote, but they may very well look back at such a victory as the day the tide of America's culture war turned against them. Losers don't forget heavy-handed leaders. They don't just get mad; they go to the polls to turn the rascals out!

When you initiate change, conflict goes with the territory. Even amateur leaders know you don't shoot the messenger or silence dissent. President Obama might learn from Abraham Lincoln when he counseled, "I don't like that man. I must get to know him better." True change agents invite dissent. They don't avoid or in any way demean those who disagree. They honor them for caring enough to openly fight for what they believe in. They meet with them, listen to their ideas and search for valuable ideas to incorporate into a workable plan more can support.

Terry Paulson

Terry Paulson, PhD is a psychologist, award-winning professional speaker, author of The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results, and long-time columnist for the Ventura County Star.

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