Paul J. Mills, Tiffany Barsotti, Meredith A. Pung, Kathleen L. Wilson, Laura Redwine, and Deepak Chopra Gratitude, along with love, compassion, empathy, joy, forgiveness, and self-knowledge, is a vital attribute of our wellbeing. While there are many definitions of gratitude, at its foundation, gratitude is a healing, life-affirming, and uplifting human experience that shifts us […]
Although the Presidency is about issues, challenges, and complex negotiations, there’s another side. With every new President we get the pleasure of watching a human being adapt to the office. Very quickly an image emerges. Barack Obama entered the White House at a time of crisis, amid frayed nerves and anxiety. The image we wanted to see was pictured in advance by constant references to Lincoln and FDR, the two Presidents who overcame the deepest crises in our history.
Amid the dog show and the Easter egg roll, the whirlwind foreign visits and being the man who accompanied Michelle Obama to Europe (a wink-and-a-nod reference to JFK, another dapper celebrity politician), what do we feel about this new President as a human being?
The country could afford to tolerate Bush’s shallowness when we felt rich and safe. but after the debacle of the Iraq war, the rising tide of hatred from the Islamic world, the abandonment of our traditional alliances, and finally the catastrophe of the financial collapse, we couldn’t afford someone who pretended to qualities he didn’t have.
Still, it’s comforting to know that Obama can rise to inspiration if that’s what is needed. It’s also comforting to see that he is normal. His wife reminds him not to scare the kids when he growls too loud reading “Where the Wild Things Are.” He bowls a terrible game and becomes endearing for it. He makes clunky attempts to unbend from his natural dignity, and that endears him, too. Virtue was dragged into the White House eight years ago as a semi-sleazy political gambit. How amazing that when we least expected it, the real thing arrived.
Published in the San Francisco Chronicle