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MurphTheSurf3 On March - 18 - 2012

A powerful thing happened at the GOP’s Missouri Caucus and it had little to do with the caucus. I met a Democratic Psychiatrist. Like me, he was a guest. We watched the meeting together. Later, he gave me a gift- a copy of the message he delivered to a meeting of Democratic County Chairmen last week.

As to the Caucus…

It was pretty tame. Pleasant country people. Not much rancor. General words of disdain for Barack Obama, but very little energy/passion behind those words.

40 people gathered and agreed to an agenda. I was told this was 1/4 of the number expected. Some lackluster speeches were made in support of the four candidates. The chair of the caucus reminded the group that Rick Santorum had won the “Primary Poll” with 52.5% of the vote. Mitt Romney got 25.3%, Ron Paul 12.2% and Other 7.3%. Those results were advisory only. Those running for seats as delegates for the April 21 congressional district conventions indicated who they were supporting, although they would not be bound by those declaration at the conventions.

There was a bit of open discussion. Most seemed to think that Gingrich was a self serving fool, and that Paul was in service to a very peculiar agenda that was both narrow and unrealistic. Virtually all agreed that neither could be elected. So the group turned to the question of whether they should send delegates who supported the guy who was likely to get the nomination, who might attract enough independents to win, and who they could not stand or the guy who represented their points of view regarding the “real issues.” and seemed to be their kind of guy. It was clear those “real issues” focused on what the members called “old fashioned American values that put home and church first.” Not a long discussion. Santorum’s representatives won the day easily.

Afterwards, I went for tea with the psychiatrist and several mutual friends. We talked a bit about the caucus. One of the veteran GOP activists said it was all for show. The conventions would be manipulated to put forth the delegates who would do the state the most good. He suspected they would go for Santorum.

One of our friends then mentioned that the doctor had made quite an impression at a meeting of Democratic county chairs. He had made a statement in support of Barack Obama which was very well received and regarded as unique. Another in our group asked what he said. He had come prepared and had copies of the statement. It was extraordinary. I asked if I might share it on this blog. He agreed. He asked that I not credit him by name. “I am not quite ready to go public yet. There is more work to be done in gathering the data, but I am willing to share the core of the message with those who will be encouraged by it.” Here it is.

“As a psychiatrist I expected a huge increase in suicides in the Fall and Winter of 2008 and 2009. The hospital staff with which I am affiliated had met several times to discuss the likely impact of the economic catastrophe on mental health. We all remembered the accounts of suicides among those in the financial sector at the start of the Great Depression. What is less well known is that suicide rates across the entire working population in 1929 and 1930 were triple those of 1927 and 1928. We thought, and the literature supported our thinking, that it would be as bad or worse in contemporary America…especially in a culture far less religious than that one was.

It turned out not to be so. We have certainly experienced an increase in cases of clinical and situational depression, but that increase has been less than ten percent. This has been the experience across the country. Why?

I want to suggest that Barack Obama and the ‘Spirit of Hoped-For Change’ is the key. The record crowds at his inauguration came to celebrate, yes, but also to seek comfort. Read his inaugural address with this in mind and it takes on a very different meaning.

As Democrats, we need to stop apologizing when the GOP charge that many of us foolishly believed that Obama was “The One.” I think we need to accept, indeed embrace, that he was indeed the “essential one” whose tone, public discourse, and sense of cool, calm confidence were what we desperately needed, no matter what our political leanings. The President is, whether for good or ill, the patriarch of the nation. In this case, he has clearly worked to and for our good. His work is not done. Our need is still real. Obama 2012.

Written by MurphTheSurf3

Proud to be an Independent Progressive. I am a progressive- a one time Eisenhower Republican who is now a Democrat. I live in a very RED STATE and am a community activist with a very BLUE AGENDA. Historian, and "Gentleman Farmer."

64 Responses so far.

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  1. Caru says:

    Hey, MTS!

    “It turned out not to be so. We have certainly experienced an increase in cases of clinical and situational depression, but that increase has been less than ten percent. This has been the experience across the country. Why?

    I want to suggest that Barack Obama and the ‘Spirit of Hoped-For Change’ is the key.”

    Your Psychiatrist acquaintance puts forward a very interesting hypothesis. While it is possible that the President’s promotion of the theme of hope has something to do with the less than expected increase in suicide, there are multiple other factors at play that likely have a larger effect. Such as:

    i.) The Great Depression was far worse than the “Great Recession”, which accounts for a higher rate of suicide as a result of the former.

    ii.) Medical facilities, especially those psychological in nature, are, while not perfect, far better now than they were during the time of the Great Depression, which could account for a lesser rate of suicide today.

    iii.) People are more likely to become active, even in small ways, in politics nowadays, which leaves them less isolated and less likely to contemplate suicide out of desperation, even if their situation is terrible. The internet certainly would be a underlying element of this factor.

    There are many more factors besides those above that could be listed, all of which could play their part in this reduced rate of suicide or very few of which could play a role. However, it is very unlikely that there is only one factor behind this effect and if the President’s message plays a role, then it is probably part of a much larger cast.

    I would love to see a good study done on this and hope that psychiatrist friend’s research goes smoothly and well.

    • Excellent points Caru. After I read this article yesterday, I began to naturally make comparisons between the Great Depression and as you call it, the “Great Recession.”

      1,) “The Great Depression was far worse than the “Great Recession”, which accounts for a higher rate of suicide as a result of the former.”

      This is the same thought I had about the differences between the two eras. Not only was the Great Depression much harder on people, there was also NO social safety nets like those of today. I think this is probably a very key factor involving suicide rates during the Great Depression. I also wonder how much can be attributed to starvation?

      You also mention advancements in psychiatry/psychology. In the late twenties and early thirties, I don’t believe that anti-depressants even existed. I don’t believe there were any dividing lines between “clinical,” and “situational,” depression.

      • Caru says:

        That there were no social safety nets is a very important point, KT. I believe that humans are inherently altruistic. Even if a statistically small number of a aberrations exist, the vast majority of people harbour not only ill will to others, but will actively seek to help them. Unfortunately, a great number of factors dampen the effects of this nature. Many are environmental, but most are of our own making, due to our own ignorance.

        It is an unfortunate fact that when the number of people a human being knows exceeds the range 100-150, it is physically more difficult for that person to actually care about those extra people. This is why creations such as social security in the US and the Welfare State in the UK are so marvelous. They bypass this limitation and extend basic altruism to a vast number of people. These systems are not near perfect, but their very existence points to my earlier stated belief that most people are fundamentally altruistic.

        Any attempts to destroy -- specifically those to wreck, not ill-fated attempts to improve upon -- can be explained by only two things:

        Greed, or active malevolence.

        • It’s funny you mention having say 100-150 friends and family. Kurt Vonnegut, an American novelist and socialist/ secular humanist believed that society should be made up of people with large, extended “families,” with a few hundred members each. The idea that even though these families are not blood relatives, the should act toward each other as if they were. Caring for each other and helping any “family,” member who really needs it.

          Can you imagine what a wonderful place this would be if people were actually capable of doing this? But alas, even much smaller families have their conflicts and lack of compassion.

  2. SueInCa says:


    Great job going in to the lion’s den. I think about a second term in these terms. In a second term Prez can go all out like he could not in the poisoned atmosphere in the past three years. What does he or we have to lose? Unless there is a dynamite candidate waiting in the Dem wings, the President needs to do everything he can for the people. It could be the last chance we have if there is not a strong Dem candidate for 2016. Right now I think Russ Feingold might be viable but cannot think of anyone else offthe top of my head.

  3. Carmen says:

    Well, done, Murf! I’m beginning to feel much more hopeful about the coming election.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Me too…marginally, but I am overwhelmingly convinced that it is an election we cannot afford not to win as several levels. WH, House, Senate, State Governments.

  4. Maryl says:

    Wonderful post, wonderful comments. One thing that is so impressive is that I can watch videos and read interviews from years ago and see the Barack Obama I see today. I think such consistency is an amazing thing and speaks to the fact that he decided who he was and what he believed in a long time ago and his decisions and policies have been outgrowths of that fundamental understanding. I believe President Obama (and his family) stand for the same things that FDR did during the depression, and the Royal Family and Churchill did during World War II.

    • AdLib says:

      A warm welcome to The Planet, Meryl.

      When you consider that the entire GOP platform since 2008 has been to destroy Obama’s image and ability to govern, it is pretty remarkable how he’s maintained such a focused and consistently-moving-forward agenda.

      I know FDR had his enemies and detractors, mainly on the top 1% side as Obama has but I don’t think any other President in our history has endured such an undeserved and massive media onslaught.

      A remarkable man for whom his opponents offer absolutely no acknowledgement for anything he has ever accomplished.

      I may have been a strong Bush opponent but I always gave him the credit…or more often, the dishonor for what he did. The only positive thing that I can think of that Bush did was the major anti-AIDS push in Africa…and I still don’t know why he did that but it was a good thing.

      Republicans can’t even bring themselves to give Obama credit for giving the order to get Bin Laden…when reality isn’t a productive tool for Republicans, they just deny it.

      • BourneID says:

        Hi AdLib

        I’m visiting the planet today to study the various options available, but I read Maryl’s comments and your response and want to add a bit of my own take on this.

        I agree with you absolutely on the extraordinary assault the Speaker and Senate Minority Leader have continued launching against President Obama. While I agree 100% that we must re-elect our President, I think we must also send the message that we do whatever necessary to remove these two men and every other member, whether dem or repub, who do not represent the values of the country. It is no wonder that the money men continue invading every corner of government, when a paralyzed congress seems neither capable nor interested in stopping them.

        All that we’ve learned from the economic collapse to the unconscionable behavior of the Supreme Court came to us in sudden revelations. We were not prepared for Wall Street and we’re not prepared to lose the single greatest gift the framers gave us -- justice. If we lose the Supreme Court, what’s left?

        I’m going to join you for Vox Populi on Friday as an observer. I want to learn the ebb and flow of the conversation. I look forward to it.



        • AdLib says:

          Hi BourneID -- So true, if we want there to be the kind of change we want and need, we have to elect a Dem majority in Congress and those Dems have to sign onto the Obama agenda if they want our support.

          Having Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman among the Dems blocking big steps forward was terribly frustrating, we don’t need to go through that kind of thing again (fortunately neither of them will be in the next Senate).

          Also, it becomes critical if Dems win majorities in COngress, that Harry Reid gets the fearful Dems out from under their beds and gets filibuster reform to limit the tyranny of the minority in the Senate.

          Looking forward to seeing you here for Vox Populi this Friday. Once you get your sea legs, please don’t hesitate to jump on in!

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Ad LIb….look at the impact on Big Pharma re. the Aids battle in Africa….I read the whole thing as a way for governments to funnel more money to “their” people.

        I really believe that in the years to come Bush will be relegated to the bottom of every Presidential assessment. Corrupt, ineffective, and arrogant.

        • AdLib says:

          Thanks Murph, that makes an enormous amount of sense! Of course, it was handing out a ton of tax money to corporations! That’s always the answer.

          No question, the Bush Presidency will be seen as one of the most corrupt and destructive ever, there is some dubious company at the bottom of the list and Bush not only belongs with them, he deserves the honor of being at the very bottom.

    • Welcome to the Planet Maryl. I hope you find your experience here as pleasant as I do. The Planet is a rather unique place on the internet.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Hi Maryl…even the video of him as a grad student at Harvard is our Barack…agree with you. He has integrity and the roots of that sense of self rundeep. Barack Obama has the FDR mantle, for sure. PS. I also have great affection and respect for Michelle.

  5. funksands says:

    Murph thanks for this. What a nice find at the caucus! The doctor makes very good points. Obama has bought us all a little space to breathe again. That’s very valuable when the everything else around us seems to be moving with more volatility. As CLady mentioned below, his calm and cool demeanor couldn’t be more at odds with the challenges he faces.

    I’ve always viewed Obama as a bridge back to sanity and reality, back to more liberal policies. While he may not be a “liberal” he is laying the groundwork for long-term dynamic changes that we didn’t have to go through another Great Depression to stimulate.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Funk…I just reread your description of a GOP caucus. Does it strike you that they were much the same? Where was the Tea Party at my gathering? Nowhere? Any sign at yours? Where was the zeal, the anger, the passion, the victory at any price commitment?

      Your thoughts.

      • funksands says:

        Nada, zip, zilch. No signs, no energy, no enthusiasm.

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          Dispirited. Yes. So how are they hedging their bets? The money. Block the vote. Focus on the states, the house, the senate…but things there are starting to look bad.

          • funksands says:

            Murph, I think this is why we are seeing this blizzard of awful legislation recently. They know that their time is short, so they are passing everything they can knowing that once the tide recedes some it will still be there after they are gone. This in turn leaves tools behind for future right-wingers to get a claw-hold on.

            • MurphTheSurf3 says:

              funk…but if the government changes hands won’t the lot of what they have done be turned out. How could any of the ALEC inspired legislation survive a Democratic wave? Or will the GOP be able to obstruct repeals and replacements?

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      You are welcome. I think that the DOc and I are going to hit it off. Yes, Obama as bridge makes sense to me. Not a liberal, sort of progressive-lite, but sane, rational, intelligent and knowledgeable. What we needed.

  6. Hey Murph, nice piece. Can you imagine the depression rates if the GOP succeeds in getting the white house? When people start to lose the safety nets, their jobs, their homes….etc. When women fall under the GOP proposed assault on their freedoms? I shudder to think about it.
    I’d be interested in crime rate statistics for 08 and 09. People who have the basic essentials aren’t likely to engage in criminal activity, but those without those basic essentials often have no choice. For this reason, I think the destruction of social safety nets is dangerous for everybody in the nation, except for those that live behind gated and walled communities, with 24 hour security. That of course, would be the one percent.
    Look at the rise of crime rates in the late 20s and early 30s. They rose drastically after the depression began.

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      Another great link. I must ask the Doc about this? I wonder if there were any projections in that area. Of course, the way the GOP has been turning prisons into cash cows…they might regard a sudden increase in crime the equivalent of an oil gusher. I wonder if the folks will attach their pain to the GOP if the worse comes to worst? I am shocked that Obama’s job approval ratings remain in the zone they do. Are these folks that uninformed or that brainwashed?

      • Brainwased, willingly ignorant, fear of what they don’t understand, fanatical religiosity, and, I think, an arcane belief that all liberals are communists/socialists. Pretty amazing for the 21st century.

  7. BourneID says:

    I leave my first post on your blog. Need I say how impressed I am? Did the author of the piece you quote give permission to publish elsewhere and periodically from now to November?

    I gave this a 10. I don’t think my screen name is to hard to decode.


    • Nirek says:

      B/ID, welcome. I too am a transplant from HP. Still go there but this place is friendlier.

    • choicelady says:

      Welcome indeed BourneID!

      • choicelady says:

        BTW -- did anyone mention how much you and I look alike? Maybe we’re related -- both from the “Chess Pawn” family… So double welcome if our avatars show we’re cousins or something.

    • kesmarn says:

      Welcome to the Planet, BourneID!

      • BourneID says:

        Thank youm kesmarn (I think I misspelled this when I replied to Murph (whom I call MTS).

        I do think I will really enjoy being here. Look forward to future conversations.


    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      BourneID….Hey PL. Welcome to the Planet….quote away. I think you are going to like it here. I check the home page one a day and will respond to stories that hit me. Sometimes discussion develops, sometimes not.

      There is a section called Time Out for Off Topic at which one can post anything that is not related to a news page item.

      There is the weekly Vox Populi which I think you will love. Instant Messaging system so you get pretty close to real time interchanges.

      The Help section connects you to the Admin folk (and to anyone else who is there. I needed lots of help when I started to post my own articles. AdLib is very handy with virtually everything here.

      Kalima’s morning blog ties you into world news in a very unique way.

      Sometimes this place is hopping. Sometimes not.

      One very nice feature is that the notification system works very well. Whenever anyone leaves you a comment, your e mail is notified. Stories, live blogs are announced in the same way.

      A convention on this site is to begin your responses with the name of the person you are responding to. It makes finding the response easy in the middle stream on this page.

      So WELCOME!

      Afrikaans -- Welkom
      Arabic -- Ahlan’wa sahla
      Bosnian -- Dobrodošli
      Chinese (Cantonese) -- 歡迎 (fòonying)
      Chinese (Mandarin) -- 欢迎 [simplified], 歡迎 [traditional] (huānyíng)
      Czech -- Vítáme tĕ
      Danish -- Velkommen
      Dutch -- Welkom
      French -- Bienvenue
      Frisian -- Wolkom
      German -- Willkommen/Guten tag(good day)
      Greek -- Καλώς ορίσατε (Kalōs orisate)
      Hawaiian -- Aloha
      Hebrew -- Shalom
      Italian -- Benvenuto
      Japanese -- ようこそ (yōkoso)
      Korean -- 환영합니다 (hwangyong-hamnida)
      Mongolian -- Тавтай морилогтун (tavtai morilogtun)
      Norwegian -- Velkommen
      Portuguese -- Bem-vindo/Bem-vinda
      Spanish -- Bienvenido
      Swedish -- Välkommen
      Tagalog -- Mabuhay
      Telugu -- Swaagatham ; Suswaagatham
      Turkish -- Merhaba

      • choicelady says:

        So Murph -- where’s the Polish?

      • BourneID says:

        Hi there MTS

        I’m going to reply to your HP comment when I get back there. This all on my email. Wow, you are right. This is so much easier and friendlier. I’m sure there are those who get pretty testy at times, but I hope not what we see on HP.

        I have a welcome from AdLib and another from kesnarn. How neat.

        Okay, Mr. Genius. Did you type in all of the welcomes in half the spoken languages? I reconize bienvenido, wilcommen. bienvenue, aloha (that’s hard), and mabuhay. There is not end to your encyclopedic brain, is there?

        See back at HP.


        • SueInCa says:

          There is also こんにちは and bonjour

        • MurphTheSurf3 says:

          PL …. doing great here. Tone is superfine.

        • funksands says:

          PL? Hmmm may have to puzzle on this one. Welcome welcome!

        • Led me add my welcome BourneID. Did you get your screen name from the trilogy or the bridge across the Cape Cod canal?
          Anyhoo, welcome and give us a try for awhile. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. There are some rules here, but the basic one is “Be Nice.” I think you’ll be surprised at the level of civility here, even in the course of opposing views. It’s quite a rare thing on the internet.
          Just having your comment appear, without any heavy monitoring, and long wait to be approved, is very nice. Here, you don’t have to worry about censorship, as long as you play by the rules, rules that are the least oppressive and rigid.

          • BourneID says:

            Thanks for the welcome KilgoreTeiyr

            I’cw already noticed the high level of mutual respect.

            My screen name is from the trilogy. I have a serious problem. Active imagination. I spot suspicius people on every corner.

            I loved the trilogy and see whenever the movies rerun.

            • choicelady says:

              Suspicious people on every corner? Probably means you’re sane. They aren’t the government so much anymore. They’re the leftovers and wannabes from the last one. Scary dudes and dudettes. I know them all too well. SueinCA and I do extremist monitoring -- we’re watching over our shoulders a lot, too. The suspicious people really ARE out to get you.

            • BourneID, that’s no problem. I noticed it, but just chalked it up to typo, as all of us make them.
              I agree about the Bourne trilogy. Great films and filled with suspense.

            • BourneID says:

              I’m back KilgoreTrout to prove I can type when I use both hands. I have no idea where Telyr came from.


          • MurphTheSurf3 says:

            Great intro KT. Thanks for emphasizing the Planet Difference. Bourne will find this place a great place gather wits for the battle in the wider and less friendlier field.

            • BourneID says:

              Hey MTS

              This is really great. You left a msg re low key. I understand. I checked to see if I had perhaps compared the two on my comments page but I culdn’t find anything. I’m more interested in minimizing interest that might lead to questions I don’t want to answer. Did you see something I’m not aware of?



            • My pleasure Murph!

    • AdLib says:

      BourneID, welcome to The Planet!

      Agreed, the letter and proposition behind it are quite refreshing, after having endured the never ending hateful propaganda from the GOP candidates and party.

      Hard to imagine who else could have filled Obama’s shoes (aside from McCain/Palin of course) at the moment in time when he became President, who could have inspired such hope for the future in a majority of Americans.

      • BourneID says:

        Hi AdLib

        Thanks for the welcome. Murph and I have been talking for months and pretty much take up most of HPs print space (I do actually; he says a lot in one sentence, and I can’t find my off button when I get started). He invited me to visit the Planet. I did yesterday, love the format, the column that lists articles, and was able to scroll to your on what the President has accomplished. I read through 20+ of the 42 responses that were posted at that time. I’m impressed and absolutely pleased that converstions flow so well. On HP, the threads end so quickly, so there isn’t the continuity.

        I’m going to like it here. I especially like that all comments I’ve seen so far are personalized by addrssing the screen name before starting the message.

        Once again, thanks for the welcome.


        • AdLib says:

          BourneID, indeed, the format of HP doesn’t allow for substantive discussions since comments swiftly disappear to back pages on any popular topic.

          Also, the moderation enforced on posts about important and provocative issues makes a conversation impossible.

          Being able to have growing conversations on issues that matter seems to be much more productive and enlightening.

          Many other pluses at The Planet, no moderation, anyone can write articles and the one prime directive, a modicum of respect is required for all members. That is, folks can and do have powerful disagreements on any issue as long as it’s not personalized into attacking the person with whom one is disagreeing. All opinions are fair game, there is no group think, just a focus on maintaining an environment where everyone feels free to express their unique POV.

          One last feature and tip, there is an Edit link at the bottom of each of your comments, if you make a typo (as you mentioned), just click on it to revise your comment.

          Once again, welcome to The Planet!

  8. kesmarn says:

    That is very interesting, Murph. Who would have suspected that the caucus itself wouldn’t be the main event of your day, but meeting this man would be? And I think that’s totally justified. He sounds like a remarkable guy.

    I think he’s right. I have to say I was initially a Hillary supporter — largely because I thought it was time for a female candidate, I thought she was very capable, and I knew that this was her one shot at the presidency. She would be too old for the next go-round.

    But as I watched Obama campaign, I had this feeling — and I know this is going to sound completely corny — that the hand of destiny was on him. There was no stopping his momentum, and he seemed to be riding a wave of success with this almost tranquil sense of assurance. Not cockiness, but there was this aura of the inevitability of his victory that seemed to radiate from him.

    The times were so dire. And people responded to that calmness. It was as though he had been born for this hour.

    He has all the qualities that were/are so necessary: a sense of humor, a tremendous work ethic, great intelligence, combined with true humility, a level of mental health that allows him to refuse to be baited into fury or panic, no matter how great the provocation, and a real sense of empathy.

    That psychiatrist was right. His work isn’t done. Not by a long shot. We still need the hope he holds out. And if there’s one thing the current field of Republican candidates do not offer the “common man,” it’s that sense of hope.

    Thanks so much for sharing this man’s analysis with us!

    • MurphTheSurf3 says:

      I would have been just as happy to have Hillary. I would have worked very hard for her as well. She would have been transformative as well. But, I think that Obama’s newness made his impact more profound in a time when the feeling of doom and gloom could so easily have overwhelmed and overpowered us. Your characterization of him seems on the mark. A most uncommon common man.

    • Hey kes! Absolutely right. After nearly 8 years of bush/cheney, people were desperate for even a glimmer of hope. Obama promised hope, and didn’t disappoint, IMO.
      I think the way he handles such a hostile congress is remarkable. He did his best to work WITH them instead of against them, even when they vowed publicly to see him fail. He’s smarter than the whole lot of the GOP combined.
      I really don’t see the GOP winning this fall. I have said before, that Obama is sincere, intelligent, amazingly calm and a genuinely decent person. Try finding those qualities amongst the GOPers! HA!

      • kesmarn says:

        Yes, KT, there were times when many on the left (myself included) wondered if a more aggressive tone would have worked better when the president was dealing with that hostile congress.

        But now, as we approach election time, I think we’re beginning to see the wisdom of that no-drama approach. If the GOP had had even one or two video clips of the president “losing it” at any time in frustration, they would have played them over and over again against Romney’s (or Santorum’s) icy heartless facade, and tried to make him into the angry black man vs. the robotic fiscal conservative. But he’s given them nothing.

        Well played, sir!

      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        Right between the eyes!

    • choicelady says:

      Murph and kes- I very much agree that the real “find” of the day was not the caucus but this psychiatrist. I’d known something of the increase in suicide rates in the early days of the Great Depression and yes, feared it would happen again.

      I had a most unusual experience -- I sat about 20 feet from Obama during the CA state Democratic convention. I was overwhelmed by his presence, and that was even given a very personal meeting backstage with Dennis Kucinich whom I then liked. Obama’s speech was so measured, so value-laden, so compassionate and kind, and I’ve never lost that in the intervening years. I cried with sheer joy the night he won the election -- it was historic, momentous, powerful for our nation, but I felt as if a friend had won.

      It’s a puzzlement to me that both Left and Right mock his calm. It’s the gift he gives to us all. He’s a great strategist, a powerful civil libertarian, a man who values democracy and national unity, and a man who is still, at the core of his being, kind. He has stopped the Dem tendency to be defensive about caring for those in need, for those who work for a living, for blue collar people. He asks one thing of us -- something we’ve not been asked in years -- and that is to care about the whole of us, not just our individual concerns. Slowly and steadily he has moved us back to a nation of cooperation and respect for one another. Our work on blogs that discuss that respect for the urban, the poor, those in “flyover country”, for those of faith and no faith, for those struggling to keep their heads above water -- all of that emerges because HE reminds us we are all in this together.

      When Sarah Palin sneered, “How’s that hope-y change-y thing workin’ for ya” I thought -- fine, thanks. It IS working for us.

      When FDR was elected it followed on three years of utter and dire despair. The GOP prescription was a disaster that made things vastly worse. It gave FDR the platform for immediate drastic action. Obama did not get that -- there were too many who believed all we needed were tweaks to the existing system and let the working stiffs float out on icebergs. “Just so I got mine” was their view. He was forced to move both decisively and carefully to balance every aspect of the economic and financial system -- one wrong move, and it could collapse again. His steadfast and deliberate actions saved not just the financial sector but restored a key component of middle class life -- manufacturing. All done while being vehemently criticized by both sides. But he never faltered.

      His willingness to be vulnerable to critique without flinching or faltering, the willingness to be steadfast for US, not the rich, and to be far sighted about the short and long term solutions -- all of that coupled with his calm dedication to creating a better America gave people something to hold onto.

      So yes, Ms. Palin -- that hope-y, change-y thing is working just fine. And the fact people did NOT commit suicide as they had under Hoover is a powerful testament to this president’s ability to calm us, steady us, and give us resources by which to stablize our own lives. Four more years indeed.

      • BourneID says:

        Hi choicelady

        I’m still on the site reaing through the comments. Murph invited me to visit the planet. We’ve been talking for a long time. This is going to be a pleasant experience.

        I read your post above and appreciate your gift of expression. I am also from California. I am a registered Republican but knew as soon as Barack came on the scene that I would do everything I could to support him. That has not changed.

        We watch the candidates insult one another and wonder how it would be possible for any one of them to sit in the Oval office and lead a country as diverse and advanced as we are. I recall that soon after President Bush’s administration got underway, and especially after 9-11, everything started to come unhinged. There was tremendous infighting within his senior staff and they themselves made it public. When Cheney was Secretary of Defense under President Geo HW Bush (am I correct or was it Reagan), hie I was impressed with him, but then I wasn’t too well informed. The only person in W’s administration who seemed to have a sense of decency and understanding of the world was Colin Powell. In fighting seems to be pretty comfortable for the party.

        I will look forward to reading your remarks.

        Again, thanks for the welcome.


      • MurphTheSurf3 says:

        I asked Doc to visit us at the Planet. Your post is one of the finest among a whole bunch of great comments. I love these lines: “He asks one thing of us – something we’ve not been asked in years – and that is to care about the whole of us, not just our individual concerns. Slowly and steadily he has moved us back to a nation of cooperation and respect for one another. Our work on blogs that discuss that respect for the urban, the poor, those in “flyover country”, for those of faith and no faith, for those struggling to keep their heads above water – all of that emerges because HE reminds us we are all in this together.”

        So very well stated! So heartfelt.

        I had the pleasure of meeting Barack twice- up close and personal…both in SC….he is everything you said he is.


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