Sunday, August 10, 2014

Obama Year 6: Is He Still Jesus?

First, to get a couple of things out of the way which I think are necessary when commenting on a political figure. One is that I have no respect for our current POTUS and in many ways despise him and his adamant lack of conviction  (well, he has one dogged conviction: to have no convictions). I was one of those who applauded in what I hoped would be the end of the Bush era in 2008. Alas, little did I expect (or want to see) the massive Trojan horse we let in the door.

Secondly, there are those who would criticize the President were he to walk on water and end hunger. They would say he didn't walk the right way and the water not deep enough. He'd be derided as a fascist ("He mandates we care about the hungry! Who is this dictator to tell us what to do?"). I find those kind of charges amusing. So while it might seem my criticism of the President aligns me with conservatives, in truth they are no allies of mine for my solutions and their solutions are polar opposites. And it's by your solutions you are defined.

The lesson I have learned is either your part of the problem or part of the solution. I never saw Obama as part of the solution but I did hope for a stoppage of the insanity, if not a reversal. After horrifying escalations of Bush era policies I stand corrected. There can be no middle. One either takes a stand against the flow or becomes a party to it. So the question remains, why would an otherwise seemingly decent man both further and enhance policies of self-destruction? In a word: Fear.

"Those who stand for nothing fall for anything."

When you're in a dark room, blind, not knowing which way to turn, most will naturally take the most conservative approach possible. Obama may be a Democrat, but he's most thoroughly a conservative. He fears the liberal voice of truth and lashes vindictively out at it. He's a man who proclaims the right thing only when his intentions are to do the opposite. These are all signs of a man in over his head. He wants to be known as a great politician - but not actually be one. That is certainly the trait he shares most with his predecessor. (One lied us into war, the other into Obamacare)

I'll give an example of what I mean (don't worry, I don't expect anyone to agree with my assessments or characterizations.) Obama supporters love to crow about the economy, but really, had Obama lost the election the economy would be no different than what it is now. He's taken the most conservative approach possible. Inequality continues to skyrocket (Obama publicly laments it because he knows he's helped deepen it and fears he'll be tagged with it), the stock market takes off as main street still suffers (40 percent of households show signs of financial stress) and meaningful regulation has not been demanded nor implemented.

The fundamental issues that caused the meltdown of 2008 have not been resolved. Too big to fail is worse then ever, the cancer of derivatives grows daily and masking agents that rob from tomorrow to fund today continue in open disregard. Commodities manipulation by speculators steals hundreds of billions of dollars from those who need money the most. The outrages are there if one cares to look and this I can also tell you: our dear President is fully aware of them.

It's easy to sit in the peanut gallery and call for honesty or say that you would stand up for it in a political vacuum. Truth is, most would act as our POTUS has. He believes the banks are what's fundamental to our way of life, they must be saved above anything else, even if it means siphoning everyone else dry! (There's a whole chorus of cowards and malcontents who sing this song to high heaven. Hi, Mr. Greenspan!). Honesty as a principle is radical, unpragmatic, and - gasp - liberal, the sin of all sins.

Unfortunately, there is absolutely no possible way dishonesty has a future, no matter how much we promote and cheerlead the ways of greed. All we've done the last few years is exacerbate the problem by refusing to take our medicine and kicking the can down the road, worsening our day of reckoning. But hey, who cares, that's on somebody else's watch and that person will get the blame. (Imagine how torched Kerry would be if he had won in 2004!) The goal has not been to heal, but to "restore confidence" - even if it's a lie. That's how you get people to start spending their precious dollars again (and set themselves up).

But it's in foreign policy where Obama's fear is most palpable (and signed off on by the fearful American public). We execute for thought crimes now, devolving into a Stalin-like paranoia that everyone is out to get us (a self-fulfilling prophesy). For now it's overseas but time will come when it hits these shores and trust me by then it will be too late to stop it. The President has already ordered a Jacobian directive in the intelligence agencies to snitch on "traitors to the revolution". That's about as smart as relying on feuding Afghan tribes to give us intelligence on who our enemies are. Oh yeah, it's always the guy I hate!

Hey, look who's deciding our foreign policy!

We throw away our freedoms in the name of freedom. Again, most people would choose that route because they would fear being blamed for not doing enough to keep us safe if a major attack occurs. The rise of the police state shows no sign of stopping, especially when the man in charge desperately encourages it behind the scenes not knowing what else to do, grasping at straws, listening to the worst of the voices for support and comfort. We are not being made safer, just the opposite.

But it's the half-measures - the half-cancer - approach that divides the left from the liberals. "Removing half the cancer is best we can do!" "Don't worry, we'll remove the rest of the cancer some other time!" "No one can do more than removing half the cancer!" These wildly contradictory arguments are heard all the time from the left. They rail at liberals for being too idealistic, not living in the real world. Meanwhile, the patient dies in the name of practicality. Sorry, moron me just don't get what's practical about that.

But we need to feel hope - even if it's a false hope. Even rabid Obama supporter Clooney inadvertently revealed his misgivings when he said believed the President's term could be sold as a success. It's the magical thinking of Obama as purity and grace itself. It gives one peace in the night. If we take immigrant deportations for example, we find Obama has been far more ruthless in splitting up families than any hard-hearted Republican beast. But these same magic thinkers would howl to the wind were a "beast" committing these same acts. But we hear nothing when our alleged savior does it because "he's doing the best that can be done. No need for us to care."

That's some scary shit.

Who we elect President reflects the psyche of the American people, of how we want our lies to sound. "Obama reformed healthcare!" is a phrase we often hear. However, no free clinics or hospitals were opened up, rather it was insurance that was "reformed". But to say "Obama reformed health insurance!" is as empty sounding as it suggests. We don't want to hear we invaded Iraq for oil or that our economic system needs changing - or that change is needed at all. The person who fulfills that demand of liar-in-chief in the marketplace speaks volumes about us as a people.

In closing I would submit if a man of whole conviction were to call us to a fireside chat, explain to everyone all the wonderful benefits to the ordinary man and woman in the street of, say, a surcharge levied on every Wall Street trade, how it would curtail the greed and distribute wealth back to the poor and middle class, elevate the tide for every boat, that we could hear the MLK like timber in his voice conveying the urgency, the political pressure would landslide any opposition. Instead, we see an unbecoming self-pity party of "Why don't the Republicans fix everything for me." Why indeed!

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