Let me begin by laying out some of my political views so that I don't surprise you with the rest of what I have to say. I will try as hard as possible to restrict the discussion to America, since its presidency is now at stake, or at play, or however you want to think about it.
There is little room for left in politics today. Conservative an religious groups have somehow managed to control high politics for quite some time, to make a blanket statement. The discursive arena of the information age is fraught with typos (not that many of our previous presidents have been extraordinarily literate) and the speech problems forecast by George Orwell have nearly taken over, have most certainly seeped into my thoughts and communication habits.
Nevertheless, the prudent, morally upstanding, good doing, Samaritanic parts of us want to believe that we give ourselves choices today. Barack Obama, black man running for office. Giuliani, the mob mop. Hilary Clinton, woman running for office. These people are going to change the world. Just give them a chance. Let's see what Obama has to say for himself.
He opens with customary comments and the weather and then begins in a ritual fashion to tune his strings while everyone cleans out their ears.
“In the face of war, you believe there can be peace. In the face of despair, you believe there can be hope. In the face of a politics that's shut you out, that's told you to settle, that's divided us for too long, you believe we can be one people, reaching for what's possible, building that more perfect union.”
This is his invocation of the masses. He's trying to get people all riled up so they stay awake long enough to remember at least one snappy buzz word he's recently acquired. I think he crosses a line here, though. Maybe I'm not at war, Barack. OK, at least he starts out with something pretty concrete. But after pumping up the blood pressure he starts throwing candy immediately. Remember that picture you never drew? The teacher said it was time to celebrate multiculturalism. Hey, I'm kind of hungry. I wonder what I should make for dinner.
In his first paragraph of “content” he mentions that he once took a poorly paying job through a church somewhere. It was here that [something] removed the proverbial wool from in front of his eyes:
“I saw that the problems people faced weren't simply local in nature - that the decision to close a steel mill was made by distant executives...”
Great. The leviathan's current erstwhile cowboy captain will hand his sceptre down to someone who didn't realize until he was 20 something that in nature, the swine often shoves her runt away from the teat. After this painful announcement, he briefly touches on educational funding and violence before turning back to God:
“...the true meaning of my Christian faith.” But he doesn't explain this. He just leave it hanging out here, as if to say “of course you know what I mean, good people of America”. Obama might be well advised to pick a target audience before making a speech. I have never seen such a spontaneous attempt to consolidate a democratic nominee with the religious right.
Obama's political career apparently hails from Springfield, Illinois, where he claims to have brought about large-scale political changes. And, although he admits he is ill-prepared for the job- “I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness - a certain audacity - to this announcement.”- he has announced that only his maverickship will bring about the changes that the “essential decency” of the American people will support. Tipping his hat to the slave owning forefathers who crafted a cleverly mutable constitution, he offers a laundry list of elementary school history events that prove his point, ending with:
“We welcomed immigrants to our shores, we opened railroads to the west, we landed a man on the moon, and we heard a King's call to let justice roll down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Who is this king? Has Obama been engaging in extra-curriculars with Norms Coleman and Kent by the banks of the Gitchee Gumie? He might as well have explained, at least that we brought immigrants to our shores in order to open a railroad to the west. But he is more focused on the inspirational messages that seeped from Abraham Lincoln like a dysfunctional contraceptive.
“All of us know what those challenges are today - a war with no end, a dependence on oil that threatens our future, schools where too many children aren't learning, and families struggling paycheck to paycheck despite working as hard as they can.”
Halfway through his speech he mildly eschews further circumlocution and concentrates on the present moment for a moment...but this certainly isn't a platform. If it were it would read thusly:
Stop buying oil Improve public education
Stop buying oil
Improve public education
So far he hasn't engendered much of my faith. So far I don't understand the true meaning of my religion.
“What's stopped us is the failure of leadership, the smallness of our politics - the ease with which we're distracted by the petty and trivial, our chronic avoidance of tough decisions, our preference for scoring cheap political points...”
Since when does bureaucracy result from “smallness”? If he is saying that what the federal government needs is expansion, he aligns himself generally with principles of the democratic party but he also contradicts himself. If part of his action plan involves, as USA today reports, that “...he'd invade to chase terrorists if the Pakistanis did not...” I don't want anything to do with him. Don't we have enough to think about with the upcoming war in Iran?
“And when all else fails, when Katrina happens, or the death toll in Iraq mounts, we've been told that our crises are somebody else's fault. We're distracted from our real failures, and told to blame the other party, or gay people, or immigrants.”
As an informed voter, I'm glad to finally hear a voice for the underdog- confirmation of my unfounded suspicion that Elton John is not, in fact, selling nuclear secrets to China. Keep them coming, Obamawan.
After quoting Bob Seger (“It's time to turn the page.”) Obama goes on to boast about some more large scale accomplishments he has under his belt:
“We've made some progress already. I was proud to help lead the fight in Congress that led to the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate.”
If we didn't have him leading our leaders, our country would clearly be in very bad shape. Good thing he never bores us with specifics. Moving on with a brief but poetic warning that there are some belt-tightening times ahead for us in the near future, he does propose a few solutions:
“Let's set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Let's recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Let's make college more affordable, and let's invest in scientific research, and let's lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America.”
We're going to do this together, he promises: vote for me, vote for me. You have no idea the magic wand I'm about to pull out of my briefcase. From a leftist perspective these are all very good goals. But that's just an oasis from gloom and doom as his speech drones on.
“...let's allow our unions and their organizers to lift up this country's middle-class again.”
I've got a better idea. Let's institute a second Prohibition. It's going to be hard to eradicate poverty and elevate the middle class all at once. I wonder if he's pushing for a reduction in salaries for politicians.
“Let's be the generation that says right here, right now, that we will have universal health care in America by the end of the next president's first term.”
I have to admit that this sentence really ties his speech together. This is a great new sexy idea and he might actually get lots of public support around the issue, if he can somehow make it seem as important as our various overseas fiascos.
“We can set up a system for capping greenhouse gases. We can turn this crisis of global warming into a moment of opportunity for innovation, and job creation...”
I can imagine a huge factory where people recycle film canisters into greenhouse gas containers. Maybe we can develop a fuel-efficient space shuttle to remove these gases from the earth.
“Most of all, let's be the generation that never forgets what happened on that September day and confront the terrorists with everything we've got. Politics doesn't have to divide us on this anymore - we can work together to keep our country safe...We can work together to track terrorists down with a stronger military...”
Essentially what he is saying here is that his hottest campaign issue is to increase military spending. While this is an attractive option, maybe this part of his speech was a mistake...did a rogue speech writer copy and paste this from Bush's address on the Axis of Evil?
“...no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else's civil war.”
Obama's official opinion on our latest invasion of the Holy Land is that it is a civil war.
“Letting the Iraqis know that we will not be there forever is our last, best hope to pressure the Sunni and Shia to come to the table and find peace.”
Recap: OK guys, if you keep shooting at us we're going to leave, so you'd better quit it. It would be fine- heck, even admirable- to admit that we made a mistake in the first place by invading Iraq. But he's tooting the wrong flute here. The Middle East is not an elementary school playground.
The rest of his speech is filled with the workhorse rhetoric common to the Pledge of Allegiance and the Patriot Act. His subject for a while is the campaign itself, but then he mixes the flavor up a bit, quoting from his favorite gay rights activist- Abraham Lincoln.
His final words:
“Together, starting today, let us finish the work that needs to be done, and usher in a new birth of freedom on this Earth.”
Maybe if the jolly
fella googles himself he'll find the following letter. I don't want
to bother his email address as he has quite a lot of work to do on
his campaign. A paper letter is absolutely out of the question...I
don't want him to have access to my fingerprints.
Dear Senator Obama:
I have translated your campaign announcement speech to German for the benefit of our recent immigrants and (embarrassingly) there are 19 striking coincidences between your phraseology and that of Adolf Hitler's address at the opening ceremony of the 1936 Olympics. It is my advice that you track down every publication of your speech and have it retroactively modified...I'll send you a link to my blog in case you have any specific questions.
Please understand that I don't mean to challenge your assumptions. I just think your action steps need some fleshing out before your organizational effectiveness can be maximized. My company, Igoravitch, Smith, and Smith, provides free campaign consultation services at a very reasonable price.
Thanks for keeping the interest of the common man and woman foremost on your mind as we traverse these trying times together. Don't worry if anyone accuses you of lying, because you and I both know that voting is the responsibility of an informed electorate. Not blacks, gays, or atheists.
Best of luck!
Director of Calumniation
Igoravitch, Smith, and Smith, Inc.