A Story Without Heroes

In a country split down the middle into two irreconcilable factions exacerbated by confirmation-bias readers and an Internet all too eager to please them, I look around and see a pretty hopeless situation. Let’s take stock of where we are, rewinding back about two years.

In March of 2015, Texas Senator Ted Cruz announced his intention to run for President. He was soon followed by Rand Paul of Kentucky. These were the first two Republicans to jump in the race. Both men were known for distinct philosophies about government. You might not like them but you can’t deny they stood for something. They were serious candidates. On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton was the first to announce. Sadly, in that instance, we had someone with no convincing ideology and a party ready on day 1 to coronate her. Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Lincoln Chaffee and finally Jim Webb would step up to challenge her but in the end only Sanders posed any real threat and that threat was never really taken seriously by the Democratic party or the main stream media.

On June 15, after a prolonged tease, Jeb Bush jumped into the GOP race and was immediately assumed to be the front-runner. Despite the rocky presidency of his brother hanging over him, Jeb was still believed to be the “smart” Bush. Many were already predicting another Bush/Clinton face-off, the first being in 1992 when Hillary’s husband, Bill, defeated Jeb’s father, George HW Bush.

Just one day later, everything changed. A moderately successful real estate mogul, branding genius and star of a popular American TV reality series, descended the escalator in the building bearing his name, to the tune of Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World”. He announced not only that he was running for President but that his core raison d’être was to keep illegal immigrants out of the country. His indelicate assessment that Mexico was not “sending us their best” but was instead sending us “rapists” threw the left into a collective conniption and made some on the right uneasy. Thus was born the presidential candidacy of Donald J. Trump.

And at this time the dishonesty in the media also went into high gear. Trump’s attack, no matter how rude, was limited to people entering the country illegally. The media and the left in general immediately conflated this to anti-Mexican and anti-immigrant. You repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth. Trump was an anti-Latino bigot.

But of course, Trump didn’t stop there. It seemed almost every week was taken up with some new whopper thrown down by Trump either deliberately (McCain is not a war hero – “I prefer people who don’t get captured”) or via leak (“I can grab them by the pussy”). And it seemed almost every week, the media counted him down and out. In the meantime, the 16 men and one woman who opposed him, one by one dropped out of the race. Perhaps the most devastating admission of defeat came from Jeb Bush on February 20, 2016. The establishment candidate who many believed would carry on the Bush dynasty, was called “low energy” by a loud-mouth, know-nothing carnival barker and the label stuck. Other labels would define other candidates – Little Marco (Rubio), Lyin’ Ted (Cruz). In fact, even Cruz’s father was not immune from attack with Trump implicitly implicating him in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. It seemed, the more outrageous Trump got, the more his base loved him and the more his party (it was never really his party) feared him and reconciled themselves to his eventual nomination.

On the Dem side, the contest came down to an idealist with pie in the sky plans for America that promised way more than a chicken in every pot and a front-runner who had been careless at best and criminal at worst in her handling of classified materials while Secretary of State. Supporters of the idealist, Sanders, could not convince the identity-politics driven elite of the Democratic party to abandon their first potential “woman President”. As a result, Hillary Clinton, one of the least trusted politicians in the country won the Democratic nomination – odds of winning be damned. The arrogant position that beating Trump was a slam-dunk set in almost immediately.

Then Wikileaks, the “truth telling” organization run by Julian Assange, started releasing little bird droppings all over the Clinton campaign, portraying the campaign as targeting Sanders’ lack of religious conviction and other unflattering revelations. The revelations were culled from stolen emails from the DNC and John Podesta (whose email password was “password”).  It is currently assessed (using proof we the people are not allowed to see) that Russian hackers at the explicit behest of Vladimir Putin were employed by Assange in an attempt to weaken Clinton’s eventual presidency (reports are that even Putin did not expect Trump to win).

In November of 2016 the woman who did not deserve to be President was defeated by the man who had no business running in the first place.

Fast forward to today. We have a President totally ignorant of how government works, with zero incentive to learn. His Twitter account which was amusing during the campaign has not been shut down and is now the source of accusations serious enough to either raise the question of criminality of the previous administration OR raise the question of the current President’s mental health.

Where is the hero, the white knight, who will rescue us from this fiasco? Nowhere to be found. The Democratic party unable to admit they chose the worst candidate in a century, has morphed Russian propaganda and influence on American opinion (to be expected) into “election hacking”. Let’s be crystal clear. Trump won this election fair and square. He exceeded the number of electoral votes needed to win – popular vote be damned. The Russians didn’t tamper with the voting machines. But you wouldn’t know that from listening to the Democratic party.

The media won’t help us either. Their lies throughout the Trump campaign were called out by the nominee and now President. Their reaction has not been introspection. They are defensive and doubling down. We have a mainstream media whose feelings are hurt and they are more interested now in bringing down Trump than getting at the truth. So, we really cannot depend on them to defend us from a serial liar who is very possibly mentally disturbed in a way that disqualifies him from the Presidency. The credibility of the media, upon whom we rely to get at the truth, is seriously compromised.

Last week, we witnessed the symbolic cherry on the shit cupcake.Ted Cruz once called Donald Trump a “sniveling coward” for humiliating Cruz’s wife and insulting his father. Last week he went to the White House for dinner with Trump. He took his wife and his kids with him. Truly puke-worthy.

And thus ends this chapter in the story with no heroes. The country is at an all time low with no relief in sight. The story is not over but it does not look like we are in for a happy ending.

What do you think? The bar is open.

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The Deporter in Chief

No, I’m not talking about the evil xenophobic Donald J. Trump. I’m talking about his predecessor, Barack Obama. Obama deported more people than all 20th century presidents combined. In fact, The Donald has a lot of work to do just to match Obama’s record. 

So that begs the question where were all these protesters from 2009 – 2016?  These folks in the street crying for justice for illegal aliens sat on their hands while Obama kicked out Mexican after Mexican after Mexican. 

It’s no wonder our country has lost its stature. We are currently led by a joke and we have a citizenry of hypocrites. 

And another thing … if I hear one more time that Trump is anti-immigrant I’m gonna shoot the TV. He’s anti ILLEGAL immigrant. Do we protest the prosecution of rapists saying “the state is against men who just want to have intercourse”? Have we lost the ability to discern legal from illegal? One of the very few things the reality TV president has right is that we either have borders or we don’t. If we have a border, then there’s a legal way to cross it and an illegal way. The two should not be conflated. The day Trump says he wants to end all immigration, I’ll write another post apologizing for this one. Until then folks need to just shut up. 

What do you think? The bar is open. 

The Final Assessment of a Failed Social Experiment: The Obama Presidency

When I considered writing a final assessment of the Obama presidency, my original approach was to take the most partisan pro-Obama article and the most partisan anti-Obama article and analyze them. I soon decided that was an exercise in futility. In an environment where all “facts” are skewed through an ideological lens, any debate about Obama’s accomplishments and failures is a waste of time. Liberals celebrate the decline in the unemployment rate, ignoring the decline in the job participation rate and the fact that many of the new jobs created cannot support the average family. Liberals rightly celebrate the capture (albeit deadly) of Osama bin Laden and conservatives stupidly observe that Obama was not actually on the SEAL team that did the mission and therefore deserves very little credit. I’m not going to waste my time on this juvenile back and forth.

So I go back to the drawing board and think about what was truly historic about the Obama presidency. Wars, economic downturns, shifting cultural norms – none of it historic. All of it encountered in previous administrations. What was truly historic, what cannot be debated by any sane individual, was this:

The First Black President.

Much has been written about the stereotypical conservative bigoted reaction to Barack Obama. I seem to recall writing a piece a few years ago comparing Obama’s predicament to that of the average black employee in a white dominated workplace. But the reason why I call the Obama years a failed social experiment is not about the fully predictable reaction of racists. It is about the tacit, soft bigotry of low expectations evidenced by liberals. Let’s start with the opening premise.

The Experiment was Founded on a Lie

Being black in America is NOT being Barack Obama in America. The American black experience is tied inextricably to slavery. Barack Obama’s roots don’t go back to American slavery. His father was Kenyan. His mother was a white American. Barack Obama does not, cannot, feel in his bones the sense of disenfranchisement of the American black. He can empathize. He can also be stopped by a cop “driving while black”, but that is due to the accident of skin

fred-sanford

color and his reaction to such an incident cannot be the same as the reaction of someone whose great grandfather was owned by a white man. To put it simply, Barack Obama is not black in the psychological sense. I further maintain that “traditional”  blacks like Jim Clyburn or John Lewis could no more get elected President in 2009 than they could in 1864. Obama was the exotic man bigots could rationalize and liberals could easily embrace. Joe Biden said he was “clean and articulate”. That’s code for when you talk to him on the phone, he sounds white, not like fictional junk man Fred Sanford.

The Obama presidency was book-ended by two examples of the liberal bigotry that demonstrate how far this country needs to go before the social experiment of a black president can succeed.

2009 – The Negro Ambassador

On July 22, 2009 Barack Obama gave a press conference devoted to health care. In the days preceding the conference, black Harvard professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates had been arrested trying to gain access to his own home. He was mistaken for a burglar by a well-meaning neighbor and when confronted by police, Gates exacerbated the situation by not controlling his understandable resentment. It should be noted Gates was an acquaintance of the president. At the end of the health care press conference, Chicago Sun-Times reporter Lynn Sweet asked Obama to comment on the Gates incident. Clearly the question had nothing to do with health care and I submit would NEVER have been asked of a white president. In my political fantasy world. Obama would have responded, “I don’t comment on ongoing local law enforcement incidents” or even better, “Lynn would you be asking me this if I were white?” Instead, he took the bait and called the Cambridge, MA police stupid. In so doing, he further polarized an already racially tense incident and the liberal media, led by Lynn Sweet began their role as racial shit stirrers.

What was galling, and went under the radar of all those who see liberals as politically pure, was the implicit racism in Lynn Sweet’s question. She treated the leader of the free world as our ambassador to negro America. This conduct passes for outreach and empathy in our society. Good decent liberal whites want to “understand” the troubles of the black man. But NO black man is an authority on American racism. He is an authority on his own experience. To treat him as a spokesperson for all blacks is actually condescending.

It could be argued that the Obama presidency never transcended race because LIBERALS never let it go. They spent eight years raving about the first black president and scolding every Obama opponent as a racist. Only the most crude conservatives explicitly brought up Obama’s race. Yet the fact that liberals constantly brought it up was somehow supposed to make them seem “enlightened”.

2016 – The Condescension Continues

David Axelrod was Chief Strategist to Obama’s presidential campaigns. He was also a senior advisor in the first term of the Obama White House. He now, among other things, hosts a podcast called “The Axe Files” and late last year, Barack Obama was his guest. The dynamic between the two men during the podcast was telling. Obama tried to strike a balance between being Axelrod’s friend and being his former boss. Axelrod on the other hand seemed to pay little deference to the fact that he has mostly been this man’s subordinate. Don’t get me wrong. I think Axelrod loves Obama like a brother. They have been through a lot together. However, the tone of the interview didn’t seem to respect the office of the presidency. This dynamic hit its nadir when Axelrod proclaimed to Obama “I’m proud of you”. Excuse me? He is the leader of the free world. With all due respect, who is David Axelrod to be “proud” of him, like he is a child who has performed well?

I understand that campaign staff view their candidate as an object to be controlled to ensure a positive outcome. To that extent, every candidate is viewed by the campaign staff as a poll-tested rat running through a maze toward election. But it seems to me, eight years down the road, Axelrod should have abandoned that perspective. Axelrod’s interview made me envision an entire liberal contingent who sees Obama not as a dignified, intelligent, self-made man but as their creation. He is their hammer to pound against the nail of bigotry. He is their kindergarten show-and-tell example of the “articulate black man”. He is their prop to demonstrate how fair-minded they are.

Obama’s presidency convinced me that America was still not ready for a black president. Partly, because he wasn’t really black in the first place. But to my surprise, America wasn’t ready in large part because of liberals. Obama’s two terms were, to a great extent, an attempt to cleanse away white liberal guilt. The incessant racial advocacy did not foster further empathy and understanding. It resulted in a country more racially polarized than it has been since the 1960’s. I submit that because Obama’s feet were not firmly planted in the black American experience, he did not know how to react to being a prop. He tried not to piss off blacks.

Sadly, we will never know how blacks would have reacted to a black president who said, “race is foolishness. I’m not discussing it. I’m not weighing in on it. People are people.” Blacks might have found that refreshing. I certainly would have.

It is impossible to overestimate the damage done to this country by our original sin. To this day, it has us split into three factions: honest to goodness bigots, guilt ridden folks who overcompensate with 24/7 racial advocacy and the majority of people just trying to get through the day and treating most people on an individual basis. We may never get straight racially but until we do, we will not be ready for a black president. Despite two elections, the social experiment of a black president was essentially a failure. And the take away is that liberals are as much, if not more, to blame for this failure as conservatives.

What do you think? The bar is open.