I am very tempted to raise my own assessment of Barack Obama’s performance from a C+ to a B-, based on (1) his seeming approval of legislation reigning in, as a matter of law, and not mere regulation, the interest banks can charge on credit cards, and the procedures they take (don’t take) in giving consumers real notice of how the accounts they apply for work (or don’t work), and providing greater protection for college students who have insufficient income compared to credit granted; and (2) more positive statements regarding the ecology, just for a start. However, my continuing concern over Afghanistan, along with retreats (or matters of about-face) regarding past CIA and Bush Administration abuses regarding the War on Terror, keep me from raising my assessment. I fear that simply declaring the past as serious mistakes that we must move on from is not enough to keep future administrations, or even the Obama administration, from repeating or condoning torture, renditions and the like. Anyway, my assessment is intended to be an invitation to dialogue; it clearly has no sway with the current administration as such. I shall note almost up front that I voted for Obama, have no regrets for doing so, contributed monetarily to Obama’s campaign and have no regrets for that either. I am delighted the Bush administration has come to an end after eight years of undermining the U.S. Constitution. However, questions remain, not just of the administration past, but of where the current administration is taking us on a range of matters, top on my own list being military and foreign affairs. I remain pleased with Obama’s rhetoric on many apsects of foreign and affairs and was delighted to read the transcript of Obama’s address to the graduating classes of Notre Dame.
I’m also tempted to blame the Obama administration for the delays on the closing of Gitmo. Senators and Representatives say the President hasn’t presented a coherent plan. True, but irrelevant. The Obama administration probably isn’t going to share details of a Gitmo closing with Congress because the Presdient knows they will attack the details and not the clsoing itself. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid might be for the closure, but doesn’t want them “around here.” But where to send them? If Obama sends them back to their home countries, he will be attacked for sending “terrorists” back to do us more harm. So, on Gitmo, I place the blame on Congress and the fickleness of the American public.
One Certainty: The idea that sin will disappear if everyone proclaims Christ. Hogwash. The Pew Study on the use of torture (as discussed in so many places, including very many blogs) found that in the United States, the “Christian” faithful were more likely than infrequent attenders to support the use of torture, and that those who attend church the most were the most likely to approve of torture. If any news story were to make me doubt the concept of free will, this almost (”almost causes” isn’t the same as “does make”) causes me to ponder and seriously reflect on the nature of grace and faith. The Certainty is that Christ cannot be reduced to a “label” equivalent to a magic wand. Caution: one needs to look deeply into the Pew Study to draw specific conclusions and not rely on this brief coment.