We have a wonderful country. It is, in many respects, a great place to live, an accepting place, a welcoming place, a bastion of freedom. But … and there is always that other word … we are not a patient people.
Now impatience can be a good thing on occasion. Impatience led the colonists to push back against British tax laws, impatience led the settlers to head west, clear across to the Pacific. Impatience has led us out of many a national problem. “We can fix this,” we say collectively, and many times we can. But something seems to have changed a bit in our national character. For instance, we have all been affected by the economic catastrophe, or rather catastrophes, plural, that occurred because of irresponsible banks and lending institutions and investment houses. It didn’t matter whether we had money in the market, or lost a job because of cut-backs, or simply found that everything from insurance to food to medical care to transportation started to cost a lot more.
Collectively we are disappointed that the problems incurred through decades of error in judgment have not been solved in three-and-a-half years. We want things to be like a child’s toy, ta-da, ta-da, ta-da, pop! All done.
Our President has dealt with two wars, an escalating national debt, a bursting housing bubble caused by people who bought homes costing ten times their annual income financed by incompetent lenders, an immigration problem, a health care problem, and financial institutions who had started to believe they were playing by Las Vegas rules. Oh, and he has dealt with concerns about national security, too.
Now, instead of being impatient enough to roll up our sleeves and figure out how the collective ‘we’ can fix this problem, some of us are so impatient we do not remember that the President managed to push through a stimulus program that saved the American automobile industry and a heck of a lot of jobs. That he has been instrumental in winding down two wars. That he has pushed for financial reform to prevent the kind of immoral financial abuse that nearly destroyed the world economy. That he managed to orchestrate a health care reform that, if it is allowed to be implemented by the well-financed opposition, will help our society in innumerable ways, from health to finance; people won’t have to choose between medicine and food. That he has proposed closing Guantanamo, pushed for the DREAM act and worked for immigration reform, tried to lower the deficit, only to meet a wall of Congressional resistance.
Have we become so addicted to fast food and fast news and fast entertainment and fast cars, that we have literally no attention span left? That we really think that one individual, with no vote in Congress and limited powers, can solve all the problems that some of us created with greed and bad judgment? Well, then, our problems won’t get fixed. And if we continue to blame the President and shirk our own responsibilities, we will indeed get what we ‘deserve’. But we may not like it very much.