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Charles Karel Bouley Headshot

Dear President Obama: Please Don't Pretend

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As a radio host, blogger, writer, I've thought a lot about if and when I get my 10 minutes with President Obama, what will I ask, what would I cover? There's so much to go over, so many wrongs that need immediate right-ing.

Would I be selfish, and immediately ask why as a Constitutional scholar his political, not personal, but political position must be that same-sex marriage must be legal and recognized in all 50 states in order for the Equal Protection the Founders envisioned to be realized for millions of tax paying Americans?

Would I nit-pick and ask why he doesn't admit politically that the war on drugs is over, lost, was never viable, and that we need the revenues decriminalized, taxed and regulated "street" drugs could bring? Or at least allow compassionate usage in states that vote it so without Federal intervention?

It's then that I realize the only question would be: Are you truly going to lead, making decisions and saying things you know to be honest and true, using the bully pulpit to astound America with such other words, are you going to stop pretending you don't know the real answers?

I think of the escalation in Afghanistan. Russia lost with 160,000 troops, we won't win with 80,000. And there's no prize, no winning. No sustainable occupation and no clean way out once that far in. And, it, and Iraq, are the main reasons for our economic downfall. Not some poor slob in an overpriced dream home some place. Not even some obscenely rich and corrupt Wall Street Executive. They pale by comparison to George W. Bush's friends, names we may never know and billions we'll never see. Billions, with a B. Seven years of $10 billion a month, no end in sight given our new ventures in the Afghanistan...

I've talked at great lengths with a man who has served there twice. A hero to me. He would crawl through caves to look for weapons after sending in a home made hook device on a rope to hopefully set trip wires, home made because they had no funding or proper equipment. He and his men evacuated their post and stayed in the surrounding area having gotten word of an attack, and then took out Taliban members that were there to kill them in the darkness, with night vision only. The next day, they found out these "enemies" had been stalking them, sometimes not more than 100 feet away, for days. They could. It's their country, they know how to get around it quietly.

We can't win on the ground in Afghanistan. Period. So we either bomb or leave. Air strikes, bombs, horrible destruction, end of a. problem, or b. country. Or we leave and solve the problem another way. Because we can't kill or shoot our way out of it. Learn the lesson.

Plus, we can't afford it. Sad, but true. Even if a solution were possible, we can't afford one.

Stop pretending we can march in with our weapons and shoot our way to peace promising to rebuild. Iraq was not a success. The price was way too high for the result; human and financial.

Politics has become pretend, spin, show business, smoke and mirrors. And politicians some how are no longer Americans. I know that sounds odd. Yes, they're patriotic, most, and love their country. But Washingdon, D.C., has never seemed more separate, more disconnected from the people of American, from Americans.

When the country tumbled, who got the life preservers first? Corporations. They're not real. Under the law, they are not people, they're paperwork. Billions have been flowing out of Washington while the patient gets worse, not better. We, the People? I don't have to write what each of you got. You know it.

Stop pretending we don't have to nationalize the banks. Stop acting like our auto manufacturers can compete globally and that they should have seen this coming and been selling a $10k 100 mpg car by now. And stop pretending that it's only something like that product that would save them now.

Of course drugs must be legalized and regulated. Yes, same sex marriage needs to be legal. Yes, goodbye to the IRS and hello flat tax. And yes, you want a great country, pay up, and that means higher taxes. We've seen where not wanting to pay them has gotten us.

Stop pretending to tolerate the very people that drove us to this brink by reaching out to these antiquated bastions of the 20th Century; icons of a political era past. Stop pretending you don't know that what Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush et al did were, in fact, war crimes and that they should be brought up on trial and stop acting like We, the People aren't up for that battle. And quit acting like everyone has to agree in order for an idea to be right. Sometimes, the right idea is only held by one man.

Stop pretending you're not that man.

And perhaps in such a fantasy interview President Obama would turn to me and say something like, well, then, please tell your listeners, your viewers and yourself to stop pretending as well.

Stop pretending to care about things you don't, stop all the fake outrage. Admit, America, hard economics have proven the great equalizer and now, it's more about thriving and surviving as a people than as the divided failed states we seem to have become. Stop pretending to know better than everyone else and trust a few leaders now and then when they actually lead. Stop acting like it wasn't our own neglect of our political system that let it run amok, and our own neglect of our country, our cities and our states, our desire to make everything better for ourselves but not our neighbors, our own desires run astray that didn't lead to this economic decay and social split remaining from the 20th Century.

Stop pretending we didn't know this could happen when we allowed our troops to be sent to war, and when money became more valuable than life to so many.

America needs citizens and leaders in these times that will say and do things no one else would in our history, that would advance us, pull us forward whether we want to go or not, that will, in fact, make us evolve as a country and a people.

It's time we stop pretending we can't fix this, and get on with it.

But only if what emerges is a nation that learns the basics and that is, lies, spin, sugar-coating, it all sounds good. But when you pretend you're the best, greatest, most powerful and then forget to actually be those things, you fall.

Time to get up, honestly assess and move on.

Or stop pretending without a major course shift that we will, in fact, make it.