>This thread title is the opening line from Dennis Perrin’s piece about the inauguration. And I have to say he speaks pretty well for how I often feel about the whole thing. I’ll get to linking to it, but first things first.
Feeling “out of it” and “alienated” is how many of us feel these days in the USA, I’m sure. I feel it all the time. I felt it especially last week when I had to walk into a Wal-Mart for the first time in I don’t know how many years. I needed an SD card for the installation I was doing in Kansas and Wal-Mart was the only place in town I could get one. Walking through those doors, past the bored greeter (who didn’t greet me), and into the massive flourescent maw was dizzying. To think that huge percentages of our population pass through that portal multiple times per week; damnation, no wonder everything is so messed up. Between the endless rows of shit and the unexpected eye-full of ass-crack around every other corner I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
That same trip got me caught up in the inaugural bullshit in ways I had previously been able to avoid, because we don’t watch TV at home. With the hotel TV tuned to MSNBC, however, I got my immersion. They kept running ads for their inauguration coverage; cue the grandiose music, the melodramatic voiceover, the monster truck rally-esque hype. It pissed me off. Is there nothing in this country that can’t be marketed for sale? There is so much merch involved with this thing you’d think it was a Batman movie or something.
I understand people being glad the Bush Administration is done. I am as much as anybody. Unfortunately, a significant number of the very people who enabled their atrocities are still around, and that gives me cause for concern. Some of them kept their jobs, or were promoted, by the Man of the Hour himself. I also highly doubt that Obama’s crew will go after the Bush crooks. That bums me out, but it doesn’t surprise me at all; they can make the excuse that they simply don’t have time to and they won’t be lying. But it’s naive not to realize that they are pretty much all feeding at the same trough, and that includes the new President himself. I wish he wasn’t a Democrat. I’d feel like CHANGE would be a real possibility if he weren’t, but the Dems are only a little more likely to kiss us before fucking us than the Repubs were. And HOPE, in my opinion, is for Hallmark.
Obama seems like an okay guy. I wish him success, but with the high expectations heaped on him, I don’t see how he can possibly deliver. I didn’t listen to his speech, and I probably won’t. I’ve heard enough of his speeches over the last couple years to know what he’s going to say, for the most part. And seeing people blubber over it brings out the worst in me, and I don’t like that either. It is theater, plain and simple, and the President is the biggest grossing celebrity of the day. Titanic is the biggest grossing movie ever, and I haven’t watched it either; it’s taken me 10 years at least to get over my loathing for Leonardo DiCaprio for a movie I didn’t even see him in! Bottom line is that I simply don’t trust Obama. He’s the best politician in the world. That makes me infinitely skeptical, regardless of what comes out of his mouth. And — and this will probably really get me in trouble — I really don’t think Michelle is all that hot, and her dress was ugly. But she sure seems smart.
Dennis Perrin really lets it rip in his post called The Hope Haze about the inauguration. I think a lot of people will be offended, but his perspective is worth getting. I think he is a guy who gives a shit, not just a mimic of some blowhard like a Fox News person trolling for ratings. Believe me, seeing those dickheads on the TV monitors at the gym the other night really made me think twice about posting anything about the inauguration at all, but screw it. As for Mr. Perrin, this post he put up from Boondock’s creator Aaron McGruder is worth repeating here, though, because I think this nails it:
“I did say I was cautiously pessimistic about Obama’s Presidency – but this is simply acknowledging the reality of an American Empire that is out of control and on the verge of collapse. Let us not forget that on the eve of the election, we witnessed a near-trillion dollar robbery of the US treasury. That robbery is still taking place. I do not blame President Obama, but I do not believe the financial and corporate interests that own and control this country will fold so easily. I do not question the integrity of the man as much as the power of his office – which I believe has greatly diminished over the years. I believe the Federal Reserve Bank, the Military Industrial Complex, and the massive corporate interests that run this country have more power than our new President. I hope I am wrong.
“After 9/11, I witnessed most of this country become obsessed with squashing dissent and silencing critics. I hope this election does not turn Black America towards this same, fascist mind state; but already I am starting to see it, and it saddens me greatly. I absolutely wish our new President and his family success and safety. But after all I have witnessed in my lifetime, and especially in the last eight years, I am not ready to lay down my skepticism or my outrage for this government. To do so would be unwise and, ironically enough, anti-American.”
That’s good stuff. And today, with Clean Up Time, Dennis still isn’t pulling any punches. Yesterday Kirsten in Montana reviewed the high profile Gitmo thing that Obama is leading off with, in a post called The More Things Change, Part II.
So is going after Obama right out of the gate cynical? I don’t think so. I think in order to keep this thing on the course that everyone tearfully seems to think it’s on then we need to analyze his every move just as if Bush was still the one with his hand on the wheel.
When it comes down to it, what bothers me most is a trend I see that is the current version of the post 9/11 Republicans. Back then, if you dared speak against the country, you were some kind of terrorist lover; “You are either WITH us or AGAINST us!” It is the same thing with so-called progressives and the new President. Dare to point out inconsistencies, or question his holy word, and the claws come out. I think that’s bullshit.
Oh, and there is a great piece in Harper’s called “A Quibble” by Mark Slouka. I’d link the thing here, but you need to be a subscriber. This bit is interesting:
Next, consider the numbers. Of the approximately 130 million Americans who voted this past November, very nearly half, seemingly stuck in political puberty, were untroubled by the possibility of Sarah Palin and the first dude inheriting the White House. At the same time, those of us on the winning side might want to do a cross-check before landing. How many of us—not just in the general election but in the primaries, when there was still a choice—voted for Obama because he was the It thing this season, because he was so likable, because he had that wonderful voice, because he was black, because he made us feel as if Atticus Finch had come home? If nothing else, the fact that so many have convinced themselves that one man, thus far almost entirely untested, will slay the culture of corruption with one hand while pulling us out of the greatest mess we’ve known in a century with the other suggests that a certain kind of “clap your hands if you believe” naiveté crosses the aisle at will.
That’s worth considering, as is his closing paragraph:
Praise me for a citizen or warm up the pillory, it comes down to the unpleasant fact that a significant number of our fellow citizens are now as greedy and gullible as a boxful of puppies; they’ll believe anything; they’ll attack the empty glove; they’ll follow that plastic bone right off the cliff. Nothing about this election has changed that fact. If they’re ever activated—if the wrong individual gets to them, in other words, before the educational system does—we may live to experience a tyranny of the majority Tocqueville never imagined.
Bottom line for me is that the upside of this election is that the Republicans lost. I’m not thrilled that the Dems won, but what was the alternative? There wasn’t one. The best guy with a legitimate chance of winning in our stupid Wal-Mart/Television culture won, but I’m still glad I didn’t vote for him. Do I think progressives claimed victory? Absolutely, positively not. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop fighting. This is probably as good a shot at even getting in the ring as we’ve had, so hopefully we don’t blow it.