Monday, February 23, 2009

When Love Is Blind

To update an observation first made by veteran war correspondent Quentin Reynolds about General Douglas MacArthur, President Barack Obama seems to need more protection from his friends than from his enemies.

Case in point: ABC journalist Terry Moran was interviewed last week about his experiences reporting on President Obama, and the ongoing media coverage in general. If you missed the 15-minute conversation, you can listen to it here, (transcript here) but meanwhile here's the highlight:

"I like to say that, in some ways, Barack Obama is the first President since George Washington to be taking a step down into the Oval Office. I mean, from visionary leader of a giant movement, now he's got an executive position that he has to perform in, in a way, and I think the coverage reflects that."

True faith embraces doubt, it doesn't reject it, just as true love needs an embrace that can grow large enough to somehow include both the bad and the good parts of the soul it reaches for... it doesn't pretend that the bad does not, cannot, exist, in that which it admires.

What kind of love is that?

So Obama doesn't have much experience; why not just admit the truth, why is it necessary to concoct this preposterous fable of historical equivalency? Moran's fantasy world does Obama no favors, for how could uncritical praise, buttressed with wishful thinking rather than rueful reality, be of more service to Obama than attempts to help him see the error of his ways when he inevitably makes his mistakes. When a lover sees the bad as well as the good within the other soul it embraces, it opens up an opportunity for one of the greatest gifts that love can offer: forgiveness.

For all their professed adoration of the man, this is the one treasure his followers have so far denied him, because they can't bring themselves to admit he's not the mighty man with the perfect resume they insist that he must be. A soul that never makes mistakes, never gets to be shown mercy. So far, Obama's fan base gives him excuses, not mercy.

There's a difference between forgiveness and making excuses. We may forgive someone for their willful acts, but excuses seek to deny the free will that souls surely have, no matter their experiences. If right and wrong, good and bad, better and worse, are to mean anything, then excuses are no excuse.

Can those smitten by this love affair with Obama be motivated by feeling an inability to forgive themselves their own faults? Are The One's followers continually elevating their image of Obama upon ever higher pedestals so that eventually he will be placed at Olympian heights of such distance that his adoring public would no longer be able to perceive who they are looking at..? Is Obama cursed to be forever placed outside of the reach of a merciful embrace, so that those who love him can keep themselves from having to admit they've made an error of judgment?

If that's the case, is Obama truly the leader of a movement, as Moran says, or has he become instead, its prisoner...?

1 comment:

truepeers said...

Forgiveness, as I understand it, basically entails giving away some of your resentment, in the realization that nothing good can be done with it; it can't motivate a productive change in you or anyone, and so you find the courage to let go of it, to give up your investment in it and make a donation of it, to God say.

In other words, you accept the world can't be perfect and you stop letting it eat away at your perfectionist instincts. The problem with Obama in this regard is twofold: 1) he based his campaign on being the opposite of George Bush in everything; and so 2) he invokes the opposite of BDS; the aura of the Gnostic saint who alone has the special key to redeeming a fallen world and returning us to the way things are supposed to be.

If your resentment is so fiercely wrapped up in BDS, you can't give it away without radically changing your own identity, without going through some kind of personal conversion to a more realistic view of the world. "Forgive Bush? Are you kidding?" And if your idea of love is a form of Gnosticism, you may be too full of righteous pride to question your holy one, because you desperately need a special one to believe in.

It's hard for many to accept they live in a fallen world; it's hard for them to find the forgiveness they need to be free of unproductive resentment.