Friday, September 25, 2009

The Real Deal

Last night I watched President Obama’s appearance on Letterman’s show (isn’t TIVO and DVR technology wonderful?). I observed a few things. First of all, the guy has a good sense of humor. And he’s a good sport. And in my opinion, he’s the real deal.

For around 25 years, I made my living in credit and collections. And there were certain elements of the job I was quite good at. One of them was the ability to make judgments about a person’s character after a brief encounter on the telephone. I excelled at this. And it was an important part of the process. In the beginning, much of my review hinged on that ability. I needed to make phone calls and insure people would make good on their contractual agreements and how much flexibility was offered was very much based on my gut feelings of whether or not they were telling me the truth. As I progressed into supervision and management, I still needed to make those decisions for those customers who insisted on “talking to a manager”. Now nobody bats 1000 and I’m sure I blew a few calls, but frankly, I can’t remember any big ones. I can, on the other hand, remember many times when I had it right.

And that ability continues to serve me well now. I’m a landlord. I need to make similar decisions when it comes to accepting tenants and occasionally accepting “terms” on how they will get their rent paid. To date, I have been paid every dime owed to me in rent and not every tenant has had what you would call an exemplary credit score. I’ve even let them slide beyond what some would consider reasonable delays. But in the time it takes to show an apartment I already have a pretty good idea whether or not they will pay their rent. I don’t approve or deny an application to rent based solely on credit. I believe everyone needs a place to live and I try to afford that. Of course I don’t want to do it at my expense. Call it a sixth sense if you will. Or, as I often refer to it, my “spider senses” (any Spider Man fans out there?).

So I listened to our President talk about the economy, healthcare, Iraq, Afghanistan, his family, the job of being president, etc., and not once did my spider senses start “tingling”. What I heard, or better yet, what I felt, was that this guy is the real deal. He’s intelligent. He’s articulate. And he cares about America. Does he have all the answers? I doubt it. Who does? Is he better than the last guy? You bet your ass he is (but you or I likely would be too). Is he a liar? Well, he's a politician. Unfortunately I don't think we can completely trust any of them. But is he a liar by nature? No, he's not.

So how come the radical right tries to paint him as a liar? I have a friend who seems to enjoy referring to him as the “liar in chief”. Why is that? I’ll tell you why. They do it because they have to. If this guy is telling the truth, wouldn’t that make the right a pack of liars? I mean they have fought this guy tooth and nail every step of the way. They better hope he’s lying. If he’s not, boy are they going to look stupid. Or has that already happened?

Look, we live in a two party system. I get it. I suppose on some level, everyone has a right to fight for their own best interests. But where it becomes despicable is when they do it with total disregard for the interests of others. I like to use the example of taxes. If you made $20,000 a year and Uncle Sam came in and took 50% of it that would be a huge hit to you. You aren’t going to be living an affluent life style at 20 grand, let alone 10 grand. But if you make $6 million a year and the government takes 50%, you are still left with $3 million. Hardly a pauper’s income. And no, I’m not suggesting a 50% tax on the rich (although it would be nice to see them get screwed for a change). I use those figures for illustrative purposes only. The right has perfected the science of getting people to vote against their own best interests. A perfect example is the “Einstein” who stood up at a town hall meeting and screamed “Keep the government out of my Medicare”. How can someone so dumb, be so passionate, if not whipped into a frenzy by the mighty right wing propaganda machine?

So let the right keep slinging mud. Let them talk about their “death panels” and “lack of choice” and “government takeover of health care”. Let them rant about socialism and communism. I truly believe that what they are doing is revealing themselves to be selfish, lying, infantile, dullards that will bring their own party to it’s knees, without any help from the rest of us.

Common Sense

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