President Obama is running for re-election in 2012. If you're thinking, "Tell us something that is news," here you go. Even in his campaign video, he's saying it's OK if you don't love him. The president is openly allowing people to criticize him in his own campaign video.
In a video dubbed "It Begins With Us," a host of supporters are driving home the message that he's got a country to run, so it's up to US to get him re-elected. But the one voice that stands out is a man named Ed from North Carolina. Because Ed is an Obama supporter, but he's no puppet. And the Obama campaign is completely OK with that. Says Ed:
I don't agree with Obama on everything. But I respect him and I trust him.
There. That's what we look for in a politician. Not a yes man who stands in front of us and tells us what we want to hear so we can agree with him (or her) on every single issue. No, the politicians who make us happy 100 percent of the time are lying to us and lying to themselves. Because it's human nature to cultivate opinions based on personal experience, and no two people have the same personal experiences -- not even identical twins.
In the past two and a half years, President Obama hasn't made me happy every day. There have been days when I've been downright pissed off. When he appointed Ben Bernanke and Tim Geithner to "watch over" our money, I did the typical American unhappy with her president grumbling about moving to Canada. Then I got over it. Because according to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 311,102,692 Americans. He serves all of them, not just me. He has to try to make all of them happy at least some of the time, not just me.
Unfortunately, as Americans, we've lost the ability to balance our views and allow for disagreement. Between pundits screaming at us on TV and Internet debates that devolve into vicious, hate-filled rants, the death knell for civil discourse seems to have sounded sometime in the late '90s. And that goes for our politicians too. You're either with them or against them. Disagree, and you're branded unpatriotic, a terrorist. You can't simply be an American, with the Constitutionally-protected right to free speech.
That hive mindset has compromised one of the most valuable of American rights: our ability to cast a vote for our politicians. It's left us feeling too often like we vote against someone rather than for them, that we are picking the lesser of two evils.
But here's what you can take from Barack Obama's campaign video. There are no perfect politicians. You won't agree 100 percent of the time. And that's OK. He didn't promise to make me happy all of the time. He left room for disagreement:
It's too early to tell if he'll get my vote in 2012, but President Obama did something greater than securing votes with this video. He reminded me it isn't about ME; it's about WE, the entire country, and some compromise.
What do you think of the video? Were you surprised the announcement came now?
Image via YouTube