Meteorologists name hurricanes and other natural disasters, and years afterwards people still refer to them with a little awe and horror in their voices. Years after the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina ended, we regularly hear about lingering aftereffects.
This reminded me so much of the aftermath of our federal elections, it only seems natural to name our elections. Think of the practical advantages: like storms, we can detect and track candidates as they become more and more of a menace to the US.
Most people found McCain and Palin were easy to see through, and for some people, Obama was equally transparent.
His charisma blinded others – it probably wouldn’t have resulted in his victory but for Americans’ preoccupation with celebrities.
The actors, rock stars, reality tv spectacles & athletes threw their united support behind Obama, and a huge percentage of Americans, perhaps hypnotized by all the sparkling cubic zirconium, voted as they were instructed. The rest of us just picked which of the two parties was going to be worst for the country, and voted against them.
Well, we all know how things turned out. Obama has managed to stay consistent on one issue and that’s his creed that America needs to change. Change. Change. Change. If only Obama meant practical changes, such as forcing our nation’s most annoying residents (presumably led by Barbra Streisand) to relocate to Antarctica, he would be a hero instead of enjoying the loose cannon reputation he has now.
But that’s not what he meant. He meant America needed to change from a Democratic Republic to a mediocre socialist haven. And this is where he’s put his time and energy since assuming office.
He hasn’t lost a single opportunity to advance socialism, and he’s made some alarming progress, with healthcare being the most painful example. and the president’s psychological tactics are nothing short of impressive.
Exhibit A: the clove cigarette. Soon after his election Obama banned them. It didn’t cause a big fuss because not that many people smoke cloves. The polls showed Americans a) thought it was ridiculous to ban cloves (which are much less harmful than a regular cigarette), b) felt the government was overstepping its boundaries and c) decided this battle isn’t worth fighting with so few clove smokers.
Exhibit B: The War Against Obesity. The Obama administration is on a rampage against obesity, and is attempting to ban empty calories. I agree that it’s a good idea to avoid snacks with no nutritional value. Nobody’s going to violently defend childhood obesity as a wonderful thing. The problem is that the government is forbidding citizens to consume the product of their choice, and setting up consequences for disobedience.
I doubt Obama and the rest of the federal government care at all about cloves or trans-fat. They are pushing it to set a precedent for enacting laws they have no authority to make.
The attacks on our personal liberties are nearly always done under the guise of “the greater good” or “keeping America healthy”. It’s easy to gain agreement to questions like, “Don’t you want clean air?” or “Do you hope your children grow up without respiratory problems?” Of course, everyone says yes. This brings us to…
Exhibit C: Cigarette Bans. The government has crusaded from state to state to ban smoking in bars and restaurants. Like trans-fat and cloves, smoking in public is clearly something the government should not be involved in.
But if/when their authority is questioned, they simply skirt the issue and say, “People have a right to a smoke-free environment.” There’s just one tiny flaw in this reasoning: Americans have always had that option. Prior to the bans, non-smokers went to these establishments knowing in advance that smokers would be there. Some people complained but the bottom line was, they were FREE to leave, but CHOSE to stay.
The government may be counting on Americans thinking these issues are too petty to waste our time on. Once we’ve been conditioned to ignore or accept these small things, we are far less likely to resist big, fundamental changes.
Obama was elected because of two campaign promises:
- He’ll bring back economic prosperity, and
- He’ll bring the troops home.
The Senate and the House were packed with Obama supporters when he took office, and they did everything they could to help pass his legislation. Eighteen months later, post-stimulus, post cash-for-clunkers, post-auto industry bailouts, post-healthcare reform, a status check reveals we’re trillions of dollars deeper in debt since Obama took office. To top things off, last week the president publicly committed to staying in Afghanistan “through 2013” at which point we’ll reassess the situation (read: don’t look for our soldiers to come home anytime soon).
Obama’s presidency was supposed to usher in a new era of hope and potential.
Of course it didn’t happen, and no one really expected him to pull off a supernatural coup. He has worked one miracle though: Hell hasn’t frozen over yet, but even so, many Americans actually miss George W.
And now, a parting thought from Sean Penn.