Cynicism plagues conversations. People who advocated strongly for Barack Obama to beat Hillary Clinton and then John McCain are now critical of his ability as president.
When asked to extrapolate, critics say that Obama is full of hope, not action. Democrats complain that Obama is not liberal enough and compromising too many democratic values to appeal to Republicans.
Examining just the first few weeks of his presidency, these criticisms are unfounded. Daily headlines on nearly every newspaper show that Obama has both been productive and able to stir up controversy for liberal ideals that he believes in.
Abortion is one of the hottest debates in America and there seems to be no middle ground. Instead of ignoring this topic in fear of backlash, Obama didn’t hesitate to lift the Bush administration’s ban on federal funding for international family planning programs that provide abortion information or counseling to clients.
As to be expected, pro-choice activists are appreciative, while the Vatican and other pro-life activists are incensed. Yet, they’re not slowing Obama down.
On Tuesday, Jan. 20, Obama called for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. He intends to provide multiple rights and privileges for homosexual couples.
On Thursday, Jan. 22, Obama announced that the closure of Guantanamo Bay would occur within one year.
On Monday, Jan. 26, Obama held a press conference stating that the “days of Washington dragging its heels are over.” States, such as California, that produce alternative fuel cars will now be supported rather than blocked by the presidential administration. Obama understands that severing our dependence on oil is crucial to the stability of our economy.
Also on Monday, Jan. 26, Obama made a reconciliation attempt for Iran and the Muslim world to improve foreign relations.
And lastly, on Thursday, Jan. 29, Obama signed his first bill into law. It’s called the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and allows employees to contest unequal pay between men and women.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will provide approximately 460,000 Americans green jobs while saving taxpayers over $2 billion a year by making 75 percent of federal buildings more energy efficient.
Meanwhile, between the aforementioned projects, Obama has been struggling with Congress to approve a generous stimulus package. He’s also hashing it out with the House of Representatives to delay TV broadcasters switching over to digital in February.
There are rumors about replacing the White House’s ancient technology with new Macs to make work more efficient. There are many, many other issues that Obama and his administration are working on that have received less press.
Regardless, they are an astonishing number of accomplishments in a short period of time, and Obama doesn’t appear to be losing steam. He is adamant to clean up most, if not all, of America’s messes.
So, the real question is not whether Obama is competent and proactive. The real question is this: Why do Americans fall prey to pessimism rather than optimism?
Why do people prefer the sense of superiority they acquire when judging someone else rather than the feeling of empowerment for supporting someone else?
We cannot realistically expect positive change with such negative energy. It’s time to adopt an optimistic attitude and strive to be happy.