It was the gnawing in his gut that gave it away, that creepy-crawly upset in the pre-dawn darkness. He turned himself to one side, then to the other, to absolutely no avail; the gnawing only got worse.
He was determined not to disturb her. (She'd been having the same problems herself lately, and the last thing she needed was another sleepless night.) So he lay there in silence and stared at the window, waiting -- it would be hours -- for the sky to turn pink.
He knew what it meant, the gnawing, the creepy-crawling -- he knew exactly what it meant. When Lenny Lefft's stomach goes haywire, Lenny Lefft's emotions are going haywire, too.
It was Obama.
Obama was the reason he was all knotted up, and it didn't take a doctor to diagnose the problem. Lenny Lefft was suffering from a classic case of Obama disillusionment.
"Can you believe that guy?" Lenny muttered to his pillow. "Flip-flopping on the pictures after he said he'd put them out?"
It was outrageous.
But it was more than outrageous. It was: a pattern. The pictures were just the latest example.
There was that whole business about whether the soldiers who'd done the abusing -- the abusing and the torturing of the detainees that the new pictures were going to spell out in even more excruciating detail -- would be prosecuted for it. And worse than that, whether the folks up the chain of command who'd set the policies for the abusing and the torturing would be prosecuted themselves.
Obama was every bit as angry about torture as Lenny was -- Lenny was sure of it. But here was Obama now, concerned that prosecutions might turn "political." Here he was, talking about "looking forward" instead of "looking back."
What was the point of electing him in the first place if he wasn't willing to look back? If he wasn't willing to throw George Bush and Dick Cheney and their pals in jail?
Or slowing down the troop withdrawals from Iraq. True, it was just a couple of extra months, but it was the principle of the thing! And sending more troops to Afghanistan? Was Obama the anti-war candidate or wasn't he?
Suddenly Lenny Lefft wasn't so sure. It was one thing to say, as Obama had once said, that he wasn't against all wars, only dumb wars. It was something else entirely to mean it. To draw distinctions.
And what about earmarks? Again with the distinctions! Hadn't Obama said he was against earmarks? So why did he let Congress keep all those special spending projects in that first budget he signed? No more earmarks, Obama said. No earmarks from now on, he said, as if that was good enough.
"It's just one darned compromise after another!" said Lenny Lefft, right out loud, and Lenny Lefft was getting sick and tired of it. If he'd wanted another four years of George Bush, he'd have never --
Now he'd gone and done it -- he'd awakened Letitia. Letitia Lefft, the love of his life, with a gnawing gut of her own. She'd been having dreams -- nightmares, really. She'd been trapped in the tower of a haunted house, with thick walls closing in on her, and swirling knives and ungodly howling, and she'd been forced to admit that Barack Obama, her latest all-time favorite politician, was something less than perfect.
"Absolutely, Obama," he replied. "Absolutely."
How much more of this could anyone endure? The Leffts were at their limit.
Letitia looked at Lenny. Lenny looked at Letitia.
"We have to do it," said Lenny.
"There's really no choice," said Letitia.
A Zantac for each of them, then down to the basement. It was time to dismantle the shrine.
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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