Ode to the Unhappy
Conservatism let you down? Obama nothing more than Bush II? Oh, you poor thing
I see you out there. I know you're lurking, seething, sending me angry letters, posting nasty comments in anonymous forums across the Interweb, not merely enraged that I and millions like me dare to support President Obama's massive overhaul of the enormously flawed American idea, but that I also dare to see him as exactly the finest and most intelligent and, yes, even integrity-filled progressive visionary we could possibly hope for at a time like this.
You are fuming in disbelief. How can I not see it? How can the vast majority of the country not see it? How is it that no one but you and a few manic fringe writers seem to notice that President Obama is either A) a thinly veiled socialist commie instigator hell-bent on destroying America from the inside out, or B) nothing more than a cleverly disguised corporate-loving Bush clone because, oh my God, haven't you seen his policy on H1Bs and faith-based initiatives and his nefarious plan to take over the banks and, um, something else you can't quite remember right now but you're sure is really, really damning?
You are slamming your fists on your keyboard. Why doesn't the world get it? That it's all just the same old cronies rearranging the same old powermad furniture, a giant shell game Decepticon robot evil nightmare?
Oh, you poor dear. What utter, crushing frustration you must feel. Especially since the other side, the conservative side -- maybe it was your side? -- had its grand shot at running the show. It ran every sour idea, pushed every extreme right-wing economic scenario, wasted trillions on a failed war, spit on gays and kowtowed to the fundamentalists and shoved the country so far to the right we fell off Ted Haggard's massage table.
And alas, "unmitigated disaster" doesn't even begin to cover what happened next.
Is this the source of your terrible pain? That the brutal neocon agenda let you down? That BushCo just didn't do it right? Or is it the absolute opposite, and you are right now sneering in disgust that Obama isn't nearly radical enough, that we're all being duped into thinking he's a thoughtful, revolutionary liberal when, in fact, he's answering to the same ol' corporate interests and fellating the same ol' lobbyists and his plans merely sound grand and ambitious, despite how he's sending more troops to Afghanistan?
Perhaps this is what's so infuriating. Not merely that Obama is wrong in every possible way, but that no one on the far ends of the political spectrum can quite agree on how.
And so, the drama unfolds before you, and you are helpless to stop it. The massive, unprecedented redistribution of wealth, this "reckless" agenda of giving health insurance to children, investing in green tech, addressing global warming, pumping money into education, ending farm subsidies ... it's all such a sham. A disaster in waiting. A recipe for total anarchy. This is what you absolutely insist, be you on the far right or the far left.
But to make matters worse -- oh holy hell, would you look at this? -- it turns out Obama isn't stopping with just reversing every toxic Dubya-caused debacle, nossir. It turns out he's reaching even further back, casually wrapping his long, socialist fingers around the throat of more than 30 years of pamper-the-rich, supply-side Reaganomics, and calmly squeezing. Heathen!
This is, quite possibly, the most amusing thing I am hearing from the furious fringe: That Obama's plan will wreak hell on the deficit for generations to come. It's a bit like hearing a Catholic priest scold you on the perils of child abuse. I'm sorry, did you just say that it was fine and good to rape the Treasury for the past decade and worship Big Oil and waste two trillion on a failed and useless war, but redirecting those sums into science, health care, children and alternative energy is a terrible and costly idea?
For you, there is nowhere to turn. The neocons failed to induce WWIII against the Muslims, the libs are failing because Obama doesn't openly endorse gay marriage and won't plant hemp in the Rose Garden and refuses to even acknowledge the obvious brain-scrambling power of chemtrails.
To whom shall you turn? Perhaps the new de facto king of the GOP, Rush Limbaugh, praying aloud that Obama fails as he scrunches up his sweaty, bulbous face and scans the horizon for the slightest glimmer of a tolerable future Republican candidate who can shove us, well, who the hell knows? Not back to Bush. Not toward Obama. Maybe into China?
Ah, Limbaugh. It is worth positing: How low hath the GOP sunk when the head of the Republican party, Michael Steele, drops to his knees and kisses the fat ring of this tumescent blowhard? The serene young black president calmly reinvents the American experiment, while the rival party sniffs around the armpits of ... extremist talk radio? What a thing.
Which leads to the biggest question of all: Can Obama actually be both? Can he truly be a radical Muslim socialist dedicated to destroying the American ideal, and just another empty suit, a cleverly disguised corporate drone enslaved, like every president in history, by the great Matrix of the capitalist machine? Could be, could be.
There is one more option, of course. And that is: Obama, and the America that's following him so passionately right now, are neither of those things in the slightest. And the fact that his extraordinary, nation-altering agenda is right now infuriating the hard right and the hard left, exasperating the Wall Street sycophants and confounding armies of TV pundits and prognosticators, even as he inspires millions of "regular" Americans to get off their butts and do more with their lives, well, this is perhaps the truest sign of all.
When you piss off those kinds of people? You know you're onto something good.
© 2009 The San Francisco Chronicle