I saw the results of the recent poll on OpEd News, Are You Hopeful that President Obama Will Make Things Better? In reading this poll I am reminded of the connection between the psychodynamics of an alcoholic and the psychodynamics of our society.
No matter what you might desire another to do -- the alcoholic to quit drinking or Obama to provide full-coverage health care for all -- you cannot do it for them. You can only provide the best possible environnment for your beloved to change in. And as it is for the friend or relative of an addict, so it is for our society. In both cases we are dealing with human nature.
This means the question should not be whether Obama makes the courageous decision to "check our nation into rehab," so to speak. The question should be whether we as a people can find unity in our resolve to make a better world. By doing that we will provide the right environment for a wise, intelligent and compassionate president to bloom. And here lies the problem.
We are not in agreement about what is a wise choice or what makes a good society. That is a large reason why it is difficult for an alcoholic to quit drinking -- there are bars, liquor stores, and even friends encouraging him to drink. And so it is for any leader, Obama included. When the people are divided, not to mention distorted in their thinking, it makes it almost impossible for even the best leader to be effective.
So when I saw so many people voting on the poll about whether or not Obama will make things better, I immediately thought, "That is not the correct focus." Since the difficulty is that we are not in agreement about what makes a good society -- thereby making Obama's job "to resist the drink" nearly impossible -- our first area of focus should be to clarify what is "better" not whether Obama can make things better.
Instead of hoping one man will make things better, we as a people need to get in basic ethical alignment with each other. That is what we can do to help Obama lead our society "out of the bar."