Barnum and Obama [A Short-short Story ]

To tell or not to tell, what is this telling or this tolling, sum-totaling all our words we speak in creeping phrases until the last syllable of recording our story, our story is history, the history becomes other than dead in the telling, all tales told, all is tolled, herein now, the form of a polemic rooted in the essayistic observations of a citizen of these United States who will be called Populus in his role as a writer of political commentary on the state of American politics, or the state in American politics— What else do you want me to say about what he has said about what he thinks about on the state of affairs politically in America with respect for the President he happens to like more than he seems willing to allow in his commentary, to override his opinions of the man as President, which is not an opinion or a set of opinions about him as a man–he can separate the two, as he imagines most successful Presidents are able todo—and that is being successful at being presidential, not what most of think about what president is or should be. Who he is, who says what he says herein about Obama and Barnum and the circus and politics in America as they pertain to the presidency is not important; let him be everyman?

Again, he is Populus, he would say. Yes, not Publius but Populus.

The future of America looks scary; the future of freedom, the future of our politics, the future of the presidency and elections for president. Do I have faith that Obama is working for me? No. Do I like his speeches? Perhaps. Can I respect the power of his oratory, the strength of his rhetoric? Yes. But the ability to move people emotionally is demagoguery, and Obama is a master demagogue which is not to say he always says nothing. But no one does say nothing better than he does, if and when he does say nothing, which every president must at times do, but how many times is always the question. The question here though is, Do I trust any President of the United States implicitly? The answer is of course, No. There is something corrupting, corrupted and corrosive about power in general and the power of the office of the presidency in particular, as great as that office is. It is the nature of the Office of the Presidency that must be understood.

Do you need any commentary here from me or from anyone or even from him on or about what he has said, does say, will say in these and other words at other times to other people, other readers as now this is form, writing, essayistic, no, is what it is, right?

The power of the office is Self-evident, the greatness of this power (and thus the enormous corruptibility of this office not just on any man but on every man who has occupied or does occupy or will occupy this seat of enormous power, enormous authority and enormous influence) is also self-evident. Hilary Clinton will not be spared this because she is a woman. I do not want to address current or past idiocies concerning gender, either gender in politics, in the political, adapting to the political, working in the political, managing or administering the political; or, the politics of gender.

Presidents represent power, money and other forms of elites; they only tenuously respect the public, only ever suspect the people. Do we still have the audacity to hope Obama is working or could have been working or would have been working, even if he could have otherwise, for anyone other than the bankers, or helping the rich get richer through state funded work-fare. The investment bankers that nearly plummeted us into economic darkness did work for their bonuses, didn’t they? I heard Obama saying something, but I didn’t see him doing anything. We fast came to realize the only thing Obama could do was talk. And Obama’s Fed appointment has managed to keep the poor poorer and the rich richer–look at her face and try to see the corrupted and corrupting contempt she has for the American People; it is almost as if she were the head of a foreign standing army who only wanted to break the backs of the people she is about to subjugate. Jefferson was the one who equated banks and bankers as more dangerous to a People and their Liberty than standing armies–like the British were in our colonial period, at least in Jefferson’s revised memory of our colonial period. We were no longer colonies of the British Empire but a free people seeking to make manifest in Law their God given Liberty in Jefferson’s mind. Why have we allowed the Fed to usurp the rights of Congress to manage our economic affairs. The current head of the Fed serves the interests of a monied elite whose designs for America have nothing to do with her People or the traditions of liberty we have at least had a better idea how to pursue and defend than we do currently. Who are these people she serves? What are their interests, their politics, their beliefs when the latter stands in opposition to the traditions of Liberty we at east have had faith in serving the People and not simply Wall Street CEOs.

Obama was not in politics long enough, he told me, to have learned anything useful or necessary to be a politician. And this is a point he has made elsewhere in other essays on other theses (rhymes with ‘feces’; is the plural of ‘thesis’); politicians should be politicians and not lawyers or businessmen.

I do sympathize with Obama, he has said. Obama has been learning how to be a politician, learning how to “play the game” while occupying the office of the Presidency–he will probably learn all he needs to know to be a good President by the time he finishes his second term. I don’t envy him his position in facing the most polarized Congress perhaps since Andrew Jackson.

Now for a question in critique of our society, any performance in the arena of politics in Washington, and from our media image making and its role in our elections and the making of a president, if not what we imagine is or should be presidential, has lead us directly to a time when the President we elect is a virtual reality, no? What then must we say? What then can we do? Is Obama the circus barker the bankers needed in the arena of American politics? It would have fit our received ideas on race and politics to accept the stereotyped notion that because Obama was a black candidate, he had a hotline to the little man, the downtrodden, which would have been a lie, much the way that affirmative action continues to help the black bourgeoisie and too few of the socio-economic underclass among African-Americans. Was it designed ever to do other? Was Obama put in office to do other than help the banks? I mean, was George W President for any other reason but to help opposing elites from those that Obama helps.

Bread and circuses might be one thing; but the circus of American politics is another, and for this, he imagines, we need to consult Barnum as well as we might want to hear Obama.

Barnum was right, and in America for sure, among the people in response to the circus of politics, there is a sucker born every minute. What, though, could be expected from any of the members of the current status quo who don’t or cannot see any relevance beyond their own contemporaneity? The state and any institution of power or finance or bureaucratically administered state service will always see individuality as something divisible, but also without liberty for all and only lip service for any freedom for the many.

If philosophy is a fiction, as I have and others have said many times before here and elsewhere in these and in other words, then political philosophy as well as political commentary are in themselves fictions of a kind. What have we here is what we have here, a man speaking his mind in the form of political commentary on the Obama presidency, not thoroughly or exhaustively, but incidentally–the incidentals of any man’s presidency are enough to examine what kind of presidency is at hand–life lived in the details, not in the years or the days, not even in the hours, but in the minutes, the ever waning ever coming moments.

He stands firm in the point of view that he is and must remain when considerations of politics or in politics focus on him–yes, he must remain as he is, We the People, for if he is not We the People, then no one is. Just as there are an infinite number of relative centers to the expansion of the universe, there are an infinite number of relative political centers to our political universe, our freedom. I am We the People; you are We the People; she is, he is, we are for sure, each and collectively as well, We the People.

All the best laid plans of men and little beasties do often gang awry. Obama was no more able or better suited to escape the de-formative effects of the Power of the Office of the Presidency than was Bill Clinton or George W.Bush.


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