Context matters, and one man’s big picture is just another man’s tiny slice of life.
For most of us, the Office of the Presidency is a context in and of itself, the most powerful position in the free world. Our current president, however, believes the position is his rightful reward for a previous job well done. In the context of his own experience, it’s easy to see why he has come to that conclusion.
Obama grew up in an era when the country was determined to assuage it’s guilt for earlier transgressions by overcompensating in the opposite extreme. People of color were given jobs they weren’t qualified for, promotions they didn’t earn, and salaries above their pay grade, simply because we were compelled by law to consider race in our hiring practices, medical treatments, college applications, housing and mortgages, and every other aspect of business and education. Ironic that the very laws of affirmative action that were supposed to help us become colorblind as a nation forced us to consider race in absolutely everything we did in our daily lives.
The result is a man who has never had to work that hard to be recognized as “exceptional.” He merely fit into that slot that required all those special dispensations to be handed to him by virtue of the fact that he was half-black, not rich, had a single mom, grew up with his grandparents, the list goes on. Everything has come easy to him because an eager white population wanted to prove that they weren’t racist, even though it often meant lowering standards in order to compensate for lower abilities. Now, perhaps Barack Obama truly is an exceptional person in his own right. Would he have come so far without all of the extra handouts he had been given over the years? Because of affirmative action, we’ll never know.
Meanwhile, we have a President that has always had things come easy to him, whose self-esteem has been manufactured by a merit-less society (like playing soccer without keeping score), and who is unaware of just how much of his success is the result of the handicap (golf-style) that he’s been given. Yes, he worked hard during his Presidential campaign, and he became good at it. But in his mind, the fact that he won is no surprise, he’s won at just about everything else he’s done. He had the foresight after his first election failure in Illinois to hire the right people who then struck out to market him like a product, selling him to the masses like a new kind of cereal that would be all things to all people.
So it really should come as no surprise that he views his presidency not as being handed the toughest and most challenging job in the world, but as a reward that he naturally deserved. Rewards are supposed to be fun and worry-free, which is exactly how he is behaving. His much criticized aloofness, his lack of leadership, his disengagement with current events, his determination to go on personal vacations in spite of multiple crises, his basketball picks. These are all symptomatic of a man who isn’t doing the job for which he’s been hired, but merely enjoying the perks that come with it, for as long as it lasts. Fortunately for the tax-paying employer, who cannot otherwise fire this deadbeat employee, our Constitution gives us the chance to do so in November 2012. Let’s just hope the ship of state hasn’t been sunk by this absent Captain before then.