I hate labels. I am a firm believer that if a person labels someone else as being something, the labeler stops seeing that person as being an individual and rather tends to begin to color all of their actions as being part of the label.
This also applies to labels applied to self. When we label ourselves, we, to a certain extent, stop thinking and suddenly start taking some of the labels tenets a gospel. Labels can be convenient shortcuts. So easy is it to forget that they are no more than that.
That said, let me give the audience some shortcuts about me. I am not a liberal, and I am most certainly not a socialist. I am not even a centrist. My political leanings tend to be to the right, for the most part. I have described myself in the past as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. By all rights, this would make me libertarian, except that most libertarian ignore there own doctrine and are best described as fruitcakes.
I say this in preamble because I am about to make a confession that will shock many of you. I am a dedicated Rush Limbaugh radio listener. I started listening back in the days of the Gulf War. He was the only one who seemed to be talking sense at the time. To me the war was obvious and necessary. It seemed to me that most of the other radio station hosts were trying desperately to find reasons to be against it.
Rush is not, by any definition, an unintelligent man. Those who don’t listen to him tend to stereotype him as a closed-minded, hate mongering bigot, which he is most certainly not. He is conservative, and holds conservative ideals close to his heart. While I don’t agree with much of what he says, I will say that what he says usually has sound reasoning behind it. I can’t say the same thing for other conservative hosts, such as Sean Hannity. Honestly, I don’t listen to him as often, but his commitment to dogma seams to be much more ingrained, and, dare I say, somewhat forced? Sean has become, or at least acts, as the label ha has placed upon himself.
But this post is about the Conservative reaction to Barack Obama. I knew of the liberal reputation of Obama, and even as he spoke I could hear a certain naivete in his words. I voted for him anyway. Me, a conservative, small government supporter, voting for a man who seemed to advocate government as the solution to everything.
And that is what the conservatives see — ALL that they see. What I see is a young, somewhat naive, but very, very intelligent politician. I see Obama as a man who is not fixed in his way of thinking but is open to knew ideas. I see him as a man who can be told a simple truth and who is capable of recognizing it. I see him as a man who is an optimist, and a man who has the gift to be brutally honest without alienating his supporters. I saw, and still see, in Obama perhaps the most intelligent, most humble president we’ve ever had.
Rush has been unable to see any of this. For the first time since I’ve been listening to him, he’s actually been sounding positively apoplectic, willing to grasp at any straw in order to evilize Obama. He has struck home and made some decent points on occassion. For the most part, however, he seems to be stuck more into his own caricature, i.e. Liberalism is evil, Obama is Liberal, therefore…
I missed Rush’s reaction to Obama’s inaugural address. I was able to tune in for a bit yesterday. Rush was uncertain what to make of Obama’s executive order regarding Gitmo. When he was making the announcement of the order’s specifics, Obama kept referring to his legal adviser…the actual author of the plan, for details. Rush said he has never seen another President do this, and how was he supposed to feel confident in a President who wasn’t even sure what his executive order was all about.
What I saw was simple delegation and trust that his advisers had done their job properly. Obama had no doubt read over and approved the plan, but because it had happened so fast he didn’t remember all the details, so when talking about it, he turned to a man who did. I would far rather he do this than give out possible false or incomplete information, or to waste time committing every detail to memory when the full details could be just as well explained by asking a few questions of someone else during a pres conference. For Rush, this was another reason to doubt. For me, it was just another reason why I maintain faith in the man. He is a leader. That means hiring good people and knowing how to manage them and get good answers from them. It does not necessarily mean having all the answers yourself.
As for Gitmo, no matter what your beliefs in the justification of the actions taken there, the fact of the matter is is that it has garnered the reputation that seems to have placed a black smear on the American soul. Whether the reputation is fair or not is irrelevant. The place NEEDS to be closed on the basis of that reputation alone.
Still, Rush Limbaugh seems to be willing, deep inside, to give Obama a chance. He expects him to screw up, but Rush is smart enough to know that even he would be stretching it to continue to call Obama the epitome of Liberal Evil. Sean Hannity…well, I don’t know him as well, but from what I heard from him he seems so unreasonable yet so intelligent that I almost have to believe that the man is more interested in his reputation and ratings then he is in expressing the truth.
I sincerely hope that I have not misplaced my trust. Obama will make errors. That he believes the problem with the car companies is the fact that they haven’t been making enough green cars is very naive. That he has bought into the mass insanity that is global warming is disappointing but not surprising. The world of manufacturing is going “green” on its own, finding profits to be made in that direction as well, so perhaps this will not be a bad thing. Even though I am far from convinced that global warming even exists, I am in favor of clean air and recycling and less oil dependency. Ultimately this leads to similar results. I would prefer that Obama not try to rush the world into something it’s not ready for and cause financial instability in the process.
So, let us hope for a better, stronger future. Let us hope that Obama never labels himself and stops thinking in the process. Let us hope that others are able to break their self labels and begin to think again.
Love, peace, and all that good shit.