Obama Will Triumph — So Will America, By Frank Schaeffer

Before he’d served even one year President  Obama lost the support of the easily distracted left and engendered the white hot rage of the hate-filled right. But some of us, from all walks of  life and ideological backgrounds — including this white, straight,  57-year-old, former religious right wing agitator, now progressive writer and (given my background as the son of a famous evangelical leader) this unlikely Obama supporter — are sticking with our President.

Why?–  because he is succeeding.


We faithful Obama supporters still trust  our initial impression of him as a great, good and uniquely qualified man  to lead us.


Obama’s steady supporters will be proved right.  Obama’s critics will be remembered as easily panicked and prematurely  discouraged at best and shriveled hate mongers at worst.


The Context of the Obama  Presidency


Not since the days of the rise of fascism in  Europe , the Second World War and the Depression has any president faced  more adversity. Not since the Civil War has any president led a more bitterly divided country. Not since the introduction of racial integration  has any president faced a more consistently short-sighted and willfully  ignorant opposition – from both  the right and left.


As the President’s poll numbers have fallen so  has his support from some on the left that were hailing him as a Messiah  not long ago; all those lefty websites and commentators that were falling all over themselves on behalf of our first black president during the 2008  election.


The left’s lack of faith has become a self-fulfilling  “prophecy”– snipe at the President and then watch the poll numbers fall and then pretend you didn’t have  anything to do with it!


Here is  what Obama faced when he took office– none of which was his  fault:


# An ideologically divided country to the point that  America was really two countries


# Two wars; one that was  mishandled from the start, the other that was unnecessary and  immoral


# The worst economic crisis since the depression


#  America ‘s standing in the world at the lowest point in history


# A  country that had been misled into accepting the use of torture of  prisoners of war


# A health care system in free fall


# An  educational system in free fall


# A global environmental crisis of  history-altering proportions (about which the Bush administration and the  Republicans had done nothing)


# An impasse between culture warriors  from the right and left


# A huge financial deficit inherited from  the terminally

irresponsible Bush administration.


And those were  only some of the problems sitting  on the President’s desk!


“Help”  from the Right?


What did the Republicans and the religious  right, libertarians and half-baked conspiracy theorists — that is what  the Republicans were reduced to by the time Obama took office — do to  “help” our new president (and our country) succeed? They claimed that he wasn’t a real American, didn’t have an American birth certificate,

wasn’t  born here, was secretly a Muslim, was white-hating “racist”, was secretly  a communist, was actually the Anti-Christ, (!) and was a reincarnation of  Hitler and wanted “death panels” to kill the elderly!


They  not-so-subtly called for his assassination through the not-so-subtle use  of vile signs held at their rallies and even a bumper sticker quoting  Psalm 109:8. They organized “tea parties” to sound off against imagined  insults and all government in general and gathered to howl at the moon.  They were led by insurance industry lobbyists and deranged (but well  financed) “commentators” from Glenn Beck to Rush Limbaugh.


The  utterly discredited Roman Catholic bishops teamed up with the utterly  discredited evangelical leaders to denounce a president who was trying to  actually do something about the poor, the environment, to diminish the  number of abortions through compassionate programs to help women and to  care for the sick! And

in Congress the Republican leadership only knew one  word: “No!”


In other words the reactionary white, rube, uneducated,  crazy American far right,combined with the educated but obtuse neoconservative war mongers, religious right shills for big business,  libertarian Fed Reserve-hating gold bug, gun-loving crazies,  child-molesting acquiescent “bishops”, frontier loons and evangelical  gay-hating flakes found one thing to briefly unite them: their desire to stop an uppity black man from  succeeding at all costs!


“Help” from the Left?


What did the  left do to help their newly elected president? Some of them excoriated the  President because they disagreed with the bad choices he was being forced  to make regarding a war in Afghanistan that he’d inherited from the worst president in  modern history!


Others stood up and bravely proclaimed that  the President’s economic policies had “failed” before the President even instituted them! Others said that since all gay rights battles had not been fully won  within virtually minutes of the President taking office, they’d been  “betrayed”! (Never mind that Obama’s vocal support to the gay community is  stronger than any other president’s has been.  Never mind that he signed a  new hate crimes law!)


Those that had stood in transfixed legions weeping with beatific emotion on election night turned into an angry mob  saying how “disappointed” they were that they’d not all immediately been translated to heaven the moment Obama stepped into the White House! Where  was the “change”? Contrary to their expectations they were still mere  mortals!


And the legion of young new supporters was too busy  texting to pay attention for longer than a nanosecond. “Governing”?! What  the hell does that word, uh, like mean?”


The President’s critics  left and right all had one thing in common: impatience laced with  little-to-no sense of history (let alone reality) thrown in for good  measure. Then of course there were the white, snide know-it-all  commentators/talking heads who just couldn’t imagine that maybe, just maybe they weren’t as smart as they  thought they were and certainly not as smart as their president. He hadn’t  consulted them, had he? So he must be wrong!


The Obama critics’  ideological ideas defined their idea of reality rather than reality  defining their ideas-say, about what is possible in one year in office after the hand that the  President had been dealt by fate, or to be exact by the American idiot nation that voted Bush into office. twice!


Meanwhile back in the reality-based community –  in just 12 short months — President Obama:


#Continued to  draw down the misbegotten war in Iraq

(But that wasn’t good enough for  his critics)


#Thoughtfully and decisively picked the best of  several bad choices regarding the war in Afghanistan

(But that wasn’t  good enough for his critics)


#Gave a major precedent-setting speech  supporting gay rights (But that wasn’t good enough for his  critics)


#Restored America ‘s image around the globe

(But that  wasn’t good enough for his critics)


#Banned torture of American  prisoners

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)


#Stopped the free fall of the American economy

(But that wasn’t  good enough for his critics)


#Put the USA squarely back in the  bilateral international community (But that wasn’t good enough for his  critics)


#Put the USA squarely into the middle of the  international effort to halt global warming

(But that wasn’t good  enough for his critics)


#Stood up for educational reform

(But  that wasn’t good enough for his critics)


#Won a Nobel peace  prize

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)


#Moved the  trial of terrorists back into the American judicial system of checks and  balances

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)


#Did  what had to be done to start the slow, torturous and almost impossible  process of health care reform that 7 presidents had failed to even begin

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)


#Responded to hatred from the right and left with measured good humor and  patience

(But that wasn’t good enough for his critics)


#Stopped  the free fall of job losses

(But that wasn’t good enough for his  critics)


#Showed immense personal courage in the face of an armed  and dangerous far right opposition that included the sort of disgusting people that show up at public meetings carrying loaded weapons and carrying Timothy McVeigh-inspired signs about the “blood of tyrants”  needing to “water the tree of liberty”. (But that wasn’t good enough  for his critics)


#Showed that he could not only make the tough  military choices but explain and defend them brilliantly

(But that  wasn’t good enough for his critics)


Other than those  “disappointing” accomplishments — IN ONE YEAR — President Obama  “failed”! Other than that he didn’t “live up to expectations”!


Who actually has  failed…


…are the Americans that can’t see the beginning  of a miracle of national rebirth right under their jaded noses. Who failed  are the smart ass ideologues of the left and right who began rooting for this President to fail so that they could  be proved right in their dire and morbid predictions. Who failed  are the movers and shakers behind our obscenely dumb news cycles that have  turned “news” into just more stupid entertainment for an  entertainment-besotted infantile country.


Here’s the good news:  President Obama is succeeding without the help of his lefty “supporters” or hate-filled Republican detractors!


The Future Looks  Good


After Obama has served two full terms, (and he will),  after his wisdom in moving deliberately and cautiously with great subtlety on all fronts — with a canny and calculating eye to the possible succeeds, (it will), after the economy is booming and new industries are  burgeoning, (they will be), after the doomsayers are all proved not just  wrong but silly: let the record show that not all Americans were panicked  into thinking the sky was falling.


Just because we didn’t get  everything we wanted in the first short and fraught year Obama was in  office not all of us gave up. Some of us stayed the course. And we will be proved right.


PS. if you agree that Obama is shaping up to be a great president, please pass this on and hang in there!  Pass it on anyway to ensure that his “report card” gets the attention it deserves.


Frank Schaeffer is a New York Times best selling author.