According to a recent poll, Americans (at least, those polled) are becoming disillusioned with the hopes and dreams promised to them by Obama when he ran for office. Or, to put it more bluntly: Americans (i.e. those polled) are becoming more and more impatient in waiting for the fruits of the (overly) touted ‘change’ which so dominated Obama’s campaign. The obvious question would be: what is causing this disillusionment? While I have my own perspective to this question, three options should be noted first with regard to this issue of ‘change’:
- The promised change was nothing more than a politcal claim made for the sake of winning voters. If we honestly think that politicians do not say things in order to win an election, then we are sadly foolish. (The first half of this statement is not meant to be all-inclusive; it simply notes a general tendency which has become a part of the political landscape). If this is the case, then the fault really goes both ways–i.e. the POTUS who duped everyone and the voters who actually believed the rhetoric of change.
- The promised change is not what people expected. This should be considered a likely possibility, especially since the definition of ‘change’ was both ambiguous and self-fulfilling (i.e. the definition kept changing) throughout the campaign. Such things generally lead people to create ideas of their own, which often times end up not being in line with what actually occurs.
- The promised change simply has not arrived yet. It is nearly axiomatic that the effects of decisions/plans made during one administration are not often felt until the next. Thus, the full effect of the change is still in process.
However, I wonder if the cause for the disillusionment also stands behind these three options? The cause I have in mind is the (modern) ever-growing propensity for impatience. Or, to come at this from another direction: the cultural fascination with ‘entitlement’ and immediate self-gratification has instilled–knowingly or not–a general attitude of impatience. (Sadly, in some recent advertisements, this attitude of impatience is being highly praised, glorified, and depicted as normative and even virtuous). Thus, when things do not happen when we want them to happen and not in way we want them, we throw up our arms in disgust and with feelings of betrayal–both of which typically have no justification. And when such things happen, it is no small wonder that real progress (or, dare I say ‘change’?) becomes stymied and things of lasting value remain elusive.
Best case scenario would be the third option. While I do not agree politically with Obama on a few issues, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt with what he plans to do. More times than not, strategies and decisions made by individuals in ‘power’ tend to be either confusing or misunderstood by those not in ‘power’. The cause for both the confusion and misunderstanding is the same: there is a much bigger picture to be considered, and those without a national vantage point are simply unable to see the details of that bigger picture. Or, to change the metaphor a little: those in valley do not have the perspective of the one on a hill. The decisions, guidance, and direction given by the one on the hill might appear to be meaningless, irrational, and even dangerous for the one in the valley; but again, the interpretation of the one in the valley is based on a limited perspective. Patience must be exercised in the face of the seemingly meaningless, irrational, and dangerous. Impatience makes matters worse.