Last night, President Barack Obama delivered the State of the Union address. Today, millions of Americans will attack him. And so today I present to you a common-sense guide entitled:
Reasons You Should Give Obama a Break
1) The man spends his workdays genuinely attempting to solve issues for not only America, but the world. Big things. Things like immigration, foreign policy and international relations. Things like education, the economy, job growth, and sustainable energy. Now think of what’s on your daily to-do list. I don’t know about you, but some days I have a hard time just convincing myself to take a shower.
2) Chances are, he’s not the one you should be mad at. It isn’t just the President who runs the country, folks. He’s just one branch of a three branch system. And by the way, we vote for those people. Well, kind of. Quite frankly our voter turnout is pretty pathetic. About 30% of Americans don’t even bother. Malta rocks a 95% turnout. Malta! Do you even know where that is?! And for non-presidential elections, that number is even more frightening, in spite of the fact that it’s our local legislatures who make the most difference in our daily lives.
3) He’s just one guy. Yes, a big important guy that we expect to perform when we put him in office. But one guy nonetheless. It takes an entire government to make legislation. Even if Obama agrees with every single belief and agenda that you do, he is unable to get those things accomplished without the help of others. And those others tend to argue. A lot.
4) We have a lot of problems. And we can only work on so many at one time. Yes, immigration needs addressed. Yes, we need better education and a higher percentage of high school graduates. Yes, we absolutely need sustainable energy and jobs and infrastructure and lower national debt and on and on and on. Unfortunately, we can only do so much at once. Think about all the things you need to improve about your life and all the things on your to-do list. Aren’t you incredibly overwhelmed and amazingly ineffective if you go at them all instantly and with equal fervor? Now increase the urgency on them by 1000%, add millions of people who think you should start their action item first, and only give yourself 4 years (minus campaigning) to accomplish all of them.
5) He has an incredibly difficult job. Have you ever considered that in the midst of all this, he’s just a human? He’s just a dude. A regular dude trying to solve the problems of an entire country and somehow find time to be with his family. Every single thing he does is scrutinized. Even his iPod playlist. That’s right: We got on Clinton for sex in the Oval Office, and we go after Obama for his affection for Lil Wayne and Nas.
6) He has to know a lot of stuff. Because we pretty much expect him to know everything, don’t we? Think about how much you paid attention in your Civics, World History, and Politics classes. Everything you ignored you expect him to know.
7) He can’t fool around. If he doesn’t do what the President is expected to do, no one else can step up and complete the task for him. Think of all the things you put off at work. Think about the time you spend browsing on the Internet or checking your phone or having a headache or being cranky. Think about the tasks you are assigned that sit on the back burner or hide in a drawer or you convince someone else to do. A lot of those things just simply aren’t options when you’re the leader of an entire nation.
8 ) He can’t stutter. How are you in front of crowds? How about big ones? How about big ones full of important people, some of whom hate you before you even speak your mind? The number one phobia in America is still public speaking, and that typically refers to speaking up in small crowds, standing in front of auditoriums, or simply stating ideas aloud for criticism. Now think about all the words you mispronounce, the pressure you feel when you have to answer a tough, unexpected question, and how difficult it is for you to write a speech. You don’t expect him to have those problems.
9) Americans aren’t doing much to help. Well, some are. Are you? When you were upset about health care reform (either its enactment or its repeal), did you complain to your friends and neighbors or did you call your representative? If you think illegal immigrants should get the boot, have you done any sort of research to realize what that entails? Have you come up with any ideas? Because I don’t know if you’ve been listening, but the President has been asking for ideas ever since he entered the office.
10) No, really – Americans aren’t doing much to help. Not just with ideas, but with doing our part. Volunteer locally. Donate or rally for causes you support. Go get some exercise and help cut down your state’s disgusting obesity rate (which is hanging at above 20% unless you’re from Colorado or D.C.). Pick up a piece of litter. Recycle. Don’t drive somewhere if you can walk there. Help someone. Encourage others to do the same. We’re all suppose to be trying to make things better, not just staring at a bunch of old farts on Capitol Hill and waiting for one of them to turn into our nation’s fairy godmother. ♣