Inspection- Reflections in a Presidential Pool of Change
We’ve been swimming in a pool filled to the brim with filth for so long, is it possible there might be something to dive into other than sewage? Something that will reflect the best the nation has to offer instead of the most partisan; least noble aspirations? Something that won’t reflect the past eight years?
Doing a little personal reflection, I think a defining moment for me came a few years ago when I saw George W. Bush literally dancing like an Egyptian on stage during dire times; and dire times pretty much defines every second of the past eight years except for the rich and large corporations like Halliburton or Shell. During that defining moment I collected in my head all the “doin a heck of a job” moments during the past eight years and realized I’m embarrassed to even be a member of the same species as George W. Bush; the man who will forever “misunderestimate” both the evil and the mental banality that inhabits his heart, his mind; his very soul. Not that he hasn’t had a lot of help and encouragement doing just that: and always has.
His has not been a life of just a silver spoon, but also golden diaper and platinum pacifier. His supporters will do anything; say anything to pacify and praise a man who has never had to grow up. That’s because he has never had to accept responsibility for the multiple foul, vile messes he has made; and he has made, oh, so many. Just change the diaper and attempt to make Democrats, Bill Clinton or gremlins swallow the excretions.
“No one could have predicted.”
“No one could have known.”
But they did. They tried to tell us. They tried to tell him. But saying that listening isn’t one of his skills is like claiming a rock doesn’t have ears.
I was not a Barack supporter either. I still have questions. But I have grown to respect his abilities; his obvious talents and how events seem to mold themselves in a positive way around him. Can he deliver all he has promised? I’m sure he can’t, but won’t hold that against him as long as he tries. I was actually impressed with his appointments. I know, “same old, same old,” but as long as he holds the reins and does what he thinks is right, I’ll be happy. Tapping the inexperienced; rather than relying on what experience we do have from previous administrations and elsewhere, just to please those who can only accept politically correct appointments, would have been a bad sign.
I won’t hesitate to pounce when I feel he’s wrong. For instance, if he decides just to let everything done during the Bush administration, like approving torture or risking national security by exposing a CIA operative, just slide by, I will denounce that.
But as far as this day goes: January, 20th, Inauguration Day: 2009, my major criticisms have nothing to do with Barack, or Bush. More like; where the hell did they get that announcer who asked everyone to sit and then kept mentioning what was coming up next: “Worst DJ’s Ever R Us?” Isn’t that the same voice used on one of the first Star Trek episodes: The Corbomite Maneuver? You know, the one where that short little alien used a big scary mannequin to scare the hell out of the crew of the good ship Enterprise?
And what was that Aretha had on her head? I half expected it to light up like a decoration for the top of some Christmas tree, or blink the following words in time as she sang: “worst hat ever.”
Switching hats, let’s have a brief pause for a little tinfoil time: looking back at it now… could the Hillary/Barack race have been less a battle and more, “You pretend you have the ball and split left, I’ll pretend to have the ball and split right, and whomever is nominated will get to the White House before ye?” If we had had a candidate that attacked the opposite without mercy the response might have been less favorable. If we hadn’t had Hillary for a foil would Barack have gotten this far? This odd bad cop/good cop routine sure as hell confused the Hannitys and the Limbaughs out there, didn’t it? They kept trying to follow the ball so they had less time to do some Swift Boat or serial exaggeration routine. Part of the plan or not, it worked.
Where the ball goes now is up to you, Mr. President.
Listening to his acceptance speech I found hope in pessimism when he spoke of “gathering clouds” and “collective failure to make wise choices.” As a believer I was amazed and felt relieved when he mentioned the rights of non-believers along with believers. Has a President ever dared to do that in so public a manner? Not that I recall. They are Americans too, and if we really believe in freedom of religion they deserve freedom from religion just as we deserve freedom of. I found the honesty of, “…the ways that we (are using) energy strengthens our enemies…” and “…the worn out dogmas that have strangled our politics…” both refreshing and needed. “We will restore science to its rightful place?” A necessary slap. Maybe it was just the cold, I actually think Bush’s cheek had turned rose red as if he had been slapped… and his usual pissy stare when someone dares to point out just how ignorantly partisan he has insisted on being for the past eight years; the good of the country be damned.
There were other quotes I found bothersome. Like his goals: “..all are equal, all are free…” and “…the stale political arguments no longer apply.” Good luck with either of those, with so much of our history invested in keeping some in a state that is obviously less than “equal” or “free,” and so much of Murdoch’s money in promoting stale foam at the mouth partisanship as “fresh.” Giving a major role to a preacher who believes Gays deserve to be treated as inferiors in some matters doesn’t help.
Then we went to outright absurd…
How about “..our journey has never been one of shortcuts…” Who is he kidding? Native Americans in the way? Exterminate them to the point they desperately choose being shoved into concentration camp quality “reservations,” unless their willing to denounce their own heritage and also stay to the back of the bus. They were here first, folks. One can see a direct line between that and waltzing into Iraq, and when our excuses prove to be, at best, nothing but excuses, insist on staying until they become more like us. What do Iraqis really want? Well, everyone has to want whatever we want for them, right?
Proving freedom is something the citizens of a nation should choose to fight for, not be forced to accept. Speaking of “shortcuts…”
President Obama, since your family came here after slavery, maybe you should ask your wife’s family about this. When forming our own Constitution we agreed to a “shortcut;” a compromise that eventually wound up killing thousands of Americans and kept half of your heritage; once again, to the back of the bus.
But being a Constitutional scholar you know that, don’t you? You said it yourself…
“…a man who could not be served in a restaurant 60 years ago can now stand before you and take a sacred oath…
Do you understand why I have a suspicion that despite pretty words you may not be all you claim to be, kind of like the big box of cornflakes that’s less than half empty when you open it? And when you pointed at our adversaries and said they should judge themselves on what they can build, not what they can destroy, do you understand that the past eight years have made that statement very, very ironic? We’ve had eight years of finger pointing and WMD quality accusations: millions of deaths worldwide because a very small man activated a military death machine using those kind of lies. So now we wish to lecture others… again?
Somewhere Osama is laughing at that kind of less than change oriented audacity. He has heard it all before, and is still free to laugh about it.
Please, President Obama. Prove me wrong: especially when it comes to rejecting the battle between having safety and our ideals. You’re right, we can have both. A lot of tormented prisoners await your promise. And to fulfill that promise those who did these things must be held responsible.
No, I’m not going to try to mimic the color of one of the Blue Men performers by holding my breath.
Maybe this pool of change is shallow.
Maybe it’s deep.
We hope for the latter, but pray either way that whatever change we may get is more clear and clean than the sewage we have been forced to swim in; that never, ever could have even the slightest possibly of reflecting our ideals as a country, unless those goals are at the wrong end of a waterboard, or breaking into citizens houses because someone said that someone said they might have said something suspicious.
As far as “American ideals” those are more like ideals from Backwardica, or Upsidedownland. We expect our enemies to advocate such sludge, not our leaders.
Here is my promise. In my own small way I will attempt to support what I like and try to correct through my own meager efforts what I do not. It is the best any American can do. For to support what one really should not isn’t “patriotism,” and neither is silence. That’s a lesson lost during the past eight years. One hopes that; more than any other change, has finally come to pass.
If that works for you, then you have my best wishes and most of the nation’s.
Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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