Honesty And Loyalty
Years ago, a relative of mine was dating a not very nice person. I would use certain four and seven letter words, but this is a family blog. I was honest with this relative. I spoke my mind. A longtime friend told me that it was wrong of me to be so blunt, that if this relative was excited about the new relationship, I should be supportive. The friend said I wasn't being a good relative by criticizing the relationship. I told the friend that being a good relative, and being supportive, meant speaking my mind when my relative was dating a not very nice person. In the end, my relative figured out that I was right. But it took a bit of wasted time, and quite a bit of pain and tears.
Some say we should avoid criticizing Barack Obama, when he sells out on important issues. After all, there's an election to win. We should be supportive. To criticize him is disloyal. It's more evidence that we critics are bitter Clinton supporters who can't give it up. Even though many of us were more Clinton defenders than supporters, have given it up, don't look back at her candidacy, and do look forward to ending Republican rule of the White House, this November. I think it's disloyal to allow Obama to get away with selling out. I think it's disloyal to allow the candidate of Hope & Change to get away with playing Politics As Usual. I think it's disloyal to blindly and silently follow him anywhere. To do such reminds me of the behavior of the followers of candidates from the other party. I think it's best to be honest and reality-based.
If we don't criticize Obama when he's wrong, our criticism of McCain can be dismissed as mere partisanship. If we don't criticize Obama when he's wrong, our praise of him when he's right can be dismissed as sycophancy. If we don't criticize Obama when he's wrong, then there are no political consequences to his continuing to do wrong when it is seemingly more politically convenient than would be doing what is right. I believe that one of the key differences between Obama and McCain is that Obama has a much stronger sense of right and wrong, and a much stronger will to do right rather than wrong. But he is a politician. He is not transformational. He sometimes panders. He sometimes takes the safe path over the better path. He sometimes helps those who can help him, even when he knows it's not in the public interest.
Democrats, in general, and Obama partisans, in particular, have a particular responsibility to criticize Obama when he's wrong. Not that it will always, if ever, necessarily work, but it must be a continuing effort by those who consider themselves Obama voters to always at least attempt to keep Obama honest. Because the game of politics will always work against that. And Obama is a politician. And he's human. And if we don't make the honest effort no one else will.