Friday, October 7, 2011

"Dreams" one key to Mr. Obama's performance...

Did you ever interact with someone who seemed the most kind, caring and considerate person while also impressing you with his intelligence and perspective, only to find another side to that person...leaving you disillusioned, disbelieving, and hurt?  That is how I feel about our current President.  It isn't the first time, and I could claim an excuse this time because I have never personally met Mr. Obama...

He is much like an actor on film or stage, having learned his lines and very good at presenting the image...and falling into the trap of confusing the role with his own existence.  And also like an actor, he is very much concerned with his image and protecting it.   He can act kind, caring, knowing and accept all kinds of turmoil around him, as long as it doesn't criticize him or harm what he sees as his image...which is extraordinarily high.

Well, this is true of a lot of Presidents.  But what is interesting is how Mr. Obama's perception of what his image...and therefor himself...really is, and how he came to that perception.

As an example, President Johnson had a very high opinion of himself and his perception was that he was a good administrator, a good wielder of power, and a good judge of well as one born to tell others what to do.  He set about proving all of those things by working and developing those skills.  By the time he became President, most of those visions of himself had been proven through "doing" those very things.  So...his image, his perception, his concept of himself was grounded in reality.  True, it wasn't perfect...nothing ever is...but reality and his version of it were roughly parallel.  And many other President could be cited, but I won't waste the time here.

President Obama is different.  He clearly sees himself as a visionary.  Even his book, "Dreams of my Father", is based on dreams...on a vision...only occasionally rooted in reality and almost never on accomplishments.  It is the stuff dreams are, and should, be made of and totally desirable and acceptable.  But I would suggest that a person growing up with dreams to become an airline pilot would not be hired to actually perform in that capacity by any airline without proving through accomplishments and ability that real ability and training supported the appointment to a position with so much at stake.  Dreams just aren't enough.

Mr. Obama has proven accomplishments in one area only...campaigning.  He is seasoned at it and very good at it...even though he is still developing the skill.  It is his best and highest skill.  A couple of years in State Government and as a junior Senator don't really qualify anyone for the office of President.  His education seems absolutely wonderful...except no one seems to know how he performed or what courses he took and how he did, other than to pass.

Yet Mr. Obama clearly has an image of himself that is high, positive, and exalted.  All of this is desirable as a means of motivation to strive to achieve and learn and press on toward fulfilling that image in reality.  But the dream, the aspiration, is not enough to achieve.  It is a starting point only, not a qualification.  Yet our country has chosen to honor Mr. Obama with election to the highest post in the land on the basis of a dream and the quality of campaigning.

By so doing, we have encouraged and condoned Mr. Obama's dream as reality.  Can we fault him for accepting the coronation?  I cannot.  But that doesn't mean that he is a good President or a good administrator or a qualified leader.  And, like many a young person immersed in and believing their dreams, he feels criticism of him or his policies are direct affronts to his person, to his image, and he reacts emotionally and badly.  See him when confronted, he deflects blame (if unavoidable) to others and otherwise denies any failure or culpability.  Always.  It is NEVER his fault.  He shows this so clearly in his posture and in his facial expression that it is sometimes embarrassing to watch.

The good news is that it is there to observe and note.  The bad news is that so many in the media and in his party are so tied to his success or failure that they cannot acknowledge his inability to perform without damaging their own image or threaten their own jobs.

Dreams.  Such a good and indispensable element with which to start.  But so incredibly inadequate as a basis for performance!

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