George Graham

It Isn’t “Name Calling” When It’s the Truth

I didn’t listen to the president’s inaugural address but from what Sandra tells me it was just as stirring as I expected it would be. He is very good at the kind of oratory we liberals enjoy. Still, I’m not convinced he’s really a progressive at heart.

That reminder of his about “name calling,” for example. Isn’t that the real Barack Obama talking?

And he followed up with a warning to be patient:

We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.

I’m sorry, Mr. President, but I don’t expect to be around 400 years from nnow – or even 40.  And I can’t predict who will be giving the inaugural address in another four years. It could be some neanderthal like Marco Rubio or Chris Christie.

I want results in the next four years, while you’re still in the White House.

But my expectations are muted. After all, you were the young senator who ignited the 2004 Democratic convention with your vision of a “United States of America” that has “no red states or blue states.”

That’s who Barack Obama is. He really believes there’s a middle ground between progressives and conservatives – between right and wrong.

Look, I concede America has every reason to celebrate his re-election. The prospect of a Romney-Ryan administration was unthinkable.

And from what Sandra tells me, he was quite brave in his inaugural speech. That part about gay rights being the spiritual legacy of the fight for racial justice, for example. But he has the polls to back him up. Most Americans now accept gay rights as simple social justice. Especially the young voters who helped return him to the White House.

And as for women’s rights, who in their right mind still believes women belong in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant? (Yes, I know, Paul Ryan belives that, but I wouldn’t say he’s in his right mind; he also believes a fertilized egg is a person with the right to own property.)

Regretably, our man Barack isn’t ahead of the curve when it comes to progressive causes. He’s back there with those who seek a middle ground. It took him forever to come out for same-sex marriage, and he was silent on gun control until those babies were butchered in Connecticut. Now, when public opinion has turned so sharply against the pro-gun lobby, it’s safe to champion common-sense regulation of firearms.

Of course, I expect he will be much bolder in seeking to fulfill his agenda this time around. And I doubt he will go hat in hand to John Boehner begging for that “grand bargain” again. It must be clear to him by now that the Republicans want no part of his “bipartisan” overtures. All they want is to frustrate him at every turn, even if it means damaging the country.

So I. for one, am not about to stop calling them names.

They’re bigots and bumpkins in my book. Racists and reactionaries.

What’s more, they’re the worst liars I’ve ever heard in my long life.

Their political strategy is based on “dirty tricks” and economic sabotage.

Their goal is to enrich the wealthy and punish the poor, the sick and the old.

And they believe they can buy elections with a flood of ‘dark” money from their wealthy backers.

President Obama tells me:

We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate

And I have to admit it sounds really mature and cerebral – like the law professor he is. But it’s not me. I;m past that.

You can’t reason with Republicans.

As Grover Norquist, one of their favorite gurus, might put it, they’re a bunch of poopy-heads.

Click here for the inaugural address.

Click here for a reminder of name calling by the president’s men.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for