The Hard Way
by Michael Maynard
July 10, 2014

The election of President Barack Hussein Obama provided hope, especially to Latino Americans, after eight years of George W. Bush. After six years in office, Obama has greatly disappointed Latinos. He now has a chance to change that.

Show a little inspiration, show a little spark
And show that things that drew me to you and stole my heart
And tell me something I don’t know instead of everything I do
And look at me as if I mean something to you.

“The Hard Way”
Song and Lyrics by Mary Chapin Carpenter
Published by EMI Music Publishing.

To the liberals and progressives who helped get President Barack Hussein Obama elected twice, he still represents a riddle wrapped in mystery inside an enigma. The man who represented hope and change, after 8 years of the dismal economic, domestic and international policies of the Bush/Cheney administration, was perceived as failing them soon after taking office. What happened to the man who promised hope?

Now, he knew it wasn’t going to be easy. Amidst the talk of hope in his first campaign, Obama was couching his idea of hope in very pragmatic terms.

He wrote about this in his book “The Audacity of Hope”.

I wonder, sometimes, whether men and women in fact are capable of learning from history–whether we progress from one stage to the next in an upward course or whether we just ride the cycles of boom and bust, war and peace, ascent and decline.

And now you are being questioned about whether you are capable of understanding that passage, too, Mr. President.

Show a little passion, baby, show a little style
And show the knack for knowing when and the gift for knowing how
And have a little trust in us when fear obscures the path
You know we got this far, darling, not by luck, but by never turning back.

Despite running a campaign in sync with the emotional state of the voters, since he has been in office, his administration seems to have an aversion to promoting the benefits of its policies and presenting its goals and objectives in terms that resonate with average Americans. As I have written about at length, and have no desire to write about again, the Obama Administration made the massive project of implementing the technology part of the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) seem a lot easier, at first, and later a lot more difficult, than it should have been. If there was detailed public explanation of what was going to happen before each part was started, including a presentation of what was needed to be done technologically, then the implementation might have been better understood and accepted.

Putting politics aside, I do appreciate and understand Obama. He’s a rational pragmatist like myself. A rational pragmatist is someone who uses intellect instead of emotions to analyze a situation, form conclusions, and determine a plan of action. Now that can be very frustrating to those who operate more emotionally. I’ve been accused of being uncaring and insensitive, especially by employees of my clients who did not like my recommendations and plans. It is not that I don’t care, but that I care too much. If I let my guard down and my emotions go, then my abilities to get done what is needed to be done is usually compromised severely. The President almost always cannot act on his own emotions or too quickly to on-going situations. I don’t think we often understand nor fully appreciate the complexities he has to deal with: the legal restraints, the inter- and intra-issue interactions and always, the political considerations.

It is the political considerations where Obama has not done well, and to me, that is all too understandable. Pragmatic rationalists tend to think that others should automatically understand the correctness and goodness of our ideas and recommendations. The idea that we need to explain in detail and then convince others to take action upon those ideas, especially when things need to get done immediately, seems not necessary, time-wasting and counter-productive. Obama has still not mastered the art of using his bully pulpit. 

For a multi-racial man who had a lot of changes in his early life to become a Harvard Law graduate, Harvard Law professor, Illinois state senator, United States Senator and now President is a remarkable story of personal achievement. Many people have seen and respond to the intellect and under-the-surface passion for him to achieve so much, so quickly.

Where presidential candidate William Jefferson Clinton was the Man From Hope, presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama was the Man Of Hope, the hip 21st century president of the new multi-racial majority America.

Caught up in our little lives, there’s not a lot left over
I see what’s missing in your eyes; you’re searching for that field of clover
So show a little inspiration, show a little spark
Show the world a little light when you show it your heart

Granted that when he first took office, his administration had a myriad of issues to address, none more urgent than the Great Recession with massive unemployment and the collapse of the housing market it caused.


There was the spiraling inflation of health care being spurred on by the costly visits of the uninsured to the emergency room. If the rate of inflation wasn’t slowed, the cost of federal healthcare was likely to bankrupt the federal government in the not-so-distant future.

There were two unnecessary wars started by the previous administration that were being primarily fought and paid for by the United States. This, combined with the Great Recession, caused a spike in the federal deficit. The deficit has been halved and there is talk of budget surpluses starting in 2020.

Budget Deficit Outlook Through 2020

There was the culture wars being fought over women’s reproductive rights, equal pay for equal work, gay marriage, marijuana legalization and incarceration of black males and youths. The quality of education has gone down. There are always troubles in the Middle East and with Russia. As always, the issues involving Central and Latin America get ignored. And there is the biggest issue of all, the one that threatens human existence: climate change.

For the most part, the Obama Administration has done pretty well in dealing with these issues or at least has begun addressing them in a responsible manner. Many, especially Senator Elizabeth Warren, have questioned the handling of housing crisis and financial industry collapse and rightly so. The first term Obama Administration’s financial team was too heavily populated with those with direct ties to the banking and financial industry.

However, Obama did support Warren’s idea to create the Consumer Financial Protection Agency and signed the watered-down Dodd-Frank financial industry reform bill, which removed much of the oversight of the financial industry’s speculative trading and investments of  depositor’s money. And while all of this has been going on around him, he appears to be a good husband, father and dog owner. He’s kept his sense of humor despite being buffeted by a sea of troubles.

But there is a crisis of large scale proportions not being addressed, one that is challenging and questioning the heart and soul of the Obama Administration.

Our hearts are beating while we sleep, but while we’re wide awake
You know the world won’t stop, and actions speak louder
We’ve got two lives, one we’re given and the other one we make
And the world won’t stop, and actions speak louder
Listen to your heart, and your heart might say:

Latinos have been strong supporters of Barack Obama and were critical to his election and reelection.


But now, to many Latinos, he is The Deporter In Chief.

Obama Deportations Graph

Obama Vs. Bush Deportations Graph

Some will call on destiny, but I just call on faith
That the world won’t stop, and actions speak louder
Listen to your heart, to what your heart might say

This week, the President was in Texas in meetings about the immigration crisis. As of now, he is not scheduled to visit any of the facilities where the children are being housed nor going to the border area where the children are crossing. Once again, the President is treating this situation intellectually, when showing his humanity by meeting the children is needed and necessary, if only to show that he is personally aware of this crisis. His well-known enmity of Latinos demeans him.

Once again, the President’s reliance on his intellect and not his heart is causing him to do this the hard way.

Everything we got, we got the hard way
Everything we got, we got the hard (everything we got, we got the hard way)
Everything we got, we got the hard way
(Because the world won’t stop) hang on, baby

 

No, the world doesn’t stop,not even for the most powerful man of that world. The world doesn’t stop, even though the legitimacy of his Presidency is being challenged by a mendacious House of Representatives . The world doesn’t stop, even though a group extremely wealthy, extremely conservative, and extremely racist men and women, want a social and economic return to the 1950s, have influenced a majority of Supreme Court justices into supporting their corpocracy. The challenges and crisis never stop.

It was destiny and fate for a mixed-race rational pragmatist to become president of the United States. It is time for the human being to act in the children’s best interest. Deporting them back to drug cartel war zones is the hard-hearted and in the un-American way. Yes, he is acting to the letter of the law passed during the Bush Administration. Yes, he pledged to get the Dream Act passed. But let’s get real – that legislation was about cherry-picking the best and brightest born in other countries.

Mr. President, while your upbringing was not optimum, compared to the lives of these children of Honduras, El Salvador and other South American countries, you had it easy. These children, who risked their lives to come to the country where they will be safe, did it the hard way.

Columnist/Journalist/Writer/Book Editor Co-Founder/CEO of Azimuth Partners, high tech consulting firm for 30+ years. Former columnist for the Washington Post/Newsweek syndicate.

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