Barnum and Obama

Anectdotes from Barnum and Obama each, three each alternating . . .


Long [?] before the Trump Presidency––but a horror of political existence is that all Presidents will have much more in common with each other, LBJ, JFK, Regan, Clinton, Obama, Lincoln, FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Andrew Jackson, Madison, Jefferson, Trump, Carter, Nixon, Taft, Coolidge, Grant, Tyler, Van Buren, Bush I & II, Adams I & II, Harrison I & II, Teddy Roosevelt and the rest . . . much more in common with each other than they ever will have with you and me, Mr. White, Mr. Black, Mr. Asian, Mr. Hispanic, Mr. Other. Mr. Italo-American me, I mentioned me more than once.

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. 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.

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.

Obama was not in politics long enough to have learned anything useful or necessary to be a politician. I do sympathize with him; he 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, the arena of politics in Washington and 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. 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 that Obama helps.

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.


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