Cheryl Pappas


Turning the Other Cheek is Bad for Your Other Cheek: President Obama’s Brilliant Moment

During his State of the Union speech last week, President Obama’s now-famous quip in response to Republican applause after he noted he has “no more campaigns to run”, literally woke me up.

Not missing a beat, he smiled wryly and with an amused, undaunted smirk, added, “I know because I won both of them”.

Here’s the thing: I have evolved on the matter of respecting President Obama. In fact, I loved the brilliance of his fluid, level retort.

It is not easy to face constant personal, let alone political, dislike and mockery, as this President does, inside this government.

I am not saying, “Awww. Poor baby”. Neither am I in love with everything the President is aligning with, proposing, or standing with dubious political allies to enforce.

Still, you have to admit the man is a human being, and a fine example, in my opinion, as evidenced by the wit and alacrity of his expert return of the ball across the political net, during his stirring, if not entirely transparent, State of the Union speech.

It would be remiss to not credit Obama, himself, for the infamous use of the word, “evolving”, which formerly was his word regarding his position on gay marriage.

This he said in press conferences in October and December, 2010. At the time, I felt that his need to “evolve” on the matter was absurd and synonymous with the right wing’s need to evolve on having the first black President of the United States.

In other words, I had the same smirk of a response, hearing Obama needing to evolve on gays, that Obama had last Tuesday night when the Republicans applauded his eventual disappearance.

Thankfully, the word “evolve” is gone from Obama’s position on gay marriage, and I can see that I was a tad strident about him to the point of turning not just one cheek, but my entire head and mind, away from the President.

This, on my part, is an example of a rigid emotional position, one that is rather common and leads to nothing more than fundamental ignorance and a lack of wisdom.

It is alarmingly easy to let emotions rule when responding to the President of the United States of America.
We all have agendas of the heart that we fervently want the President to champion.
Disappointment so easily leads to disfavor, if not enmity.
The challenge is to stay open to the whole picture, rather than rushing to Roman arena theatrics and conclusions.

It may even be wise to cultivate a more political mind about politics!

To my surprise, I snapped out of a petty, disfavoring haze toward President Obama last Tuesday night.

I cannot remember a time, since the wit and public eloquence of President John F. Kennedy, when I saw a President so unwittingly demonstrate an authentic, unscripted response that coincidentally serves to role model a higher level of being human.

Bravo, Mr. President.

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