Friday, November 5, 2010

Obama Backlash Defies Science

In recent weeks, I have heard far too many unfounded, outrageous complaints about the work of President Obama.  There has been a backlash against the democrats in the United States, which has resulted in a right-sided victory in the 2010 midterm elections.  As the republicans march on with smirks on their faces, I feel that Americans have been unfair in their analysis of Obama.  Worse, I believe they are, on average, ignorant and/or misinformed, and easily swayed by the media, whose representatives appear to also be ignorant and/or misinformed.  You know there is something wrong with the mainstream news in America, when the voice of reason, the only rational pundit on television, is Jon Stewart, whose Daily Show airs on Comedy Central.

The main reason why President Obama is not so popular at the moment is because of the terrible economic situation his country is in.  Americans feel that the quality of their lives should automatically be high if their government is doing good work.  Any undergraduate mechanical engineer will tell you that the state of a system depends on two things: the governing forces and the initial conditions.  Not only were things bad at the time that Obama was sworn in as President, but they were getting worse at an astonishing rate.  Even the most efficient government, which worked together rather than being internally opposed, would require a good deal of time to get things moving in the right direction.  When Superman imparts a large counteracting force on a speeding locomotive to slow it down before it falls into a pit, the train does not come to a stop instantly.  The train has a large mass, or inertia, which causes a time-delay between cause and effect.  The inertia associated with political change is significantly greater than that of a simple train.
I can understand why the American people had high expectations of President Obama.  He campaigned with serious gusto in 2008, and promised a lot.  Those who voted for him were naive if they believed he would accomplish his entire to-do list in two or even four years.  To Obama’s credit, he managed to address the healthcare issues in America at a time when focusing on anything other than the financial crisis would appear impossible.  Obama has helped to curb some economic issues, but any policies he put in place will take some time to yield results; this is the nature of cause and effect in real life – there is a time lag between them.
It has been more than two decades since man stopped emitting Ozone destroying refrigerants into the Earth’s atmosphere.  Still, our ozone layer continues to deplete today.  Why?  It turns out that the lifetime of these dirty chemicals is about fifty years.  Any chemicals we released in 1975 will continue to eat away at the ozone layer until 2025.  We expect that this very useful layer, which prevents certain UV rays of the Sun from reaching the Earth’s surface, will begin to restore itself in a decade or so from now.  Perhaps by 2050, the ozone layer will be restored to its former 1900 self.
We can hope that any positive changes in legislation put forth by Obama will show results before his first term is over, but some may not.  This is unacceptable to the average American who has the patience, and attention span, of a child.  Today’s American is accustomed to instant information via Google and instant supper via McDonalds.  Their sense of entitlement naturally extends into other facets of life.  They have forgotten that results require a long, concerted effort – dare I say, they might have to work hard, and perform well.  Elsewhere in the world, there is not the same expectation that food and shelter should rain down from the sky, followed by occasional bursts of precious jewels. 
The reality is that America went on an eight-year hiatus.  The country placed an “out-of-order” sign around its neck from the year 2000 to 2008.  During that period of time, the government of America had a certain set of values and set forth with actions that were completely misaligned with twenty-first century realities.  In walks a well-meaning leader named Barack Obama, who wishes to lead his country out of trouble.  He is thrust in the middle of a wind storm, and given the circumstances, handles the situation, and extreme pressure, admirably.  In his first two years of service, which is not a long period of time in politics, he stabilized a few issues that were in the process of spiralling out of control.  One such issue involved the lack of rules imposed on banking institutions.  However, the most important issue that he managed to curb does not get enough coverage by the media.
In 2008, America was the most despised country on Earth.  We live in a global village, where International integrity is an absolute necessity for a nation to prosper.  President Obama is uniquely responsible for improving his country’s image, and America is indebted to him for this.  Yet, I doubt he will get much praise for this accomplishment, as American pride forbids them to admit the obvious reality that their country is not respected overseas.
The citizens of society underestimate the difficulties associated with leading a powerful nation such as America.  Obama is responsible for a multi-million variable system of non-linear equations.  Today’s most sophisticated computers could very well attempt to solve such a set of equations, but they may find that there is no “best-solution” to be found. 
Linear Algebra demonstrates that certain sets of equations have no solution, and some have an infinite set of solutions.  If Obama finds himself in the first situation, when no satisfactory decision is possible, he must still act when a problem arises.  In an over-constrained system, he must push against certain constraints to find some way forward.  The alternative to this would be stagnation, which is the most subtle, yet disastrous form of leadership.  In general, Obama has not taken this route.
I take exception to those who are vehemently opposed to Obama’s track record thus far.  Overwhelmingly, their opinions have been shaped by the media, who have a clear agenda; their narrative is written by the owners of the broadcasting station.  I agree with Jon Stewart’s rally to restore sanity in America, but I would like to see that mantra expanded for next year’s rally.  I want to see a “Rally to Restore Sanity and Truthfully Inform”.  Correct information, ie, the truth, can go a long way towards real progress. 
I would support Obama if I were American.  I watch with great interest from the northern sidelines, and can’t help but be disappointed in my southern neighbours.  Their negative view of their leader is the worst kind of wrong, as it is not only unfounded, but worse yet, it is based on unsound science.


Justin Case said...

I'm sure you're aware that Obama went to war with Libya without congress approval. Furthermore His healthcare is unconstitutional, being that you cannot force a free person to buy something with threat of law. He claims to be a constitutional scholar, yet he puts the people rights aside to achieve his goals. That is not the mark of a great man, and I believe that is why there is so much anger towards him. There is a long laundry list of "mistakes" he has made, put I do not want to clog up your comments page.
I'm not trying to be a hater, simply look into what he's doing with more scrutiny.
Of course it is rather easy to dismiss me, being that i am quite paranoid of politicians and do not trust government, much like the founding fathers didn't.

The Engineer said...

Yes Justin, Obama's decisions stem from certain values, which may not align well with yours. I cannot comprehend how someone could view the transfer from Bush to Obama as a step down. Obama is worldly, and we live on a planet. The borders are created by man, and I hope the significance of those geographical lines reduce with time. This being said, your paranoia is rational considering the history of politics.