Monday, November 23, 2009

I wrote to Neil Swidey in response to his article in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine entitled "Where's the poetry, Mr. President?"


I have VERY mixed emotions about Obama so far. The glow has gone out of his presidency, in my opinion. I do NOT like what I am seeing and I am sorely disappointed on many fronts. Time will tell as to how inspiring his presidency will be and how historians will view it. It is surely better than the alternative but, sadly, I think I will never see what I have always wanted to see and what my parents did see -- an FDR (flaws and all). Here is what I wrote.

Mr. Swidey: I agree with your article in the Sunday, Nov. 22 Globe Magazine. I have been an ardent Obama supporter. I have been moved to tears by some of his speeches especially the ones to which you refered. His win after Iowa made me become an ecstatic supporter and what I felt I wrote in a letter to the NYT which was printed.

Throughout the year, however, almost from his inauguration which held some disappointments such as the invitation to Rick Warren to speak, I have been feeling that something is missing. Something seems not quite right. Your article seemed to hit the proverbial nail on the head. The poetry has gone out of his speeches and a dull prose has taken its place. I worry that he is not what I thought he was. What happened? What went wrong? Why am I feeling this way? Since the inauguration my response when people ask my opinion about him is I simply do not know. People say he is so bright, people say he is so deliberative and yet he is doing things that the Barack Obama I knew and loved I thought he would never do.

I take issue with his economic team, I take issue with his possible escalation of war, I take issue with his anemic support of those who were his most ardent supporters. Moreover, I have not seen him run strongly with the public option ball. As a matter of fact he downright waffled on what he said was the most important aspect of health care. Where is the dynamism, where are the speeches that left me breathless? Where was the FDR for whom I yearned in contemporary time. I was thrilled and inspired when at Grant Park after his victory the earth seemed to move. It seemed a new America was born; an America I knew and an America I loved. It seemed the long dark Bush nightmare was over and we had America back again. And then, it stopped. The Wall Street economic team was chosen, transparency took a back seat, no accountability for the most egregious Bush illegal acts occurred. To the contrary holdovers from the Bush administration were selected for cabinet posts, hands reached out to Republicans who would not reach back. We heard birthers, death panels and the most vicious white racism with wingnuts carrying GUNS to where a president was speaking. It all went unaddressed by the man to whom those vicious slurs were addressed. Barack Obama seemed to go silent just when our liberal causes needed him to be the most vociferous. Where is he? I don't know.

Maybe he works behind the scenes, maybe there is more to it then my eye far away from Washington can see. The light that was Barack Obama for me has dimmed. You are right to ask where is the poetry? I would love to know if you find the answer to that. Globe Magazine article below.

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/magazine/articles/2009/11/22/wheres_the_poetry_mr_president/

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