Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why Obama should be the President of Awesome Coolness

obama should be president. this undeniable fact should be obvious to anyone with a life - (i.e., anyone who is not the result of an unintended pregnancy). anyone who questions barack obama’s awesomeness is obviously a dumb, selfish loser redneck who’s personal life and financial history should be thoroughly investigated. but it seems necessary to clear up all sorts of nasty lies about Obama. for example, people have said he is friends with a white domestic terrorist named Bill Ayers. that is obvious race-baiting. senator obama has already warned us that some people might be reluctant to vote for him because “he doesn’t look like those guys on the dollar bills” (he must be refering to the fact that his face isn’t made up of tiny green dots)

some people have claimed that obama is a muslim. that’s just ridiculous - no muslim would ask for a billion dollars in pork.

obama has been called a socialist. but just because he believes in the redistribution of resources by the government in order to establish equality of economic outcomes does not in any way make him a socialist. everyone knows socialists have berets and facial hair.

it’s been claimed that obama has always voted in lock step with his party. that’s simply not true - sometimes he votes to the left of his party. obama is a post-partisan candidate who will unite us behind him by telling the Republicans who disagree with him that they are mean people who don’t care about the poor.

back when the financial crisis hit, mccain was running around like an erratic fool trying to figure out what he could do to help the situation. obama knew enough to just sit back, relax and criticize mccain for being so uncool.

that’s because barack obama is cool. really, really freaking cool. he’s been on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine more times than The Rolling Stones. he’s been on the cover of TIME so many times that TIME is going name their own Obama covers “TIME’s 2008 man of the year.” (the new york times would have Obama on the front page but that space is reserved for hard-hitting journalism on how republican women are such annoying little *&*?/*@!* ). The news media used to love McCain, but then they met Obama. Now they hate McCain whenever they forget to ignore him. The awesome, really, really smart media understands that Obama is so cool that anyone who criticizes him must be a racist, because the only negative thing about him is that he’s black. That is why we will finally have a president that the non-racist news media will not criticize, and we won’t have to be bothered by pesky journalists asking any mean old questions of our really cool leader. and the fairness doctrine will be reinstated, so instead of that nasty right-wing talk-radio on the AM dial we will get to listen to cassorole recipes and songs by the Carpenters.

most importantly, barack obama represents change. things have gotten so bad in the last few years what with the growing national debt and unemployment, it couldn’t possibly get worse if we just tried fixing it with some massive new spending and increased taxes on employers. I mean, this is as bad as it could get, right? all we need is change! what kind of change? the change we need! can we believe in it? yes we can! how do we know? obama said so. why do we believe him? because he represents change! I like change. change is good. really, really good.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

hope I can believe in

During the Presidential primary season, I was inspired by Obama’s appeals to hope. I don’t really remember now what Obama meant by hope, nor why I was so inspired. Maybe it had something to do with Obama seeming less authoritarian than Rudy Giuliani or Hillary Clinton and less fake than Mitt Romney. I think at one point he was talking about uniting the country and getting past partisan divisions. What ever happened to that idea? Oh yeah - I guess it doesn’t really fit in when you’re trying to blame all the world’s woes on Republicans.
So what does Obama mean by “hope”? ( I had been meaning to read his books to answer this question, but ever since his campaign started launching ads en Espanol calling all Republicans racist, I’ve been too busy clinging to my proverbial guns and religion.) From what I’ve been able to gather, Obama’s “hope” involves (a) organizing people into collective action to change the government to make our lives better, and (b) making a black man President of the USA. If Obama is elected, America will have achieved (b), and that in itself will be a positive and historic achievement, a spark of inspiration to many living now with too much despair. On the other hand, as to definition of hope (a), I’m not sure that government action is the cure for much of our current troubles, and I’m even less confident that Obama knows precisely what action government should take. Obama talks like a moderate but votes like a garden-variety leftist with solutions that, while intending to empower the oppressed, only create more dependency on government - and thus, more despair.
Obama, for all his idealistic talk, is basically a materialist - not in the crude, amoral sense but in the high-minded anthropological sense. He shares with other modern liberals and socialists the hierarchy of psychologist Abraham Maslow - that material conditions must be met before a person can reach his or her ultimate goal of “self-actualizion” ( i.e., food before freedom). But what if Obama’s tax-and-mandate policies end up costing us ever more jobs and make our health care crisis worse rather than better? If progressivist policies fail to deliver, has hope itself failed?
Viktor Frankl emphasized that life cannot survive without meaning. Harsh brutally of the sort experienced by Frankl in the Holocaust and John McCain as a POW highlight the importance of values that extend beyond material well-being or even social harmony. Without the courage of real transcendant hope, our spirits surrender in the face of the insurmountable. We face challenges as a nation that no amount of new government programs can cure. Perhaps Obama’s empathic, elegant rheoric will be inspiration enough for us to be steadfast and hopeful. For myself, I find more inspiration in a leader whose hope lies not in the power of government to make our circumstances better but in the dignity of life and the honor of virtue regardless of our circumstances; a leader whose hope was forged in accepting the challenge of living through hell rather than surrender on its terms.
So what I don't know is what the unexpected will be. . . . I know what it's like in dark times. I know what it's like to have to fight to keep one's hope going through difficult times. I know what it's like to rely on others for support and courage and love in tough times. I know what it's like to have your comrades reach out to you and your neighbors and your fellow citizens and pick you up and put you back in the fight. - John McCain, Oct 7