Over on the White House website, David Plouffe posted this video of President Obama speaking to a group of college students a few months ago. Maybe it was intended as a kind of a remedial lesson for some members of Congress who seem to be under the impression that they should be allowed to get 100% of what they want. Maybe it's a rebuke to some of the president's fair weather supporters who criticize him whenever they do not get 100% of what they want. These college kids seem to get the point. Why is the lesson so hard for many of the rest of us?
While you're visiting the White House blog, check out the video of Ruby Bridges viewing the Norman Rockwell painting now hanging in the White House, showing little Ruby on her way to integrating a New Orleans elementary school in 1960. Very moving. It's so interesting that we have a black president who is too young to remember the earlier part of the Civil Rights movement, and who also--having grown up in Hawaii and Indonesia--lived somewhat outside of its range. Yet he is steeped in this history, and he made sure to tell Ruby Bridges that he might not be sitting in the White House without her help.
When we are caught up in the crisis of the moment, it seems helpful to put things into perspective, and reflect on subjects like the nature of politics, our somewhat unique system of government, the Emancipation Proclamation, the way media reports the story, and the Civil Rights movement. It's somewhat mind-boggling to realize that the president is in fact thinking about all of that while he is dealing with the particular problem we need to solve this month.