President Obama enjoying his vacation on Matrha's Vineyard, August 2011
In a country that prizes itself for the exceptional freedom of speech, people who dare to criticize President Obama are usually decried as bigots and racists. The critics usually come from the conservative camp and have to face the most acrid accusations.
But what happens when the liberals voice their dissatisfaction with Obama's performance?
Only few days ago a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Maxine Waters, criticized President for his inattention to the problems of black Americans. The unemployment among Blacks is around 16% and many black communities are on the verge of a total collapse.
And yet, President, who went on a three-day bus tour across the Midwest, did not even schedule a single visit with the black communities there. Instead, he re-visited picture-perfect communities where the satisfied white voters did not have any complaints and were most likely to vote for him again in 2012.
An even stronger blow came from the liberal economist Jeffrey Sachs who is a Director of an Earth Institute at the Columbia University. Here is what he said on Friday, August 19 on the MSNBC's "Morning Joe" show:
“We’re almost three years into this administration, and there’s never been a plan. And that’s what everybody feels. And the president didn’t lead. He waited. The quintessential image, sadly, of an administration that I supported and hoped for much better, is the president waiting by the phone to hear what Congress calls to tell him. It doesn’t work in this country that way. It’s not a matter that it’s August. It’s a matter that it’s August 2011. So we’ve been drifting for a very long time. And we’ve been drifting down. And we had a short-term plan that failed. A short-term stimulus that was supposed to get the economy back on track, but it failed. And now we have nothing behind it. And we have no agreements, and we have no leadership. And, frankly, I do think it’s pretty odd the president’s on vacation right now. Normally I wouldn’t care about such things, but the world markets are in deep crisis. It’s no joke. This isn’t just an up-and-down little blip. This is a very serious situation.”
This must come as a shock to the Obama supporters. And it almost sounds like the critique that was made by the Gov. Mitt Romney:
"You asked the question why was he so misguided for the last, well almost three years? You know, he came into office and job one was to get America working again, but instead of focusing on that, he focused on Obamacare, cap and trade, and Dodd-Frank bill and all these other things he wanted to do and each of those made the economy softer; made it harder for us to recover and, you know, I think the reason he’s taking the time to wait for his next speech on the economy is that he, frankly, doesn’t know what to do. He hasn’t spent his life in the private sector. He doesn’t understand how jobs come and go. And, he’s looking for help. And the right answer is for him to step aside and let somebody help guide the nation that understands how this economy works.”
Romney and Sachs come from two different political camps and yet, they both express the growing dissatisfaction with Obama's performance in Office.
No one accuses Rep. Waters or Professor Sachs of racism, though. Not yet. And probably never because they both are the "benevolent" critics exercising their right to criticize the President for his ineptitude.
The use of double standards is disconcerting. It is simply part of the game. And the game is dirty! If you are a conservative in America today, you have to watch your mouth. This isn't right. And it isn't fair. The conservatives have the same right to express their displeasure as everyone else.
The liberals, who believe that they are living on a higher moral and intellectual plane, are creating a personality cult. Obama cannot be criticized much like the megalomaniac personalities in the East: Mao, Stalin, Ceaușescu, or Kim. No offense, comrades, but politicians are human and they make mistakes. They should be held accountable for their mistakes.
A democracy has at least one great advantage over any totalitarian regime. People are free to express their dissatisfaction with the elected leaders. Protecting a failed politician from a justified critique only does him a big disservice. Self-reflection is a seldom virtue in elected officials and should be encouraged. Instead, the apologetic flatterers try to shut up anyone who dares to disagree with them. But the emperor has no clothes and more and more people can see it.
By Dominique Allmon ©2011
Image by Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press