The coverage of the growing disconnect between President Obama and America reminds me of some of my single friends lamenting the distance they feel with their boyfriends. For some of them, there’s a pattern – intense excitement at the promise of a new relationship, followed by bewilderment and anger as it starts to unravel, and ending in broken hearts and healing mantras of, “He just wasn’t right for me.”
There’s an old saying that a man marries a woman believing she’ll never change, and a woman marries a man believing she’ll be able to change him. Wrong on both counts – it doesn’t work that way.
America was excited about its new relationship in January 2009 when it was fresh and shiny. Anything the new president said or did was captured on video and considered “Just amazing, and so funny, and so refreshing! I mean, did you SEE HIM catch that fly in the Oval Office? It was fantastic! He is the BEST!”
Several months later, the spark began to fade since unrealistic expectations can never be met.
America was confused over decisions that were at odds with what it wanted. Just where was this relationship going?
But hope sprang eternal – until another few months passed, and America started feeling jilted. “He just doesn’t understand me. He just doesn’t GET me. And, what’s worse, he doesn’t seem to care that he doesn’t. Lately I feel like he’s just saying what he thinks I want to hear. It’s like he’s just going through the motions.”
Recently, the president has tried to tell Americans that he really does get it – but every time he talks he leaves citizens more confused than before. Some are calling on him to SHOW us he cares, but as with any relationship, you can’t make someone feel something or say something just because it’ll make you feel better. You want them to believe it.
What started out as a match made in heaven, now has many feeling like they're in purgatory. And so America is asking – just what are his intentions…really?
In some relationships, couples seek counseling to work it out. The man might promise to try to pay more attention to the woman, to actually listen rather than just pretend to, and to show more emotion. She might agree to give him more space, support him more and nag him less. This can go on for a while, and sometimes people are able to work it out – if both parties are willing.
But in the relationship between America and the president, it’s not clear that either party is willing to do what it takes to make it work. And after the mid-term elections on November 2, I predict many people are going to decide that it’s time they started seeing other people. And who knows where that may lead?
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Dana Perino currently serves as co-host of FOX News Channel's "The Five" (weekdays 5-6PM/ET). She previously served as Press Secretary for President George W. Bush. She is the author of the new book "And the Good News Is...: Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side" (Twelve, April 21, 2015). Ms. Perino joined the network in 2009 as a contributor. Click here for more information on Dana Perino. Follow her on Twitter@DanaPerino.