By the time you read this, we will be well into the second month of historic celebrations of the historic election of our historic new leader President Barack Lincoln Kennedy Emmanuel (Hussein) Obama.
I hate to be a contrarian during the coronation of our Great Leader, but the sum of the facts compels the conclusion that we are today entering one of the most dangerous periods in our nation’s history. The combination of the hype and propaganda surrounding the man and the hype and propaganda regarding the economic crisis we are in present a unique hazard for an unchecked, unexamined and unopposed expansion of government power and a radical shift in the foundations of our America’s political culture.
This belief is not merely sour grapes in action, either. Anyone who reads my column regularly knows how little I think of John McCain. The dread I have when watching Obama is not reactionary. It is the result of a constellation of bad omens and unusual conditions that could dissolve and pass without incident, or they could mean long-term disaster.
First among these is that Barack Obama, more than any other politician in American history, is a product of, and partner with, the media. In this election, the mainstream media dispensed with all pretext of fairness and ran interference for Obama. It protected him from attack, examination, rumor, fact, his own positions, inexperience, and history, and gleefully promoted him as Hope Incarnate, a panacea for what ills all the world.
The media fancies itself a watchdog of politicians. For Obama it has been, by turns, a protective guard dog and an adoring poodle. The only threat the media ever presented to Obama is that lapdog Chris Matthews might knock him down and try to leg hump him, so great was his spastic, embarrassing adoration. One of the most disturbing things I have ever seen was the media, in the days after the election, marveling at how little they really knew about that enigma, Barack Obama. It was an admission of gross failure by a few honest members of the media. Whoever he is, he is now the most powerful man in the world.
Add to this that his party has been swept to large majorities in both the House and the Senate, where the leaders, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, are both unilateralist partisans. Congress will be nothing more than a rubber stamp for President Obama, especially with the Republicans so demoralized and unconfident after Bush and McCain. The Democrats will back anything Obama offers and most Republicans will be too spineless to stand before the media and oppose Obama’s mandate for unspecified “change.”
Perhaps worst of all is that Obama is coming to power during a real and deep economic downturn. This already bad situation has then been exaggerated to gothic proportions by both Obama’s supporters (who correctly saw it as a lever to dislodge Republicans from the White House) and also by a coalition of selfish, desperate Wall Street bankers and corporate CEOs who have used fear to get Uncle Sam to save their fortunes with your tax money.
It’s a crisis! (In case you haven’t heard). That means we can’t think too long, we can even think at all. We have to throw money at Wall Street. We have to throw money at deadbeats. We have to throw money at infrastructure and energy and the internet and cities and towns and villages and individuals. We are now printing and spending money in chunks of trillions of dollars — not even counting the entire regular federal budget. This is creating unimaginable debts and continuing obligations, and unprecedented new government powers.
Government now decides which corporations and ideas will not be allowed to fail. The free market that built America into the most prosperous nation on Earth is dead. We will, allegedly, borrow and spend our way to prosperity in a future in which government is the ultimate customer, owner, manager, planner, and investor. If you decide not to spend money, government will spend it for you. If you do not pay, government will pay for you. If you do not wish to invest, government will invest for you. It will take from whomever and give to whomever, for whatever reason it sees fit. Anything — anything — Obama proposes in his first 100 days and calls a “stimulus,” will pass. There will be no limits.
Unexamined by the media, unopposed by Congress, unleashed from precedent by crisis, there is another wrinkle in the story to consider: the strange cult of personality that surrounds Obama.
This cult is nothing short of creepy and is distinctly un-American. Unlike many other nations, we have avoided the “leader as a movement” hazard in America. We have traditionally believed in institutions and mistrusted any individual who claimed to be “the solution” to all our problems.
Something has changed with the rise of Obama. His stylized image is slapped on posters, bumper stickers, chocolate bars, commemorative coins, cups, t-shirts and sold not just at political events but at grocery stores and retail shops. He has own symbols, seals, and flags. Glowering from within a Maoist sunburst. Beaming from a Warholish print. Pondering the skies from within his own “O”, he has gone beyond what is appropriate and traditional for an American political candidate. He has become an infallible fetish object for some.
In the midst of a severe recession, Obama is throwing himself the most expensive inaugural celebrations in history, and his supporters can only call it “historic.” His transition has been marked by missteps, cronyism and connections to corruption, and any notice of this is a simply a “distraction.”
Then there is the issue of race. Obama is alleged to be an accomplishment for an entire people. How many will risk an accusation of racism by attempting to derail this accomplishment? Even when opposition to Obama is morally correct, many will be too scared to risk it. Who will mar the historic hype with mundane matters of fact or principle?
In short, America has an unknown leader that the media will not criticize and the Congress will not check, ruling during a crisis that has killed all restraint, at the head of a narcissistic cult of personality tied up in the untouchable subject of race.
And that’s a frighteningly rich opportunity for some really bad, really big plans to be put in place without so much a passing debate. If that doesn’t worry you just a little bit, then I can only assume you’re one of the people buying all that weird “Obamabelia” to celebrate a politician that has already been sainted with the title “historic” before he has even taken office.
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