Thursday, January 26, 2012

GUEST BLOGGER: George Colligan on the SOTU

State Of The Union: Bat S#&t Crazy

I watched part of the State of the Union speech the other night with my son. We sat together on the couch. Two year old Liam was snuggled up next to me. “That’s Obama…” 
I taught him. “He’s the President. Can you say Obama?”
“Watch Thomas The Train!” Liam said, unimpressed by Obama’s impassioned declarations. I wondered if the Island of Sodor, so prominently featured on the kid’s show Thomas and Friends, was somehow a territory of the United States. 

Despite my son’s protests, I watched most of the address. I hadn’t thought about Obama so much for the past few years. I lived part time in Socialist Canada for two years; during my time in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I was too worried about freezing to death to follow American politics. Now that I’m safely and warmly back in the Capitalist Capital of the World, I’m thinking once again about the good old U.S. of A. As I watched Obama’s speech, which not even the angriest and most ultra-racist of tea partyers could deny was delivered with pitch-perfect eloquence, I realized that no one has been paying any attention to President Barack Obama for months. We’ve been so diverted by the Endless Campaign Of Dangerously Incompetent Manchurian Candidates for the Republican Nomination that Obama has been off the radar. We’ve heard more from Jon Huntsman, who had less chance of being President Of The United States than Paris Hilton has of winning the Oscar for Best Actress, than we have heard from the Actual President Of The United States. (Actually, since you can pretty much buy anything now, I’m sure someday Hilton will be able to use her vast fortune to buy herself the Oscar for Best Actress. Now that I think about it, based on everything we’ve seen, Paris Hilton probably has a better chance of becoming President in 20 years than Jon Huntsman ever will.)
I think Obama is extremely shrewd in that he’s let the Republican Knuckleheads slowly and publically self-destruct before re-introducing himself to America. He let the dust settle, and then made his move. Now, since I’m somewhat smarter than a fifth grader, I actually have a memory beyond one month back. So I remember how, in 2008, America fell in love with Barack Obama, the great Hope for Change. I remember how so many people I knew, especially black people, were so optimistic and emotional after Obama was declared the winner. When I travelled abroad, I was no longer ashamed to be American, like I was from 2000 until Bush thankfully left office. That’s right, George W. Bush used to be President! Remember?
And I remember how much the Bush years sucked. Yes, I remember back that far, too. 9-11? Sucked. Two wars? Sucked? Guantanamo? Sucked. Wall Street Collapse? REALLY sucked. Dick Cheney? (Don’t even get me started on how much THAT guy sucked and, somewhere in Wyoming, still sucks.) My 42 year old brain can even go back to 2000 when Gore was robbed by the Supreme Court. We’ve really been through a lot as a nation since 2000. 

What the GOP(The Grand OUT OF THEIR MIND Party) counts on is our lack of memory. They want you to forget that Bush ever existed. It’s always been Obama’s fault. Obama caused the banking crisis. He caused the deficit. He caused 9-11. He caused The Vietnam War, World War II, The Great Depression, and even the Teapot Dome Scandal! All the fault of Obama! He’s been a Socialist Dictator for 100 years! We must stop him!

So it’s always nice to hear someone like Obama who speaks well, but also to hear someone who speaks with maturity(especially in politics!), with class, with dignity, and with optimism in the face of harsh realities. Indeed, there was a line, late in the speech, where President Obama scolded those who would say that the United States is in decline, warning that “they don’t know what they are talking about.” It’s a great line, but it’s different coming from Obama, because he is coming from a very rational standpoint, not a blindly patriotic one. You hear Republicans say similar things all the time, except it’s more like, “I’m not part of the Blame America First crowd!” or, “I will never apologize for the Greatest Nation on God’s Green Earth!” or ….well, you get the idea.

And so, Barack Obama gave a very intelligent speech. Not only was it intelligent, but it was very patriotic and optimistic, which could actually be considered more Reagan-esque than even conservative Democrats would like to admit. But he affirmed his belief in the greatness of our country, while offering solutions and taking to task those who would put unbending ideology ahead of making progress. ( I personally believe that most politicians, more so on the right, have no ideology beyond “do the bidding of whomever is paying me.” Our Congress, indeed, most of the three branches of government, are bought and paid for. End of story.) So the theme, is, that yes, the problems we face are great in size, but with intelligence, bi-partisanship, and common sense, we can do much, much better.

Now let’s take a trip to Crazytown, U.S.A., where the G.O.P. Headquarters have been since 1992. Here, Obama is “pro-poverty” and making a “constant effort to divide us” (according to the rebuttal offered by Mitch Daniels, who ruled out running for the White House last year, mostly because he looks like an alien extra from Close Encounters of The Third Kind, and probably no one would believe that he was born on American soil). In Crazytown, U.S.A. Obama wants everyone to be on “food stamps”. (That’s from Newt Gingrich, who was recently touted by Dr. Keith Ablow on Fox News as being a great candidate for President because, “when three women want to sign on for life with a man who is now running for president, I worry more about whether we’ll be clamoring for a third Gingrich term, not whether we’ll want to let him go after one.” By that logic, Republicans should have made ladies man Bill Clinton KING OF NORTH AMERICA FOR LIFE!) In Crazytown U.S.A, Obama is “detached from reality” and “speaking from fantasyland.”(You guessed it, the Mormon Millionaire Mitt Romney on that one. That’s from a guy who not only lives in the world of fantasy called BEING A MULTIMILLIONAIRE but also who, if he is truly Mormon, believes a lot of weird things, like Jesus visited America, dinosaur bones come from other planets, and drinking caffeine is a sin. I mean, we have freedom of Religion, so Romney can believe what ever he wants. I personally believe in hard Bop trumpeter Clifford Brown as my prophet and savior, but that’s another story.)

And so, Obama has officially begun his campaign for re-election. I think he deserves another term. If Reagan got another term, if G.W. got another term, Obama deserves one. At least, using rational thoughts, analysis, and my memory of history(meaning the last few decades), I have come to this conclusion. But for many Americans, some of whom live in Crazytown and watch Fox News all day long, and even some people living right here in liberal, granola, hippie town Portland, Obama is worse than Hitler. My question is, are these people stupid, crazy, or do they just have poor memory? Do they not remember all the crappy things Bush did to get us into this predicament? Those things are why we are in trouble! So we want to go back to that? 

Let’s say you are in a store. You see a gum ball machine. You put money in that gum ball machine. Your quarter goes in. No gum comes out. Clearly, the gum ball machine is broken. Don’t put any more money in the machine! Leave the store and buy gum somewhere else. Right? Does that not make sense?
In Crazytown U.S.A., people have been lined up at this gum ball machine for YEARS. 

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