Two personal anecdotes and then I’ll get to my point.
1. When my first Little Bookworm was born, I went into a fairly deep funk. She was a lousy sleeper, and I’m generally not very good at handling change in my life. Between fatigue and my own personal inflexibility, all I could do — very vocally –was mourn the passing of my easy, well-ordered life before a baby came along. Mr. Bookworm put up with my whining quite patiently for a long time, but he finally had it. On night, he turned to me and said words that completely rejiggered my thinking about motherhood: “This is your life now. Get used to it.” In other words, you can mourn the past as much as you want, but you live in the present. I operate with that philosophy on a regular basis now.
2. I can walk into a room and instantly tell you what’s wrong with it: the colors are ugly, the furniture doesn’t fit the room, the paintings are poor quality. Whatever. Just don’t ask me to fix it. My decorating talents are purely destructive, not constructive. I don’t have the slightest ability to make a room look good (which is why I turn to my mother, who is very talented in that direction).
Those are the anecdotes. This is my point: The press is making much of the fact that Barack Obama is one of the candidates who can boast to the base that he
voted against never supported the war. That’s all well and good, but it ignores the fact that, while he may have opposed it, we’re now in the midst of one. Anti-war people can mourn the 2003 votes as much as possible, wishing that they had gone otherwise, but the present is war.
Which gets me to my second point. Even if we assume for the sake of argument that Obama was right and the war is wrong, he hasn’t given any indication whatsoever that he has the ability to deal with the present reality. Like me with a room, it’s easy to point out errors, and much, much harder to provide solutions. Until Obama gives a sign that he’s functioning in the present and not trying to rewrite 2003, and until he shows that he can do more than complain about the situation, I continue to be unimpressed with him as a viable wartime candidate.