Paul R. Lehman, President Obama knows the value of criticism and patience

October 29, 2013 at 12:46 am | Posted in Congress, Disrespect, fairness, justice, Obamacare, politicians, Prejudice, President, President Obama, the Republican Party | 2 Comments
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An old saying that advises us to keep our friends close and our enemies closer hold a lot more truth than meets the eye. At first the advice might appear to seem puzzling, for why would we want to keep our enemies closer to us than our friends? The answer is simply that our enemies will try to find fault in and criticize everything we do. If we are wise, we will listen to what they have to say because regardless of how angry or hateful they are towards us, the faults they point out to us actually can serve to benefit us.
If we take the critics of President Obama as an example of fault-finding people, then instead of him trying to retaliate against them, he listens to what they are saying. When he does this, he can find out just what and where the problems exist. Once he learns of the problems and where they exist, he can then proceed to correct or at least, address them. The key to having criticism work in ones behalf is to not take it the way it is offered. From the beginning of his term as President, President Obama has been blamed for the rising level of the debt. He ignored them and continued to work. Fortunately, the President can say to his critics today that the debt is on the decline. So, rather than the debt being a consistent problem for the President, something that could be used to try and denigrate him and his administration, he turned it into a positive experience.
More often than not, criticism is offered with negative and emotional force focused on trying to discredit and/or denigrate the President or his administration. Just because it is offered in a negative way does not mean that it cannot be put to positive use. Take for example, the Affordable Health Care system and the problems associated with getting it to work properly. President Obama’s critics began condemning the program and by saying how destructive it was to the country. Fortunately, the President and wiser heads listened to the criticism and put in place a process to correct the problems. The criticism of the AHC focused on getting rid of the entire program. To even entertain thoughts related to abandoning the entire program makes as much sense as getting rid of a new car that only has a defective battery. To correct the problem would be to repair or exchange the battery. A result of the criticism of the AHC program is that it will be better after the problems are corrected.
One of the usual consequences of reacting emotionally to negative criticism is a show of weakness and illogical thought. When someone reacts illogically to a criticism, he or she relinquishes his or her power to the judgment of the source of the criticism. Name calling is not the same as criticism because a judgment can be made only about what a person does or says, not who they are. In evaluating criticism, one must always consider the source. If the source is deemed credible, then the criticism can be taken as coming from a valid judgment, and deemed constructive. If, however, the criticism is meant to cause harm, then it is deemed destructive. Criticism regardless of its intent can always be instructive.
The majority of the criticism President Obama has received since his tenure in office has been of the destructive kind by his many critics. The intent has been to hurt or harm him politically in some way. We have learned from watching President Obama’s reaction to criticism, however, that he does not act impulsively, but patiently and therefore discern what benefits can be acquired from the criticism. In this way, he avoids any emotional reaction expected from the criticism. For example, when the President’s critics accused him of lacking leadership abilities as Commander-in-Chief, he never acknowledged or reacted to it but proceeded to rid the world of some of its most feared terrorists. His actions spoke louder than his words.
Again, when his critics accused him of reckless or irresponsible spending, President Obama simply let the various financial reports show that his administration has spent less than any of the recently previous presidential administrations. None-the-less the criticism continues to flow, except now many of the citizens are slowly beginning to wonder if one person, President Obama, can really be as inept, unqualified, and unintelligent as his critics paint him and still run the country effectively.
What we will discover if we look carefully, is that President Obama has used the criticism of his detractors as fuel for constructive and instructive actions. The irony of it all is that his critics never realize the value of their negative words and actions. At some point society will recognize the folly of the President’s critics when they finally realize that they are wasting their time and energy trying to attack the President with tactics that in effect, help the President.
One of President Obama’s harshest critics is Senator Ted Cruz who tries to paint President Obama as the destroyer of America. He has attacked President Obama actions as destructive to the country and the AHC as the most dangerous program in America. Of course many people know that the Cruz criticism is intended for destructive and harmful results regarding the President. In his criticism of President Obama, Cruz tries to convince voters that the AHC program is dangerous and a failure. In an effort to hurt President Obama, Cruz is credited with helping to shut down the government. Once the government was back up and running, he complained that the AHC program was not running correctly because of computer problems in the program. So, we should get rid of the program. For criticism to be effective, it must make sense, at least a little sense. For President Obama, Cruz is a valuable asset.
Consequently, criticism is actually what one makes of it; accepting it as a judgment of the individual is to confuse its value. Taken correctly, criticism could be a stepping stone for instruction in problem solving. So, we should not be so quick to dismiss our critics; we just need to recognize the value of patience.

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2 Comments »

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  1. Obama’s most public and vociferous critics use hyperbole in order to rally their supporters, which collectively constitute a shrinking base. Reasonable critique does not attract new supporters to that base.

  2. Very sound advise. Good to keep in mind everyday.


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