2008 November 21

     I woke up 2008 November 5, Wednesday morning, and found out that Barack Obama won the election. It was expected, but not a certainty. I got only one gloating e-mail about it from a friend.

     Of course I'm disappointed, but maybe it will help if I clarify to my readers (there aren't many according to the counts at the bottom of these web pages) just why I'm so disappointed in my countrymen.


     Look at Scientology. It's a religion founded on a bet between science-fiction authors, or so people say. One guy says he can start a religion, just like that. The other guy says, no way. The bet was made and the success of Dianetics shows who won. Now it's a major religious-cult force with movie stars and other notables in its community.

     I can't help but think that the Obama campaign is a similar bet. Somebody said I can get somebody elected who doesn't exist, whom nobody knows, who doesn't stand for anything, who just makes people feel really good. Even The Capitol Steps couldn't find anything to say about Obama. They had plenty on Joe Biden, John McCain, and Sarah Palin but nothing on Obama. There was one skit about Hillary where he appeared as a white person along with Bill Clinton (who was also portrayed as white).


     Have you ever seen the movie "S1M0NE" with Al Pacino? He's a big-time public-relations (PR) guy who gets fed up with the quirks and foibles of female stars so he creates one in virtual cyberspace. She's called Simone and she looks real enough to fool people. Simone gets a huge following and becomes the hottest item in the entertainment medium. That nobody knows anybody who actually met her doesn't diminish her attraction to her followers.

     Here we have a similarly-non-existent candidate, a few months in the senate. His prior life is a combination of unknowns and misadventures. Somehow he took the democratic nomination from Hillary Clinton, the most popular nominee I've seen in a long time. It was like somebody threw a switch in the news and entertainment media, it was Hillary all the way, boink!, now it's Obama-mania. Then he runs against a well-established candidate in John McCain and wins handily and decisively. He got support from the usual liberal sources and from conservative sources I didn't expect. They feel good about Barack Obama.

     Polls indicate that people liked Obama for the economy. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that massive redistribution without massive productivity gains isn't going to help the economy and it's going to create a massive gravy train for bureaucrats. I understand Obama is surrounding himself with experts who are the very people who steered us into our current mess. People seem comfortable with his pre-inauguration economic and staffing decisions. They feel good about Barack Obama.

     With no history, no voting record, he has never taken a stand other than campaign speeches on any political issue. Yet people, including some of my friends, are confident in his ability to deal with hard issues. They feel good about Barack Obama.

     There are two things I think we can count on from President Obama. First, he's going to engage in massive growth of federal redistribution of income which some of my buddies call the USSA (United Socialist States of America). Second, he's going to engage in massive centralization of health care at a national level. These are the two things I think we can count on.

     He says he's against terrorism and torture as he's in favor of motherhood and apple pie, but he may or may not do anything along those lines. He may or may not do something about the war in Iraq and he may or may not maintain a relationship with Israel. He may or may not make sacrifices in our nation's standard of living in the fight against global warming. Issues like racism, sexism, abortion, guns, education, energy, and crime may or may not get attention. Issues like tort reform, traffic congestion (air or ground), water rights and management, and government corruption were low on the campaign list and are unlikely to see improvement.

Barack Obama the Candidate

     So there are two rational reasons people voted for Barack Obama:
• They like his social agenda
• It feels good to vote for him

     If you like his social agenda, then there was no reason to vote for Barack Obama when there's a whole world of places already practicing what Mr. Obama preaches. Making Americans more socialist is in the same class as making a Hummer into a high-mileage vehicle when we already have efficient cars. There are enough "success" stories in socialism today that we should leave the one "failure" alone, sort of like China is leaving Hong Kong alone as an island of capitalism in a communist nation.

     I've argued repeatedly that the only way to have less corruption and mismanagement in government is to have less government. Our country and its laws are founded on this idea and those who choose to live here chose to live by it. This campaign was truly a test of principles and my countrymen failed.

     So we're down to feeling good about a candidate. Is it bad to feel good about our president? Well, no, not exactly, but the skills to make people feel good and the skills to make good decisions are not the same. Political science has become political scientology.

     It's worse than that, actually. Mr. Obama's actual experience and exposure are so limited, all we're feeling good about is the image projected by news and entertainment media. It's "S1M0NE" all over again. By that measure, our best candidates are Kevin Kline ("Dave"), Michael Douglas ("The American President"), Martin Sheen ("The West Wing"), Harrison Ford ("Air Force One"), and Morgan Freeman ("Deep Impact"). These all may be admirable fellows, probably as good a shot as Barack Obama, but none of them should be elected President of the United States for real.

The Twilight Zone

     Back in the 1950s there was a television show called The Twilight Zone mostly about the darker side of humanity. Rod Serling would come on screen to narrate a few paragraphs before and after short drama with some kind of surprise ending. One theme that ran through some episodes was a nice, American, suburban community facing some kind of unusual threat like alien invasion or nuclear war. These otherwise-nice people go into a mob-mentality panic and attack a family who did nothing wrong. I've watched an orator turn a town-hall style meeting of decent people into an angry mob and I understand how vulnerable we are to persuasion.

     There is something fun about being part of a mob. We watch a sporting event, maybe a high school basketball game, maybe the Superbowl, we have a few beers, guys rip off their shirts in the cold weather, and we scream like idiots in favor of our chosen team. Like it or not, mob behavior is part of being human and the great thing about sports is that it lets us enjoy the emotions around war and battle and mob rule without hurting anybody. Part of the fun is mocking authority, being bad, doing things that respectable, decent people don't do. People yell things at hockey games they wouldn't say in work or social settings.

     It's not so good when that same attitude has people rioting, looting, and breaking things. Pick your favorite image, an angry mob with pitchforks and torches, a bunch of party-drunk jocks throwing people's stuff out their windows, a political demagogue leading a country into a war of conquest, or an irrational leader goading zealous followers in his cause. It's not fun when you come home to find your windows smashed, your furniture trashed, your stuff stolen, and your carpet pissed on.

     Now we have an electorate caught in the same kind of mob frenzy. People were swept up in Obama-mania without contemplating what Obama-nation would follow. "The object of power is power." While the Obama-maniacs were having fun, the leaders of this mob-mentality Obama-nation are deadly serious. I think they know exactly what they're doing, setting up our country for some major and terrible changes, not just a change of power base but the creation of a huge, centralized power base that didn't exist before.

     After this election, Americans who work for a living and take pride in their work and their living have to be wondering where they're going to feel at home in the twenty-first century. While I'm worried what my country will become under its new leadership, I'm much more worried what it has become that it could vote this way. I'm sorry, but "I'm sorry" doesn't do much for me after this election. It would be a good place to start, however.

Barack Obama the Man

     I haven't said anything about Barack Obama himself. We have his speeches and that's about it, not much to go on. I read his wife's undergraduate senior thesis at Princeton, plenty of attitude there, but translating that across two decades and conjugal sheets is hardly a sure indication of character. He could ignore his promises to the angry-mob left and turn out to do good things after all. We won't know that until 2009.

     As I said, this election isn't about Barack Obama because we don't know Barack Obama. It's about a national neighborhood comfortable buying into a religion about a phantom candidate being elected in a mob mentality. Can America's working and productive community ever feel at home here again?



     P.S.: A friend sent me a video that shows a bunch of Obama voters being interviewed voluntarily afterward about election issues. Its bias is my bias (or I wouldn't be showing it), but what's interesting about it is how effective the news media were in shaping voters understanding of the events they covered. I wouldn't have passed their knowledge test either, but I didn't vote for a candidate that nobody knew anything about.

     I also remember another video where some Obama supporter said how glad she was that Obama's gonna buy her gas and pay her mortgage. I'm sure there were similarly-stupid things on McCain's side, but I believe this is a sentiment shared by a large faction of Obama-maniacs.

     I was sent a cool video where Howard Stern asks Obama supporters if they support Obama's positions in favor of the war in Iraq, against stem-cell research, pro-life, and in favor of Sarah Palan being vice president and they agree whole-heartedly, yes, yes, yes.

     One friend who was caught up in the frenzy sent me a piece by Garrison Keillor, whose humor I have enjoyed over the years. This piece extols Obama's virtues on the campaign trail and America's virtues in voting for him without mentioning any reason he would be a good president. We should walk taller because other countries will like us now, we're cool. While I find this piece tragic and frightening, I think it reflects Obama-mania well. Methinks Mr. Keillor should stick to the humor he does so well.




If you like what you read here (you just might), then here are my other American-issues essays.

Today is 2022 January 21, Friday,
14:06:00 Mountain Standard Time (MST).
283 visits to this web page.

$$$         I SUPPORT WIKIPEDIA         $$$