I originally wrote this post the day after the State of the Union. I had every intention of using this space to help digest Obama’s rhetoric more fully, but truthfully I still don’t think I am proficient enough (or comfortable enough) with blogging to do it justice. So I will say just this:
I felt uplifted by Obama’s elegant prose (who isn’t, really…truly) and then I was punched down like overblown bread dough while listening to commentators and pundits launch into their over-zealous fact checking and general dismissal of his speech by saying that nothing will materialize from his words and that all of our temporary up-liftedness will dissolve away within a few days when we must again, face reality. I am most frustrated by the partisan politic divides that prevent any sort of collaborative work in politics. I applaud Obama for his scolding of both parties and felt shivers run down my spine when he said:
“Of course, none of these reforms will even happen if we don’t also reform how we work with one another. Now, I’m not naïve. I never thought that the mere fact of my election would usher in peace and harmony and some post-partisan era.
I knew that both parties have fed divisions that are deeply entrenched. And on some issues, there are simply philosophical differences that will always cause us to part ways. These disagreements, about the role of government in our lives, about our national priorities and our national security, they’ve been taking place for over 200 years. They’re the very essence of our democracy.
But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day. We can’t wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about the other side, a belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can…
…To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades and the people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills.
And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town, a supermajority, then the responsibility to govern is now yours, as well. Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it’s not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions.
So let’s show the American people that we can do it together.”
I admit, that I was one of those Democrats who, after the initial satisfaction wore off from electing Obama into office, fell into a deeply peaceful slumber that seemed to exculpate me from doing anything political ever again. Obama would fix it. He would fix it all. I could just wait and watch. Or not even watch at all…because soon it would just happen. And then, only a year later, because everything wasn’t “better” here I was beginning to blame Obama for all of our problems. Just like everyone else! The Supreme Court ruling, the MA elections, our economy…now it was all his fault. But it is actually our collective fault. We were tired of working so hard, of feeling so stressed by fighting for what we believed in, we just wanted to take a break. Obama promised us fresh politics, he gave us hope, but he did not give us an infinite vacation from action, activism and advocacy.
Back to work, America! While very little is solved, hope is not lost. We need to start by identifying the things that we can control. And what can we control? Only ourselves, and our own actions.
Think about it. And in thinking about it I will give you some food for thought. Incredible food. Hope-filled. Your taste buds will celebrate and revel in the simplicity of it.
I found this recipe in my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen, although apparently Deb wasn’t the first food blogger to rave about it. She cites at least 3 other food bloggers (all also very worthy of your perusal) who have become as enamored by this tomato sauce recipe as she (and I) have. I also had to share this recipe today because it relates oh-so-punnily to Obama’s. Thank you to my incredibly clever sister, Sarah, who is now in Ecuador, for coming up with this deliciously witty title.
28 oz whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano was recommended, which I used…found at most supermarkets)
5 Tbs (70 g) unsalted butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and halved
Salt, to taste (I found the salt in the tomatoes to be sufficient for my taste)
Combine the tomatoes, onion and butter in a 3-qt saucepan, over medium heat until it simmers. Lower the heat just enough to keep it at a slow, steady simmer. Cook like this, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, or until droplets of buttery goodness (ok, fat) rise to the top. As you stir, crush the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. They should be almost completely broken down by the time you finish.
Remove from heat, scoop out the onion (but don’t throw it away, it’s a delicacy now) and add salt, if necessary.
If I make this again, I will definitely double the recipe. One recipe serves 4, but not as liberally as I (and you) will wish for. Add to whatever pasta you wish (I used farro, and it was delicious) and sprinkle with Parmesan (which I actually found unnecessary). I preferred the simplicity of the pasta served naked with the tomato sauce. It’s a flavor explosion.