Praying for a president to fail is the same as praying for the country to fail because the president sets our national direction. It's very much like cheering for the captain of a ship to run his vessel into an iceberg, but the last time I checked we were in America and not aboard the Titanic. Unfortunately for us all, America is stubbornly charging forward on a certain path of destruction despite warnings to the contrary, much as the Titanic raced at full speed into tragedy despite warnings against doing so.
There once was a candidate running for the office of President of the United States who traversed this great nation from coast to coast, drawing throngs of onlookers and supporters wherever he appeared. He spoke to the country about its fears, its aspirations, its recently troubled past, and its very uncertain future in orations that were at once fiery, yet comforting. And he did all of that without uttering one syllable of detail about how he would address the country's many issues and move us to a secure future.
The year was 2008. The candidate was Barack Obama. During the Democratic primaries, the neophyte senator from Illinois crisscrossed America and spoke in the most general of terms to all who would hear him. He pioneered the art of insubstantial oratory and proved that specifics are but a minor concern when one is able to mesmerize an audience and the media with a strong presence and fantastic oratory skills. Watching Obama command a gathering was like turning back time and watching Ivan Pavlov make his dogs salivate on command. For those who didn't see him at the time, let me assure you--he was that good.
As we know, Senator Barack Obama became President Barack Obama, and he did it by campaigning on a platform of nebulousness, of vaporous statements and insubstantial utterances. The Democratic machine sensed that the presidency could be recaptured and he was thus embraced by the Party faithful despite his lack of substance. To be fair, candidate Hillary Clinton was equally non-specific, but she did not have Obama's speech-making brilliance. She did, however, have an utterly creepy knack for pointing and waving to imaginary persons around her whenever she walked forward to speak. Vacuous and JFK-esque eventually won out over vacuous and creepy, so with the former in office we again have a candidate who is a powerful speaker, yet whose diatribe is utterly vacuous.
Democrats, meet candidate Donald Trump. Meet a man who espouses "Hope and Change" as much as candidate Obama did, complete with a lack of information about how Hope would be met and Change would be achieved. Trump is the Conservative Obama in this instance, an excellent speaker whose passionate oratory addresses hearts, but whose lack of detail leaves the mind wanting. I am puzzled, then, as to why Democrats vilify Trump for following a playbook that was perfected by the current Democratic president and one of the two current Democratic front-runners. The likely answer, of course, is fear. Fear that Trump--the unapologetic anti-Muslim Birther and nativist--could follow the Democratic playbook and return the presidency to the GOP. If so, then I wonder if the gods of the Democratic Party will blame the People for falling for such tactics again or shame themselves for perfecting the tactics in the first place.
I will not employ any euphemisms in this post. I want it to be perfectly understood that mankind’s trusted “common body of knowledge” is both a sick joke and a barely-there thing of an overwhelmingly ephemeral nature. As I see it, the damned thing is a dismal, incomplete collection of dim remembrances, half-truths, and folklore-turned-fact that becomes inserted into the collective American consciousness through repetition. And when I say repetition, I mean the kind like the “Columbus set sail to America prove the world was round” kind of repeated misinformation. He was looking for a new route to India, not looking to discover some "new world". In truth, the Vikings and Asians already found what would later be called "the Americas" long before the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria went sailing around the Caribbean. Only recently has the above correction begun to creep into the popular consciousness, thus showing how in retelling that which is incorrect again and again, fable becomes fact while fact becomes corrupted or forgotten.
Speaking of fact, it is an unquestionable that the general population tends to know of the extremes of a given type of incident or element of an event, but few are aware of other events that, while not quite as spectacular, devastating, or salacious as the better-known events, are nonetheless possessed of their own elements of courage, sadness, triumph, and bitter tragedy. This is the critical point where truth pivots toward lesser things. It is not only the exact point where the failures of the common body of knowledge become apparent, it is where our own desire and ability to be informed fails us as well, and where true knowledge should not only begin, it is where common knowledge should end. Unfortunately for us all, it does not.
There are many instances which illustrate the fallacy that is common knowledge. Let us consider the common knowledge about troubled painter Vincent Van Gogh (1853 - 1890). According to popular lore he cut off his entire right ear, but in reality, Van Gogh cut off his right ear lobe, not his entire ear. However, common knowledge demands the depiction of Van Gogh in the mass media with a large bandage on his head, presumably to cover his presumedly severed ear.
Sad, but true. It's clear that we fell for "the black JFK" image. We fell for the image of a dynamic leader. Instead, we got the reality of a black Jimmy Carter. I recall how Bill and Hill Clinton raked Obama over the coals on a daily basis during the 2008 Primaries and he always failed to respond. That's not class, that's being a pushover. It foreshadowed the presidency of a man who, when called upon to lead as he was by many during the crisis in Ferguson, MO, retreated into the world of useless rhetoric.
Pres. Obama has never been forceful or combative, never held persons accountable to the point where they were terminated for gross screw-ups (Kathleen Sebelius and Eric Shinseki, for starters), and worst of all, he squandered the first 2 years in office when he had both houses of Congress in Democratic control! He could have passed anything, done anything, and stressed anything at that point. Instead, he did ... nothing. Oh, there were TV appearances galore and "Cash for Clunkers" (a sign that his allegiance to environmental concerns outweighed his concern for economic stability), but he did nothing of substance and led the Dems to defeat in the 2010 mid-terms.
Finally, after losing the full support of Congress, he has repeatedly claimed that he can't get anything done due to GOP obstructionism. While that's true, he should be held accountable for the lack of progress that accompanied his first two years in office. Had he done something then, had he taken the reins of power and steered the ship of State like a true leader, then it all could have turned out differently. Who knows? He might even have developed enough of a backbone to address the situation in Missouri as a forceful leader, not a meek community activist.
Sadly, it didn't.
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