I do less of it these days

I’ve come to sympathize with Obama supporters, and I no longer laugh when they wail in anguish. I have compassion for them. I recognize that cry.

I flashed back recently to when I was so fooled by a woman I thought I’d forgotten that I lost faith in my ability to size up other people, for which I’m now profoundly grateful, not then. I’d been wrong about other women, of course, and I’d done some pretty fancy flailing trying not to believe she really meant it and then moping around when I had to admit that she did, dammit. And when I was gnashing my own personal teeth, I didn’t want to be laughed at. Now, instead of sizing people up I try to pay attention without judgment, which is much harder.

Millions of people dedicated themselves enthusiastically to Barack Obama and helped him get to the presidency. Then the time came for him to make sweet love to his fan base. Instead of health-care reform, we’re getting federally subsidized insurance, and as for closing Guantanamo or ending torture or the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan or Pakistan or anything else important, probably not. Not to mention the banks.

Then the brother started talking up nuclear power of all things and offshore drilling in his State of the Union speech. He could’ve been Dubya, except with better oration. I can see how embarrassing it is for people who thought he was the beige messiah, which he may be, just not the kind you thought. I’m guessing that’s often what happens with messiahs. We could store the additional nuclear waste at the Capitol, and Congress could pay for oil spills personally. That seems fair.

Obama is the fulfillment of Dr. King’s desire for judgment of the content of one’s character, and proof that a black man can be anything at all and skin color is no guarantee of anything. I don’t laugh at anybody who still thinks that skin color is important, because they’re in the throes of having their minds changed and may be a little fragile right in through here.

I didn’t laugh at the flabby State of the City presentation in the City Council chambers in beautiful downtown Chico some weeks ago, either. I was relieved to learn that everything about Chico is good and getting better and we’re meeting our challenges and looking ahead and learning as we go and getting all points of view and moving forward.

I listened pretty carefully, and I’m sure I’ve never heard the word “community” so much, the way governments use the word “terrorists” to justify fewer civil liberties and perpetual war. I’m keeping an eye on “community.”