Obama Enthusiasm Overload
While I’ve been a bit of a curmudgeon about the seemingly unending Obama inaugural festivities, I’m a piker compared to Tom Smith.
When the Princess of Wales died I remember thinking it was terribly sad and I thought her funeral was strangely appropriate, but I also wondered if the world had lost its mind. Politics and the Irrational go only too well together and I just tend to distrust the combination. And with the exception of Reagan the enthusiasm is almost always misplaced. JFK was a dreadful man who cheated on his wife, preferred the company of mobsters, bungled his Presidency and almost, almost destroyed the world between the Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis. The whole clan of the Kennedys are a piece of work, Irish mob through and through. I mean seriously not decent folks; your daughter could very well end up dead sort of people. And we are supposed to get teary eyed over them? LBJ was a freak. Bush II was a decent man though thick as a post. His father was probably smarter but prone to make bad decisions. Clinton was a thoroughly rotten apple. Carter was an embarrassment. Nixon’s issues had issues. You have to go back to Eisenhower to find somebody who was a good leader and somebody whom you could trust to take you mother to dinner. I guess all I’m trying to say is that great enthusiasm over Leaders is something I think the intelligent person can do without.
While I wouldn’t go quite so far as that, I, too, am generally dubious of public pageantry. The late George Carlin’s admonition that “symbols are for the symbol-minded” is one I’ve taken to heart, so much so that I find the playing of the national anthem at sporting events and the playing of “God Bless the USA” anywhere mildly creepy.
I do, however, understand the value of these massive public events. The Ronald Reagan funeral pageantry was genuinely moving and the various spectacles in the days and weeks after the 9/11 attacks helped heal the country. And, while I didn’t vote for Barack Obama, the country needs a reboot and a symbolic break with the last eight years.
We are, however, in for a great disappointment. While I find some aspects of Obama’s personality grating, he nonetheless strikes me as a genuinely decent human being. And, while his lack of experience concerns me, he’s generally done a fantastic job of assembling a governing team. Still, he’s just a man and almost every president — and that includes the sainted Ronald Reagan — fails to live up to the hopes they inspired in the campaign.
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