On the radio the other day, a newscaster said, “President Obama has been in office for a year now …” Excuse me, what?
She was leading into another point she wanted to make about how little movement there has been in certain areas in this first year of the Obama presidency. And, while I can agree that there are areas in which I had hoped to see more movement (or any real movememt), her throw-away line about him being in office for a year stopped me. A year? Really? Is she high? Ah, no, excuse me. This is just the current spin.
When Obama was awarded the Nobel Prize last month (something my brain has still not quite processed), the outcry was that he’d barely been in office eight months. Now, three weeks later, he’s suddenly in office for a year? That kind of math makes my head hurt. And this kind of casual slanting of information, “innocently” scattering these “truthy facts” pisses me off. In the moment, saying the president has been in office for a year fits better with the angle this reporter wants for her story. But does that make bending the actual fact ok?
Here’s an actual fact: a year ago today, I joined millions of other Americans and elected Barack Hussein Obama to the presidency of these United States. (N.B. Elected one year ago, not in office one year ago. Just saying.) That was a pretty excellent day. I was so giddy, I photographed my vote:
And now it’s a year later, nine months into Mr. My New President’s term, and … ? Well, it’s not all brilliant. I haven’t changed my mind. My goodness, no. I’m still quite happy to have BHO as my president, much happier than I would have been to have the McCain/Palin machine smiling malevolently over me and mine. Still. There’s more I’m wishing for.
I want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed. I want to see the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I want to see a little more aggressively progressive movement and a little less waiting for bi-partisanship that isn’t coming. I want a true public option. I want … well, you know, all those things I heard about during the campaign.
(And, too, I want to hear more from Michelle. I get that she has children to raise, and I love that she’s doing that. But she’s a smart, well-spoken woman, and I want to hear more about her than gardening and wardrobe. Also, I want her to be photographed with people of normal height so that she can stop being shown as a giantess. Seriously. Who knew there were so many 5-foot tall people who could line up for photo ops with the first lady?)
Nine months in, am I disappointed with my president? On DADT, yes. Compared to everything else on his plate, that is surely the the easiest promise to keep. We’ve been hearing since January how he’s going to end DADT … well, it’s many months later and he’s still making speeches about how he’s going to end DADT. Well, when? And DOMA disappoints me, too. I know he doesn’t support gay marriage. But why not? Why not? But am I disappointed overall? Hardly. I’m extremely happy about the Hate Crimes Act that Obama signed last week (as a nation, we’re eleven years late on this one — thirteen if we go back past Matthew Shepard’s murder to James Byrd’s). So, no, I’m not disappointed overall. I just want him to be more like the president I elected. And more quickly. The spinning will continue — in all possible directions — but I want to see BHO stay the course he set out during the campaign. He’s got that Nobel to live up to, after all.