Old Labels Refuse to Stick
– A President for All –
Late night comedians complain that the new President gives them very little material to work with. Help from the Chief Justice wasn’t enough, its shelf life stifled by a precautionary second oath. And so our comedians may be looking at a recession of their own kind as the new President gets down to the serious business of being the CEO the country needs. Will congress or the senate ‘bail out’ our stand-up comedians? With worthy material for their shows, that is? Maybe; if their actions exude partisan ideology.
But, what is good for our stand-ups may not be good for America.
Leaving the predicament of our comedians aside, we turn to the dilemma of main stream media, pundits and commentators who endeavored to stereotype and pigeonhole the President, starting from his campaign, through his transition and into his Presidency. They are today in some disarray from the labels they resorted to for their punditry and eloquence.
Going by some early predictions during the campaign the President was supposed to play the race card since he had a color ‘advantage’. He was also supposed to be “the most liberal Democrat” from his supposed stance on issues. Now, the vast majority of population takes no issue with being ‘inclusive’, if the popularity vote is anything to go by at the inauguration. But for reasons justified only by the history of political commentary ‘liberal’ is a disparaging label and being ‘inclusive’ is more Hollywood and esoteric than mainstream policy. And then on the campaign, for a very strange reason, being intelligent was somehow being elitist.
But since the transition and now into the new Presidency people on both sides of the aisle are confounded by some intriguing initiatives, to say the least; intriguing, not only because it stimulates positive discourse, but because it fails the labeling test. And by failing to be typecast the President is advancing Republicans and Democrats into a new era of progressive conservatism, each ideology complimenting the other and creating a new paradigm of inclusion. And we are not talking merely about Rick Warren being chosen for the inaugural invocation or scrapping the jackets-in-the-oval-office rule on day one. In the paradigm shift that the American population hopes to witness “the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply”, if we recall the inaugural speech. What is liberal and what is conservative anymore? As he also said, “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works”. This is not about temporary give and take while preserving partisan ground. It is about a shift in ground itself.
Brace for impact: Not everyone is fully awake to the moment at hand, including Democrats and the new executive branch. And those who still find reason in divisive characterization or ideological grandstanding on the left and the right are confronted with the risk of isolation and disillusion from the people that voted for change. By the same token though the new President and his administration have invited self scrutiny of a higher order – an order not confined to policy, process and philosophy but one that embraces the pillars of principled governance: “hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism”. Attention pundits and commentators: these are our new stereotypes. Let’s get with it.
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