Why President Obama Should Be Given a Second Chance.


James Paul Zaworski

I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican in terms of political affiliation or membership.  I did vote for Barack H. Obama in the 2008 election because I felt that he espoused the youth, enthusiasm, intelligence, background, intelligence and wherewithal to be the President of the United States of America. 

With that said, I have been disappointed in President B. H. Obama’s  leadership as President;. The reasons that I will give will define my expectation that resulted in my disappointment with his leadership.  Obama is a Constitutional scholar.  He appears to be a person who is like myself: an academic.  He is willing to fit within a set pattern of allowed Constitutional laws that were set forth in our United States Constitution.  As defined, and as restrained, through checks and balances, he knows what he can do and he knows what he can do, constitutionally speaking and not.

President Obama has limited himself,  pragmatically, to what he can and cannot do, according to the United States Constitution.   He has had a bad inheritance, but not one that is terribly different from his predecessor.  The former lacked any thought whatsoever, and the latter didn’t lack this but set boundaries on what he could or could not do, because his lack did not exist in terms of knowledge.  One was conscientious; one was not.  One wanted water boarding torture; the other did not.   One waged war in two countries; the other promised to finish them, but has not appreciably.  One left the American economy in a shambles; the other has tried to pick up the pieces, and has not been able to fix it quickly.

The verdict?  Obama is the one to blame for two years of not being to fix it.  He has lacked the notable leadership of other presidents.  He gives great speeches, as David Brooks has said before.  He can inspire.  But he may be the right man for the job at the wrong time.  I don’t mean politically, but personally.

I guess timing is an example, and inexperience that shows. Perhaps a lack of confidence.

President Obama gave a speech at a joint session of Congress.  A State of the Union speech.  It was the one where he cajoled the Supreme Court on its decision to make corporations equal to individuals.  He had said “I’m the President”; as if no one there knew that he was. 

This was a bit telling:  the President of the United States had to remind everyone that he was the President.  “I’m the President”; he said.

Well, what the fuck?  We all knew that, whether you were an idiot or a Democrat!  Or both!  Or, even a Republican!

He dropped the ball on that one for me, and has been wishy-washy on other issues, politically inconcruent, and just in the background while he waits for Congress to do its job. 

Well, constitutionally speaking, he is right.  He is the leader of the executive branch.  He’s not a king or dictator.  He can do some things, and the legislative branch can do other things.  The judicial branch can do its things too.

Well, Obama has actually done a lot of good things.  But has he been a good leader?  I say no.

I am disappointed to an extent; but heartened that this is a President who has morals and ethics and follows the Constitutional rules to the letter.

But maybe we need a Clinton or a Reagan;  a deal maker and a shady character who is both knowledgeable but charismatic and who can make the deal.  Maybe we need a political environment in which the deal can be made.  Maybe we need a resolute executive and legislative branch that is less self serving, and more patriotic about bringing the jobs back to America, stop outsourcing jobs, and stop favoring those groups who give money to them.

It’s just a thoug
My Recollection of September 11, 2001.


James Paul Zaworski

Ten years ago, I was still married and living in southern Illinois.  I remember September 11, 2001 as a morning that dawned very bright and with a lovely blue sky; the evening before was the first cool evening for months.  My then wife rose first, to walk the dogs one by one.  I got up, about 9:15 central time, and brewed some coffee.  After a quick shower and a cuppa, the phone rang.  I blearily made my way to pick it up: it was my eldest brother, Bernie, calling me.  He told me "turn on the television".  I did.  I tuned in to ABC and there was live coverage of one of the two towers of the World Trade Centers on fire, with smoke billowing outward and upward.  As I watched and listened, I talked with my brother.  They recapped and played video of the jet airplane flying into the north tower.  At that point, it was still possible that this was an accident, some tragic malfunction that allowed the jet to accidentally crash.  Just after they replayed, the scene cut back to live.  As the announcer was recapping, I watched as a second jet crashed into the second tower!  My brother and I witnessed this on tv, he in Wisconsin and I in Illinois.  We both knew that this was no accident! 

I recall my brothers words, as he spoke of this event to me: "I can't believe this!  Oh my God!  If dad was alive, he would be fascinated by this, and I can't believe it!  This is War!"  He was right.  I responded with some expletives and words of agreement.  I had to let him go, and tell my wife, Monica.  I hung up the phone, ran out to tell her, and she came in.  She couldn't believe it too.

I tried to call my mother, but couldn't reach her.  I tried my brother again, but the same thing.  Too many people were calling each other across the United States, and the lines got tied up. 

So, we watched the live coverage and we both opted not to go to class that day, so riveted and so struck we were as Americans by these tragic events.

As the day progressed and we did go out, we learned about the other hijacking/suicide attacks on the Pentagon, and vague details about the one in Pennsylvania that crashed.  I recall the guy in the Hardee's drivethru in Carterville, Illinois telling us that he heard 'that jet was shot down by the Air Force'.  The rumor machine was well at work by then.

So, that is my 9-11 story.  I didn't know anyone that was killed on that day, but later worked with a guy whose sister had perished in the attacks.

As an aside, I remember going outside for the subsequent two weeks (we lived in rural southern Illinois east of Carbondale), and near a small airport.  We were also on the flight line from St. Louis to D. C. and were used to seeing jets and airplanes overhead as a routine.  However, all flights were grounded and I remember those few weeks following 9-11 as quiet, and peaceful in the skies; almost spooky.

--James Paul Zaworski
I returned to Shenzhen from my trip to the USA about the third week in August, tried to recover from the jet lag and time difference, prepare and teach some lessons to my students, and get ready to say good bye to Shenzhen, at least for now.
My girlfriend and I have been temporarily separated, I have been separated from my friends, and my home of the previous four years.  Why did I come to Macau?  Well, for a challenge, and a career opportunity to return to university teaching again.

I arrived about August 25th, and got set up: apartment, health check, work visa processing, meeting colleagues, the boss, material for my courses, general induction and orientation for new teachers, and my schedule.  I got phone access and internet access about September 1st, which was the first official day of my contract.

Today is September 5th, and I have just completed my first day of teaching two, two-hour classes to 25 and 37 students respectively.  I feel exhilarated!  I'm currently in a Japanese/Korean restaurant near my apartment complex, enjoying some incredible tuna and salmon sashimi, nice kimchi, and an Asahi beer.  

Today was a good day.