Friday, December 11, 2009

The Balloon Boy Presidency

I just finished watching President Obama's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. I don't know that I've ever witnessed a sadder event that didn't involve human tragedy.

In accepting the prize, Obama compellingly argued that he neither deserved it nor understood it nor felt any obligation to its earthly intention. For the months leading up to his election, we shared Obama's campaign of HOPE and believed his rhetoric to signify a significant political intellect.

In Oslo, Obama's speech could have been delivered by the Orwellian errand boy, George W. Bush. Obama's message justified and romanticized war as our only comforting peace. His references to mankind extended no further than the borders of the United States and his historical context for action was no broader than the experience of an entitled black man empowered through his vicarious associations with actual civil rights activists.

This year's award of the Nobel Peace Prize is a hoax no grander than that of the balloon boy whose family's dream was to live life on a reality show. Obama too wants us to believe that the war he wages affects the television reality where humans observe the world instead of engaging in it. Obama's idea of Peace is getting re-elected and not giving the perception of being weak.

Like the boy who was never in the balloon, Obama was never in the movement that elected him. Tonight the Obama that was hiding in the barn in Kansas arrived like a Jerzy Kosinski character walking into a situation that he had no context for being in. The Peace Prize could have just as well been given to a General or Comedian or a barnyard animal.

His speech was awkward and disturbing. I felt as though I was watching the wrong channel or that maybe a conservative group had invented an anti-YES men and had fooled the audience.

The air of HOPE has leaked out of Obama's balloon. He tells us WAR is PEACE, that insurance companies can tax citizens, and that we are Racing to the Top for education.

This is not the man I voted for and he's not the man the Nobel Peace Prize committee thought he was.

What we are left with is yet another empty suit.


SydneyGreen Street said...

Here's a journalism exercise for you to consider: Put yourself in Obama's place that day. Assume for the exercise that no policies (Afghan troops, etc) will be changed during the speech. The whole world's watching - show us your speech.

The Caretaker said...

Well Sydney, Obama's problem is policy isn't it.

But let's assume that Obama is going to continue to advocate George W. Bush policies but reached deep into his memory and remembered the man he impersonated during the electoral campaign.

The Obama who ran for office might have given a speech that instead of plagiarizing George Orwell could have have boldly embraced the spirit of such an award.

He might have said that a global world needs a global policing solution where crimes of international scope could be fairly enforced and uniformly resolved without the use of torture.

He might have said that while military force may be necessary today, that it should be a means of last resort and that a permanent international policing mechanism that maintained stability in the hot spots of the world needs to be established and manned by the best military professionals from every country.

He might have spoken up for universal human rights.

He might have advocated the idea that terrorism is an international crime and not a nation-centric issue. And he might have tried to distinguish that terrorism is different from nationalism, religious belief, or political affiliation. And that terrorism will never be tolerated but freedom of speech, religion, and politics will always be honored everywhere including in the United States.

He might have mentioned that the veterans of peace movements are every bit as valuable to society as a soldier. And that their assemblies are not the same as terrorist's.

He might have said that his administration is more interested in establishing frameworks for peaceful co-existence in this world than in getting re-elected by giving military-industrial-complex sales pitches.

He could have said a lot of things he didn't. He sounded like an imbecile. Even Eisenhower, a Republican president and former WW II General had enough sense to warn Americans of creeping militarism.

Bobby Kennedy as a young politician was an asshole. After his brother was assassinated and he had time to reflect on it all, Bobby became a man of peace. Obama has yet to become a man. He's too busy being a personality and an empty suit to be filled with special interest prerogatives.

One can only hope he wakes up.

SydneyGreen Street said...

Very impressive answer; thank you. With your input, the speech would have been much better, and the positive perception of the US would have been historic.

I will try to retain my hopes that somehow a miracle will get us out of Afghanistan without making it worse.

(by the way, I'm not a local, just a drive-by commenter from Washington state. Your blog happened to be 2 clicks away from a curiosity search for "impeach Lieberman") Thanks again for your quick response.

The Caretaker said...


Although I'm local my interest in education is broad. I'm glad you enjoyed the writing.

Missed opportunity seems to be the narrative of the presidency so far.

A recent observation by Chomsky regarding Afghanistan is that Obama's plan to drive Al Queda into Pakistan will destabilize that country in a very short time. This is not a recipe for less war but yet a next war.

This one is on Obama and no one else.

We should be so lucky as to be able to impeach Lieberman. He is political cancer.