It is, frankly, a particularly bitter taste of disappointment to realize how ineffective — nay, even detrimental —were the neo-liberal idealisms of this man. I supported him in both of his elections, cried rivers of joy at his first election, and made my first-ever donations to a politician (two cycles x $250 — a whole-month’s monk’s salary each time!) by believing so strongly in his possibility to transform things radically. I shared clips of his speeches quite often, believing in a new bodhisattva-model of a politician. I still cite several stories about him in my public talks. I admire him, still, for much.
I know he was up against a wall of out-and-out nativist opposition, and a united right-wing media the likes of which had never been amassed against one politician before, anywhere.
I know he raised fuel efficiency standards for automobiles, and did some EPA-tweaking on methane-recapture, and denied a few drilling permits in some of the national parks. His expansion of tax credits for renewables was very, very laudatory. This is all very well and good. But they seem now like fops to his environmentalist-base. He was never, ever able to go to the source.
A great man he was and is. But for the most pressing issue of our time, he really showed that even the best intentions don’t really accomplish much, if you are not absolutely passionate and ruthless about achieving it. Neoliberal political thinking coupled with corporate-media self-interest meant that he needed to pander to oil industry types to gain his office. And pander he did. He would never frighten their lucrative system. He was a smiling dentist who cured a root canal with a whitening-job and a few gold caps.
The clip, below, embodies a key part of what sours me, looking back at Obama.