Friday, January 23, 2009

Inevitable Disappointment?

Many liberals like me have been cynically admitting that we have set ourselves up for inevitable disappointment because we've elevated our hopes in an Obama presidency to untenable heights. On the Daily Show this is a joke. For some of us, it's a reality we reluctantly acknowledge.

Well, keep that disappointment train in the station, folks, because we have some big victories to be pleased with already. Not only has Obama signed an executive order to close Guantanimo within a year (closing it in a day, as some have asked for, would have been irresponsible) and signing another prohibiting torture, but today he signed one allowing international aid to go to clinics even if they (gasp) provide full reproductive healthcare to women in the third world. Under the Bush administration, if a clinic told a woman she had options like contraception or abortion, anything other than abstinence, then they could risk losing their funding. Well, no more.

And it gets better! The Senate passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which already passed the House, so Obama will soon be signing that into law.

It will be important for us to remember, when something doesn't go our way, that we've already gained a lot in just a few days. Hell, Americans can't legally torture people anymore. As much as that should have been a point of shame for anyone with a patriotic bone in their body, this should be a point of pride.

Inevitable? Probably.
Arrived? Not yet.


@bdul muHib said...

Another very important act yesterday was his reiterating his commitment to do everything possible to reduce abortion, as he said, "...we are united in our determination to prevent unintended pregnancies, reduce the need for abortion, and support women and families in the choices they make. To accomplish these goals, we must work to find common ground to expand access to affordable contraception, accurate health information, and preventative services.”

Benjamin Gorman said...

To be fair, he's faced criticism on the left for triangulating on this issue, Clinton style. Some folks want him to be far more pro-choice, rather than taking this pragmatic abortion reduction position. Personally, I thin this position is both politically expedient and morally sound; no one likes the idea of unnecessary abortions, so arguing that abortion should be, in the words of Hillary, "safe, legal, and rare" is just plain good sense. It's also a huge change from the Bush administration, which was pro-life as long as that life belonged to a fetus, and pro-death when it involved a foreigner, a convicted criminal, or a resident of New Orleans.

@bdul muHib said...

And a big change from the Bush administration who was pro-life in name, but did nothing in action (which, if we were to apply Biblical definitions, would mean that they weren't pro-life at all). Also a change in the Clinton administration's words only policy of "rare". I believe Obama will actually substantially reduce abortions, for the first time in any administration since Roe v. Wade.

I think this in part comes from his perspective, where, contrary to the wish-fulfillment statements of groups like NARAL, and ironically folks like Limbaugh, is not 100% pro-choice. How quickly they all forget how much pro-choice groups didn't like Obama last winter, because he wasn't as strong on the issue for them as Hillary. Rather, he has repeatedly stated that he is morally opposed to abortion, yet feels that it must remain a legal option, and he will fight for that legal option. This perspective I think encourages him to do everything he can outside the legal sphere to reduce abortions.