Impatience in politics

Obama has just lost his strategic majority in the US Senate. He has lost it due to a phenomenon that can be described as “political impatience” – one year into his presidency, the majority of voters felt that he didn’t deliver enough.
Now, I know it’s too late and all, but I just wanted to say that my research shows that transitions like the ones Obama has been trying to achieve take a long time. Look at the Middle East – the conflict there has been going on for 40+ years, and has influenced the societies that are part to it in a profound way. My research shows that today, dominant strands in Israeli and Palestinian discourse tend to securitize everything that has to do with “the other”, regardless the “objective” threat. In other words: The societies which are involved in this longterm conflict have developed “frames” through which they perceive reality, and these frames hinder any effort to achieve peace. Now, changing such frames is a longterm project; in addition, politics has not even started to pay attention to this part of conflict psychology. Why then expect the one American president who finally puts a real effort into solving this (and other) longterm conflict to succeed in a year?
We (and by that I mean the “Western” states especially) have developed expectations and a sense of urgency which we apply to practically everything, but which are less than helpful in most cases. Political impatience of the kind that robs a beacon of hope of his political space of manoeuvre should have no place in a global society which, at its core, aims at solving conflicts and major global issues like climate change.
Instead, we should learn to embrace the longterm, and to extend our attention (and support) span. Otherwise we will continue to live in a self-fulfilling prophecy.


One thought on “Impatience in politics

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more! It’s extremely frustrating to watch this process happen back home and have to answer questions from non-Americans about why Obama hasn’t solved the world’s problems yet (let alone try to make sure that our nation has comprehensive health coverage).

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