At the end of the famous Twilight Zone episode, “To Serve Man,” the skeptical cryptographer eventually comes to trust the aliens who have thus far desired only to help mankind. After the title of the alien book is deciphered as the hopeful, if ambiguous To Serve Man, Chambers opts to go aboard the alien ship for a holiday. He finds out he is to be just another ingredient in a bowl of human gumbo.
After reading "Government opts for secrecy in wiretap case" I am starting to feel a bit like the fattened calf myself.
I had been skeptical of Obama, and of Democrats in general leading up to the election. I had been a supporter of Edwards until he ran out of steam and subsequently imploded in a sex scandal. Then I became a Clinton backer, mostly because I figured that between her and Obama, her Rolodex would be the more impressive. But then came Iowa, the ultimate underdog victory. I was intrigued. Then there was that epic, and frankly, historic speech on race. I was on the bus then. I took it with him all the way to January 20th. I cried. I felt poetry well up. But I never mistook passion for policy, glibness for governance, or speeches for state-craft. I figured the Obama term, at least initially, would be what candidate Biden had suggest it would be: on the job training.
But over the past seventy-plus days, Obama has surprised many, including myself, which his deftness at international diplomacy, his desire to maintain regular communication with the people, and to treat us like adults, rather than as children needing to be coddled and soothed by happy talk. I think many of us have found his work ethic inspirational. This is a young man at work. We like that, especially in a time of crisis.
And much of this work has consisted of cleaning up after the previous administration’s numerous toxic spills. “Change has come” started to look like an army of bureaucrats with big mops. But in reality, the work was done with ink; filling in the erasures in the constitution wrought by Bush and company; signing the memos and bills that would close illegal detention facilities and bring an end to an illegal war. Those pens seemed to work around the clock, with the Pentagon just recently rescinding a 1991 order, signed by the elder Bush, that denied fallen American soldiers the dignity of being welcomed home by those they have sworn to defend. The pens even went so far as to keep the troll-like Ted Stevens, an obstinate, venial Alaskan Republican senator, out of prison by overturning his conviction because the true interest of justice had not been satisfied. (see related entry below)
All this work has been vital because, with Obama, it seems, (or perhaps I need to put that in the past tense) that principles matter, at least as much as pragmatism.