Obama as the End, Not the Means

As a 45-year-old man, I have had dozens of jobs, starting at age 11 as a paper boy, through high school, college, and now my professional career. All of these jobs had a common thread: my bosses hired me as a means to an end. The end was something of productive value, be it to build a house, make sandwiches, develop training, or teach courses. In all of these cases, I was required to present credentials, convince the boss that I was the best one available for the position, and then complete the tasks that my employer required.

As our president's approval rating continues to decline, I understand his frustration. How would you feel if you were hired for your position, and in the interview, you specifically detailed your intentions and informed your soon-to-be bosses about the steps you were going to take to accomplish these goals, only to reach many of them but see your performance reviews seriously decline to the point that you may lose your job?

Politifact.com 2010 reports that of the over five hundred documented campaign promises made by the president, 122 have been kept, with another 240 in the process of being fulfilled. In fact, promises noted as "not kept" number only 22. So given the successful and productive implementation of Obama's agenda, why do the polls indicate that he is failing at this job?

While teaching an undergraduate course this fall, I was in the middle of a lecture on ethics. As an example of poor ethical decision-making, I referenced the Watergate scandal and tried to guide my students to the conclusion that President Nixon should have informed his bosses of the unethical behavior of his subordinates. Twenty-seven students had no idea who President Nixon's bosses were: the people of the United States.

Missing the basic concept of our president working for us is a critical gap in understanding that we expect our president to do things, to accomplish things, to manage things. The chief executive is not merely a figurehead or a symbolic icon that represents who we are, but our servant, tasked to fulfill the will of the people while entrusted with the most powerful position in the land.

Many on the right believe that a significant number of mostly independent voters chose Barack Obama because of what he is -- a black man in America. Many felt that electing this highly educated, intelligent, and eloquent man, who happens to be black, would help speed our country across the social battlefield of racism to a post-racial society. At long last, we would be able to demonstrate to all, domestic and foreign, that we are not as many view us: a racist, hate-filled country that perpetually and intentionally represses a minority race whom the dominant culture wronged over past centuries.

Like an adolescent crush, the gushing, emotional attachment of liberals, independent voters, and the media to Mr. Obama caused a lack of examination about the long-term relationship into which we were entering. And as the electorate realizes that there is more to choosing a president than a case of puppy love, we are becoming more disillusioned with him.

The bottom line is that President Obama represented not a means, but an end in many eyes. To those enamored of him, his election and inauguration symbolized the end of racism, hate, and representative repression.

But he fulfilled that duty the day he took the oath of office, and he still had another 1,460 days. And as he steadily and faithfully uses his office as the means toward his ends of larger government, socialized democracy, higher taxes, and fundamentally remaking America, both those who voted for him and those who did not are now united in yelling "STOP!" The only difference now is that those who did not vote for him are not surprised.
As a 45-year-old man, I have had dozens of jobs, starting at age 11 as a paper boy, through high school, college, and now my professional career. All of these jobs had a common thread: my bosses hired me as a means to an end. The end was something of productive value, be it to build a house, make sandwiches, develop training, or teach courses. In all of these cases, I was required to present credentials, convince the boss that I was the best one available for the position, and then complete the tasks that my employer required.

As our president's approval rating continues to decline, I understand his frustration. How would you feel if you were hired for your position, and in the interview, you specifically detailed your intentions and informed your soon-to-be bosses about the steps you were going to take to accomplish these goals, only to reach many of them but see your performance reviews seriously decline to the point that you may lose your job?

Politifact.com 2010 reports that of the over five hundred documented campaign promises made by the president, 122 have been kept, with another 240 in the process of being fulfilled. In fact, promises noted as "not kept" number only 22. So given the successful and productive implementation of Obama's agenda, why do the polls indicate that he is failing at this job?

While teaching an undergraduate course this fall, I was in the middle of a lecture on ethics. As an example of poor ethical decision-making, I referenced the Watergate scandal and tried to guide my students to the conclusion that President Nixon should have informed his bosses of the unethical behavior of his subordinates. Twenty-seven students had no idea who President Nixon's bosses were: the people of the United States.

Missing the basic concept of our president working for us is a critical gap in understanding that we expect our president to do things, to accomplish things, to manage things. The chief executive is not merely a figurehead or a symbolic icon that represents who we are, but our servant, tasked to fulfill the will of the people while entrusted with the most powerful position in the land.

Many on the right believe that a significant number of mostly independent voters chose Barack Obama because of what he is -- a black man in America. Many felt that electing this highly educated, intelligent, and eloquent man, who happens to be black, would help speed our country across the social battlefield of racism to a post-racial society. At long last, we would be able to demonstrate to all, domestic and foreign, that we are not as many view us: a racist, hate-filled country that perpetually and intentionally represses a minority race whom the dominant culture wronged over past centuries.

Like an adolescent crush, the gushing, emotional attachment of liberals, independent voters, and the media to Mr. Obama caused a lack of examination about the long-term relationship into which we were entering. And as the electorate realizes that there is more to choosing a president than a case of puppy love, we are becoming more disillusioned with him.

The bottom line is that President Obama represented not a means, but an end in many eyes. To those enamored of him, his election and inauguration symbolized the end of racism, hate, and representative repression.

But he fulfilled that duty the day he took the oath of office, and he still had another 1,460 days. And as he steadily and faithfully uses his office as the means toward his ends of larger government, socialized democracy, higher taxes, and fundamentally remaking America, both those who voted for him and those who did not are now united in yelling "STOP!" The only difference now is that those who did not vote for him are not surprised.

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