How deep is your love?
I really need to learn
Cause we’re living in a world of fools …
The Bee Gees definitely had a great point.
As a NYC teenager traversing the length of Manhattan from Harlem to the Lower East Side for school, I had the opportunity to meet and observe all kinds of people. My cohorts and I observed a certain kind of hypocrisy that we labelled “friend for a minute.” This described folks who would only acknowledge or speak to you in certain situations.
We quickly came to understand that people are human. If someone igs you in front of their A-list friends, that doesn’t make them venal. But it does mean that they have to be gently but firmly pushed out of the inner circle of your heart, mind and soul unless and until they demonstrate better character.
In life, we are lucky to have one friend who will go with us to the mat. The key to finding this friend is the quality of our hustle and discernment. To have a friend, you have to show yourself friendly as the old folks would say. If you want loyalty, give it using wisdom and discretion.
President Obama often has appeared to be much more solicitous of people who don’t mean him any well under any circumstances than he has of voters whom he believes have nowhere else to turn. This isn’t just true of him. It’s true for the Democratic Party more broadly.
To win this time, and to create a stronger Democratic Party, our President must think long and hard about the ‘friends for a minute’ in his life as campaign donations and public statements make clear who is whom.
I have many, many issues with the President on things like NDAA, drone attacks, and his patronizing attitude toward black men (Kanye West and the Secret Service members who put your security in jeopardy are both knuckleheads???). I am furious that he allowed his bipartisan pursuit to squander valuable political capital.
At the same time, I recognize the tremendous, unflagging contemptuous resistance he has faced and his real leadership in health care, the financial services sector, etc.
But if he wants to win, he’d better recognize the difference between friends for a minute like Matt Damon and spend a lot more time with folks like George Clooney.
Check out Clooney’s comments here, especially his gracious remarks about his friend, Matt Damon:
GREGORY: Your friend, Matt Damon’s been critical of the President, saying that he’s disappointed. Do you share disappointment?
CLOONEY: Not in the least. But, you know, Matt and I are really dear friends and that’s what makes the world go around, you know, that we will disagree on things. Matt’s issues and a lot of it were about teaching and education. It’s a very important part for him. I, on the other hand, the issues that I believe in, and the President that I voted for, I’m very proud of.
Clooney’s officially my role model on how to handle the friend for a minute dilemma. I can only hope the President takes his lesson to heart.