Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Party's Over: Let's Get Back To Work

By Allen Bacon, Editor, The Daily Bosco

You will have to excuse me for not posting something yesterday on Inauguration Day. But I stared at the speech I posted on Martin Luther King's Day...the "I Have A Dream" speech and I could not have thought of a more appropriate item to have posted on this historic inauguration day. You can't improve upon perfection.

Because I don't think in all of Reverend Kings wildest "I Have A Dreams" did he imagine that an African American would be voted to the office of President of the United States in just over 40 years after he gave that speech. It was a historic and special day indeed.

So now we crossed that important line. We voted a man in as President...not based on his skin color...but on his qualifications and his ability to lead. He is the best man at this time and place in history.

But as President Obama (has a nice ring to it after you drop the elect) indicated yesterday in probably one of the most eloquent speeches in Inauguration History.. We have a lot of work to do. It's not going to happen over night. There are too many major issues to rectify. But rectify them we will as we all pull and work together to make this happen.

Now we have a leader that should inspire us to do just that.


Doug Vehle said...

“In politics it is necessary either to betray one's country of the electorate. I prefer to betray the electorate.”
- Charles de Gaulle

So, after Wall Street weighed in on the inauguration with the worst inauguration crash in history, (Including a 332 point drop for the Dow Jones) Obama goes to work thrilling the masses by announcing a "Pay Freeze" at the White House. Not sure if that means no raises, which might (Or might not) prevent a rise of $1 million in costs for the next year, or simply that they're not to be paid, which would save something close to $1 billion a year, but he certainly kept the staff breathless with the element of surprise, noone knew he was going to hit them with that. And they just had to stand there and take the punch in the gut in front of everyone. Not sure how excited the public will be with that particular de Gaulle-ism, but I'm sure it's a preview of what is to come.

AH, de Gaulle. So why do I think the man who predicted that Americans would not only commit all the "Stupidities" that others could think of but also many more that spring from our own imagination will prove to be the prophet of this administration?

Well, you gotta hand it to de Gaulle. No question he was up against an enemy that would have piled him and his people up in a field and plowed dirt over them, and yet he ran a rump government in plain sight just a short distance from the Nazi's that had overrun his country. This with his English supposed allies attacking what remained of his navy. de Gaulle, more so than the man who spoke it, embodied the Churchchill quote "Never, never, never, never, never. . .GIVE UP!!!!"

And, as you read in the novel 'Day of the Jackal,' those who saw de Gaulle rise to lead the postwar France as he had during the war originally felt that "Zeus had come down from the mountain. Then, as he made peace with the world, they went to work to kill him. (So MANY assassination attempts.) And inspite of this, de Gaulle led France back to prominence.

de Gaulle was a practical man. de Gaulle needed meaning. de Gualle, I believe, would scoff at the passage from 'The Grapes of Wrath' that seems so American:

([Casy:] "Here I got the sperit sometimes an' nothin' to ... preach about. I got the call to lead people, an' no place to lead 'em."
[Ma Joad:] "What the hell you want to lead 'em someplace for? Jus' lead 'em.")

Ma Joad obviously placed great faith in the concept of 'I may be lost, but I'm making great time.' So did the Obama 2008 election campaign. And, to my great dismay, did so many voters.

And that I think will be the mark of the Obama years. Everyone talks about what Martin Luther King would think of Obama, and I think they get it wrong. I think King would have agreed with Malcolm X: Plymouth Rock never landed on Barack Obama. Obama is a true "African American," his black father descent from the slave trading Africans who rounded up entire villages and sold them. His white mother meanwhile is unlikely to have descent from slave owners, such ownership was a very rare thing. (I've been trying to come up with a way to work all that in.) I think the desperate but basically thoughtful Malcom X would have been quicker to embrace the basically conservative Obama than the self declared socialist King.

But with all the talk about Martin Luther King, I don't think anyone is caring what he'd really think. His name is merely used to create breathless moment after breathless moment.

I think they're all caring about watching the President and First Lady dance, on and on, as so many cable channels ran literally uninterrupted coverage of. That's all the Obama Presidency is going to be, folks, you're going to watch him be President. The morning of the inauguration one of the radio reporters commented on people leaving past inauguration balls before the President even made his later arrivals, saying "What are we going to do, watch him dance? I won't do that on television." But the people didn't notice the stock market crashing AGAIN, they were too happy watching the Obama's dance. (And dance lousy, everyone was quick to say they'll never be on 'Dancing with the Stars.')

But people won't be happy watching for very long. Remember how happy people were watching all the fighting in Iraq: For a little while. They were pretty damn happy with the soaring real estate market: For a little while. And the mouse is happy eating that cheese in the trap: At first. Funny I keep comparing him to the Voice of Sauron in 'Lord of the Rings,' and the Voice never said anything truly quotable. Meanwhile, an unknown band had a great line, "We screamed out for change. And change betrayed our trust."

And there will be the betrayal of the electorate beyond any past president, even Dubya. Not because Obama can't do a good job, after all not a single sugar cube in his campaign platform offered to provide any competence. But because Obama's game of 'Candyland' that was his campaign promised all this happiness just by saying "Hope," and "Yes we can." And people aren't going to get that happiness. Not from this dilentante who never put much of anything into his work beyond image building. Nor will he have done anything particularly good for the country.

I was so glad today to hear Willie Brown today talking about politicians who are unwilling to risk their careers to do the right thing, speaking about the California budget crisis with officials who'd rather just let it collapse than do something unpopular to fix it. A touch of de Gaulle is needed here; betraying the State to please the electorate may seem safe, but you're still betraying the electorate, aren't you? Just as the voters would forgive the California State Government for doing the right thing to fix the state finances, Obama could knock off the shock and awe games and do some good for real and still get away with it. Of course his sugar cube campaign platform would never survive. And I'm convinced that actually doing good (Rather than just talking about good) is an alien concept to him.

Oh well. Dubya's true believers are going to forever say 'At least we got to invade Iraq.' And Obama's true believers will say 'At least we got to WATCH him be president.'

And Waldo Emerson's true believers like myself will quote his "Give us the tools and we will finish the job." As Clinton did, I remind you. The simple fact is, Clinton betrayed neither his country, which he made stronger, nor the electorate, for whom he worked tirelessly and made things much better, even if it wasn't always in the ways they wanted. And after Dubya and Obama have failed to do so. Which is too bad, because THAT is really what would have made all these people happy.

“I have tried to lift France out of the mud. But she will return to her errors and vomitings. I cannot prevent the French from being French.”
- Charles de Gaulle

(From the makers of 100% sugar free and aspertame free writing.)

Anonymous said...

It was an amazing day. I was proud to be an American again, it has been eight years since I could say that.