Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Hamlet Presidency

"And thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with a pale cast of thought..." Shakespeare, Hamlet

Hamlet, for all of his good looks and intelligence, was known for being a waffler—someone who could not make the tough decision because he was too busy exploring both sides.

You might remember, it was Hamlet who asked, “To be, or not to be…”, perhaps the greatest question of them all. At one point in his soliloquy, he acknowledges, “And thus the native hue of resolution is sicklied o’er with a pale cast of thought…”

Has our president become the Hamlet of our time? Has this become the Hamlet Presidency?

Recently, Republicans excoriated President Obama for wanting to have a chat with America’s school children. In particular, Obama wanted to ask each of them, “What can you do to help the president?” The far right went visceral, accusing Obama of seeking to brainwash the nation’s children, among other ridiculous charges.

To appease this noxious lot, Obama retracted his question—which was perfectly wonderful in how it summoned each child to a public duty—and replaced it with this banal call to self-service: “What are your goals, and how will you achieve them?”

That is only the latest example of our president buckling to pressure rather than overcoming it with steadfast decision-making from the start.

1 comment:

Titus said...

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TITUS