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"Disappointment with Obama"
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We attended the recent monthly informal meeting of the Humanist Society of New Mexico. More than thirty very aware and sensitive people sat in a large circle, and took turns saying what was on their minds. We were impressed with how many of the group expressed impatience and disappointment with President Barak Obama. It felt like an almost unanimous consensus.

We are pleased that the president is not G.W.Bush, nor John McCain. We are impressed with Obama's patience, his intelligence, his mastery of the English language, his good-natured optimism, and his coolness under fire. We agree that he is a marvelous human being, and wish him every success. But we are disappointed, and becoming impatient.

He came into our awareness with a message of hope, with promises of change. He stirred in us feelings of hope for change. But in several areas of concern, there has been no change, or not enough change.

  1. War and the war budget. One war seems to be winding down; the other is cranking up seriously. The total war budget is worse, i.e. bigger, than before. That isn't the change we hoped for.

  2. Banking. Greedy self-serving persons put the country and the world into the economic mess we are in. Greed was made into a virtue. "Greed above all," became a mantra. These same people have been rewarded with huge sums of government money -- bailouts for institutions which are regarded as "too big to fail." This kind of nonsense needs to change drastically. Restoring the old now-wrecked system is not the change we thought the candidate was referring to.

  3. Health care. Seventy-two percent of Americans want a single-payer system. Isn't that a majority? Bribery still prevails in Congress -- we thought the change that was promised included making bribery a crime again. What will happen when a critical mass, even more than 72%, of Americans figure this out? Will we get orange T-shirts and make the place look like the Ukraine? Shame on us, on all of us!

  4. Torture. This is the most serious disappointment and the most dangerous situation over the long run. It's not that we think that Obama himself believes that torture is permissible, or that it works at all, which it doesn't. We do believe that Obama is a morally upright human being who hates torture. Some of us are reading his book, DREAMS FROM MY FATHER, and are marveling that he is such a fine and amazing human being. But we are concerned that by not prosecuting those who justified and authorized and ordered torture Obama gives the appearance that he or someone high in the circle of his aides, someone we never heard of yet maybe, like Yoo, wants to keep torture in the presidential quiver of weapons that can be used at some time.

Used to do what? "Defend our country," they'll say. But they used it, when they used it, to get disinformation from their suffering victims, which they then used to justify the illegal, immoral unconstitutional invasion of Iraq. We'd have been better off without torture then and we don't need it now.

The failure to prosecute those who ordered torture makes it look like Obama or someone wants to keep it for future use. That puts all of us at risk, really. Most Americans do not think it is useful. Cheney won't tell us how and when and where torturing people saved thousands and hundreds of thousands of lives. We don't believe him. He hides behind "secrecy." But most Americans are catching on to this fraud. Scoundrels use secrecy to defend themselves from scrutiny and prosecution. Secrecy has become one more way for them to lie to us and to Congress.

Will awareness, and the indignation that goes with awareness, reach critical mass in this case, and bring about the change we hoped for? Or will the indignation dissipate with time, and we'll end up as a country with a badly deformed moral compass, which cannot be repaired with rhetoric and empty promises?

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Copyright © 2009 Harry Willson

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