Ithaca Blog

Friday, May 15, 2009

It Takes A Lot To Lead, It Takes Dick Cheney To Mislead

A corollary to the idea that it takes a lot to laugh, but not much to cry (yesterday's discussion) is that it's a lot easier to do bad than good.

Doing good is relatively static and cumulative. It's hard to do a whole lot of noticeable good at once. You can in sports, where with one stroke you can win a contest and make people love you, and they even keep records of it. But of course it's not a very important kind of good.

Doing bad is more immediate. It's explosive. It satisfies itches, from the simple and biological, to the complex and pathological.

Thus, in public life, it is easier to be Dick Cheney than Barack Obama.

Barack Obama is obviously not antithetical to money and power, but his values seem higher, reflecting a background battling poverty and prejudice. His successes have been in spite of challenges, not because of privilege. Against the odds, he went to Harvard Law School. He graduated at the top of his class. He went to work not on Wall Street, but as a community organizer.

That type of character makes it harder to get things done in politics than for a man like Cheney, where lust for money and power fuels a career of destruction, lying, and hate.

Obama is having a hard time finding his way now that he represents insiders at least as much as outsiders. This is why he doesn't support single-payer health care anymore, as he did as a community organizer. Now he has to represent the current health care industry as well as people, and the industry is rather more focused in its demands and its ability to extract them.

It seems the thing for us to do now is to recognize the realities of power, and keep calling out, so Obama might recall his way of old.

Steve Burke
for Ithaca NY Blog

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