Thursday, April 28, 2011

and they gnashed their terrible teeth.

I tore an article out of the New York Times the other day that struck me as a quintissential battle between moving forward and remain stuck in outdated grooves... and it was about Pope John Paul II, the first non-italian to do the job, and upon his death, apparently the adoring fans across Europe that responded to the pope of a different color fought for an earlier 'sainting' than is typical. But is the customer always right? The article further concludes that his popularity was unfounded, as Pope John Paul II watched a massive windfall of sex related crimes committed by high ranking members of the church, spread out across Europe be brought to light and publicly denounced, and merely turned his sainted cheek. Professing conservative views, and ignoring injustice seems like a quick way to lose your fan base, but maybe having a Pope who's face you reckognize due to modern media coverage, whose lineage suggests things are changing... is enough to incur devotion.

At a dinner party earlier this week, a heated discussion evolved about the prevalence and power of the media to affect the public's view in a way that has little to do with the ideals underscoring the individuals seeking power over us. I was asked who the last bald president was, suggesting that starting with the Kennedy Era, we have considered the attractiveness of our presidential candidates as a most important part of the selection process. While I can see the possible vailidity of that statement, and its relation to the powerful impact social media had on Obama's campaign... I see different similarities in the two (D) Presidents - both were agents of a new order, when an older way no longer was serving a purpose to the American People. If we were so easily controlled by the media as a society, than maybe Donald Trump's sensationalist temper tantrum would be taken a lot more seriously. The adage "there is no such thing as bad press" is being liberally utilized by the floundering extremesits that vaguely attach themselves to the Republican Party... but in this case may not be true. Yes, we also discussed Senor Trump, but witnessing the embarrassment of conservatives - at this private gathering and on National Television - makes it pretty obvious that people are getting pretty tired of the 'Birthers' pointless and unpatriotic ranting. Yet I find Trump's public spectacle and whatever interest it may have inspired to be a signal of the lack of focus in the Conservative Party as a whole. Ironically, there have been many references to Obama being the most conservative Democrat in the party. Honestly, the President has a much bigger job that pandering to the wants of Parties, and something that younger Progressives have figured out that older generations can't understand, is that 'Traditional' economic needs and wants have shifted, and the current Democrat/Republican Parties are clinging to values that no longer address current socioeconomic expectations. Donald Trump is just serving to further splinter the notion of 'conservative' and his argument is as petty and unfounded as making racist comments - by attempting to undermine the president about something he was too busy being born into this world to deal with personally, trump is adding to the unrest and discomfort of an already depressed economy, and distracting from the understated brilliance and strength of Obama's actions on recent global disturbances.

How did the American Public turn from 'hiring the best candidate' to a public Firing Squad? From the very beginning the nation seems interested in the idea of Obama's campaign, but it has proved deeply unreceptive to the actuality. 'Change' is cute when heard in a slogan, inspiring even to the previously apathetic youth and college population... yet when changes are attempted, entire sections of the public are up in arms and screaming in defiance. I hated going to the doctor when I was little, too, but we go because people older and wiser see the necessity. Unfortunately, we have not reached nirvana, or Eden, respectively, and current institutions have proved to be imperfect. I am a vehement believer in female reproductive rights, in free condoms and univeral birth control, but I can also respect that funding cut from planned parenthood will instigate some reorganization, new methods for raising funds and awareness, has inspired people to fight complacency... you have to trim back nature for it to flourish. Planned Parenthood is an institution that will only become more important as we move forward, and the Progressives begin to take the reigns. They aren't going anywhere, I can promise you that. I grew up with Welfare, and it was as much a boon as it was a trap, and I can understand the intentions, but I will honestly say it has many many kinks that will take stress and painful fine tuning to better serve our current populace. Change as deeply necessary to redirect big business, to trim away the fat in major corporations, and to evolve the sophistication of the job market to better suit a media heavy, technical and creative workforce that did not previously exist. In the face of our nation's ridiculous temper tantrum, and demand for instant gratification, Obama is calmly undoing the damage done by decades of headstrong and impetuous presidents who chased ratings by starting wars and padding their friend's pockets and sending our men and women off to die while they distract the public with 'Patriotic' Outrage and much wrapping themselves in the flag, telling tall tales of villians with beards and accents and different traditions than ours and instilling a deep xenophobia to replace the fading of racism and McCarthyism to band us together out of fear. Deftly reweaving the tapestry of ideals and mending the chasms between 'us and them', the cautious restraint and respect that Obama showed in his reaction to Libya is a light in the dark of our cultural history. Our collective memory doesn't even recall anymore a time when our presidents were cautious, that it took direct attacks on America to insight our involvement on WWI and WWII. By following the principles he outlined in his heroes of economic and social philosophy, and hearkening back to times when our presidents thought before they acted, Obama is doing everything he promised. And yet we are still unhappy.

Palin's response to the Libya airstrikes were as typical and scary as any racist redneck with a five minute spot on national TV - along the lines of MARCH IN THERE, ATTACK ATTACK!... when this battle in a foreign country had nothing to do with us. It isn't up to us to be the police over other people's moral point of view, and no one wants to invite another Afghanistan - where we swoop in and do everything, so an economy is dependant on us and requires lengthy occupation and trillions of lives/dollars to support a people because we didn't give them the strength or opportunity to do it themselves. We can barely even balance our own economy - who the fuck are we to try to have a say in how other countries handle theirs? The American people have created a conundrum, and impossible situation, where it doesn't matter if our president is gung-ho siding with his own party and getting nowhere, or making concessions and trying to establish a middle ground to move forward with support from both sides, because we will roar our terrible roars and gnash our terrible teeth. Nothing will be good enough for us.

I noticed some scribbled graffiti on an ad whilst riding the subway, and witnessed the voice I hear in my head, the same sentiments that are repeated amongst the progressives, the conservatively creative youth calmly waiting to be handed the megaphone. The bic pen scribbles were telling the disapproving viewer to wait, to be calm, to let enough time pass to see the flowering of Obama's highly questioned political moves. It reminded us that every presidency begins with cleaning up from the previous resident, and that the most important element of economic recovery is TIME.

Don't worry, Mr. President. Some of us continue to have faith.