When people analyze Obama's first 100 days, talking about how well he is fulfilling his campaign promises, they mention concrete issues. He said he would set a timetable to leave Iraq. He said he would close Guantanamo. He seems to be keeping his promises, people say.
But what about the new America he has promised?
I grew up with an idealistic view of America. This was the land that gave us Raiders of the Lost Ark. This was Disneyland and Bonanza. This was Spiderman. With great power comes great responsibility, and all that.
But then I grew up some more, and America was also the country that invaded Vietnam, bombed Cambodia, and sent mercenaries to train death squads in Latin America. Cold War America was about being the lesser of two evils, the politics of the ends justifying the means.
People had a few alternatives. They could ignore what was being done. They could try to justify it and quiet their own conscience in the process. Or they could face it and say, "This is my country. This is my government. This will not be done in my name."
Obama ran as a new leader for a new nation. This was going to be a country that faced its dark side and collectively exorcised it.
Obama is doing a lot. I know. He is closing Guantanamo. He is saying America will not torture anymore.
He's also telling us to move on.
But as long as this country fails yet again to face its past horrors, there will be those who justify the horrors, and down the line, people who repeat them.
This country has failed to determine the necessity of the atomic bombs in World War II. This country treats Kissinger like a lovable elder statesman. And as for Bush, everything will soon be forgotten.
Obama has promised us a new America, a truly participatory Democracy. But instead, he is telling us to move along. The government is in control. We will not torture ever again, he says. Or at least not until the next administration comes along.
step aside - on the platform of the eastside subway there are step aside signs do people heed it? they did the afternoon i was there on the westside people ...