Saturday, November 22, 2008
By Ted Burke
It seemed for years that we were caught in a loop of empty testimonials and evocations each time November 22nd happened upon the calendar page, an increasingly hallow chorus of platitudes and crumbling cliches centering around the promise of the late John F.Kennedy's administration and how that road to our destined Eden was bombed, blasted and dug up with his assassination. So much hope, but we trudge on, there was so much promise, but we carry on the work, the world has only become more insane, but we maintain faith in our hearts of our better instincts and work all the same towards that Paradise that is the American Dream.
We've been through these waves of self laceration, self-loathing, mumbled commitments to social justice, and we've trudged on instead, weighted with hostage crisis, nuclear brinkmanship, bi-polar stock markets, entrenched meanness regarding race and economic gain for the working class, our optimism stashed in a box, crammed in the back of a closet overstuffed with dashed hopes for a better existence.
Those of us in our fifties who embody the cocky retorts of a bright boy and the spite of the laziest who disguise their apathy with a pretense of cynicism roll our eyes when the fateful date comes again, the speeches and the hushed tones are read again, that our noddings of the head will suffice in place of expressed irritation less out of respect for the memory of John Kennedy and what he represents so much as maintaining a peaceful workplace. It's a sad fate to have one's internalized values become a source of venal aggravation. Irony, easy literary devices, earnest cliches become true; hoist by my own petard.
At the moment George W.Bush is giving a speech to an economic summit and it's the lowest of ironic effects that the President who presided over the evisceration of our economic system, our prestige as a presence internationally, and who launched an unjustified war should be lecturing anyone, at anytime, in any capacity about the right way to run a nation. So much hinges on the coming administration of Barack Obama--the liberal verities are revived, the multiple crisis are in place, there seems to be a consensus among many of us, even those of us who've surrendered to an extinct to an easy chair nihilism, that we can, as a country, face up to and face down the catastrophes that confront us. 2 million new jobs? Financial help for Detroit automakers with it in mind that they get their respective houses in order? A health care plan for every American? President Elect Obama has a full in-basket, perhaps the worst set of conditions an outgoing President has handed over to an incumbent at any time in our history. Yet Obama inspires that yearning to work with the rest of the nation toward solutions to our current states and the reemergence of a Greatness that can truly benefit the World. Time will tell, and sooner than anyone really suspects--history makes a lasting judgement much faster in our high velocity times.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Daniel Nasaw writes the deadline:USA news blog for the Guardian , and ran an item regarding an ad produced by the Republican National Committee intended as a parody of Obama's recent speech in Berlin. The point, one would guess, is what would an Obama election ad look like if he were running in Germany rather than in the United States. We are meant to shiver with the slight yet obvious Nazi implications and indulge our Europhobia yet again. The fear card is a hand these guys cannot stop playing. The ad here.
A weak parody that lands far afield any target the would-be propagandists might have had in mind. One wonders how the fact that Obama is liked by Germans should bedistrubing to American voters. The opposite is more likely.Disgust with the war policies and subsequent disasters of the Bush Administration would cause a good many voters to be heartened with the prospect that there's a major Presidential candidate Europeans actually like,respect and are eager to cooperate with. Those of us in the States are sick of going it alone and being the bane of Civilization's existence; we're more than aware that the cowboy antics of our current group of election-hijacking thugs have made matters domestic and international a miserable mess. What's clear is that the RNC is desperate to undermine the success of the Obama trip; McCain and his surrogates dared him to go to Irag and Afghanistan with the expectation that Barack Obama's alleged naivete and inexperience would cause to make mistakes, commit gaffs and otherwise look unprepared and ill suited for the job he's running for. Nothing of the sort happened, of course, and the Republican Noise Machine is reduced to seeming like a nitpicking, complaining, embarrassed and whiny bunch of playground bullies who are trying to recover from a humiliating and deserved public spanking.
This would be a suitable footnote for a dictionary of famous phrases, specifically "hoist by one's petard", IE,
"To be caught in one’s own trap: “The swindler cheated himself out of most of his money, and his victims were satisfied to see him hoist by his own petard.” A “petard” was an explosive device used in medieval warfare. To be hoisted, or lifted, by a petard literally means to be blown up"
In a less literary vein, this is the equivalent of an inept robber getting shot with his own gun. That's gotta hurt.