Maybe it would have been better with that Cherry Garcia

This was nice

I don’t think Obama’s speech last night moved things forward at all. Perhaps that’s not what the State of the Union is supposed to do. I’ve never really been clear about that. One thing I did notice is that he didn’t employ the standard line of the speech, usually at the end of the first paragraph: “The state of our Union is [strong, vibrant, sold, secure, pick a word].” He didn’t use that line at all. Instead he said that he personally was confident about the country’s future. Well, okay.

I wanted to hear urgency; I wanted of course to hear something new, something bold. I didn’t hear that.

I didn’t want to hear legislative laundry lists. And forgive me, but I didn’t want to hear any more tender cloying stories of heroic Americans facing hardship with spirit, which often come down to “my life is shit but it’ll get better”. I did hear a lot of that.

A line I didn’t like: “when I ran, I promised I wouldn’t do just what was popular”. Presidential boilerplate. George Bush said it standing in the same place.

A line I did like when he was talking about people who need health care: “I will not walk away from these Americans, and neither should the people in this chamber.

There was a point when I felt a change in the mood, a point where my eyes were riveted on him and, I thought, so were the eyes of those  ‘in the chamber’. This excerpt has its share of clichés of course, but somehow, at this point, people seemed to be listening. I certainly was. (He was looking straight at the government of the United States.)

“Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions -– our corporations, our media, and, yes, our government –- still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper. But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people’s doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates to silly arguments, big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away. . . But I also know this: If people had made that decision [to turn away from the hard decisions] 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, or 200 years ago, we wouldn’t be here tonight. The only reason we are here is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard; to do what was needed even when success was uncertain; to do what it took to keep the dream of this nation alive for their children and their grandchildren.”

I’ve heard that before; but it never resonated with me quite as it did last night.

18 responses to “Maybe it would have been better with that Cherry Garcia

  1. Nice. 🙂 I didn’t even watch it, which I feel a little guilty of, but the truth I’ve been disgusted with all of them “up there” for a while and I was sure it’d be all stupid stuff.

    I wanna see him get tough and accomplish big things. Otherwise, he’s as much a failure as I figured he’d be. 😦

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  2. The Book Guy: How did you figure Obama would be a failure, when we all thought he would be great? Moe: I will admit, Obama is probably the best “vocal” president since, maybe, Theodore Roosevelt, whose charisma was the stuff legends are made of. And as I have said, I am at the point to where Obama’s speeches are starting to ring hollow. Enough with Special Interests, The Rich, and even, to some extent, THE MIDDLE CLASS. What about people who are one pay-check away from the streets? What about the Homeless? HELP!!! He is about as Socialist as I am Capitalist, and I’m a Commie! I am starting to fear-yes, fear, as I really like this President-that he is all talk and no substance. To think, he was only a State Senator a few short years ago! God help him, as we are all counting on him… Moe, To which political ideology do you subscribe? Obviously, you do not have to tell me, I’m just curious, so that I could have some extra insight when I read your future posts. As for me: Social Conservative. Fiscally: Far Left.

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    • Texas, I guess I’m a liberal. I seem to have a European temperment – social democrat perhaps? I believe in people. I am civic minded – I believe in citizens responsiblities. And I believe in government.

      I am not an idealist. I try to be a realist and give credit to those who pursue the art of the possible. I know that’s hard and I’m reluctant to come down on those who give it a shot while I’m washing my hair or something.

      I hate that we’re the military power of the planet. Can think of much better things we could do with those trillions.

      I have some libertarian tendencies too – mostly about life style stuff – like decriminalize drugs, decriminalize prostitution. (I’m always amazed that we think we can outlaw such basic human behavior. ) And I think we’ve gone way overboard on all the lifestyle regulations – my young friends think it’s child abuse if they see a kid on a bike without a helmet. But I tend not to get much sympathy on stuff like that.

      I’ll bet you’ll know what I mean when I say I”m sorry for these kids and all they’re missing. They don’t get to walk home and smell the fall leaves burning at the end of someone’s driveway. They can’t pile into a pick up or grampa’s convertible for a trip to Dairy Queeen. They don’t even go out by themselves on Halloween anymore.

      I hold deep beliefs about distribution of wealth and social justice. And I guess Bernie Sanders is my favorite Senator. (hmmm, maybe Al Franken). Used to be Paul Wellstone.

      So what’s a 2010 version of a commie?

      Oh, and I’m trying to stay optimistic about Obama but I am finding it harder and harder. A few weeks after his inauguration when he appoionted Giethner and Summers, my smart rich brother in law said “well, that’s it. He’s a one term president.” He wasn’t going for reform – it was going to be same old same old.

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    • Typical: I mistook you for another commenter, a regular with a similar ‘handle’. And I replied to you as to someone about whom I knew a thing or two. But I guess that’s okay. Welcome.

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  3. “The Book Guy: How did you figure Obama would be a failure, when we all thought he would be great?”

    Washington is a big evil messy nasty cesspool of crazy corruption. He seemed naive and unprepared and underexperienced for the job. Mind you, I don’t mean that as a horrible insult or criticism, but I do mean it. He was a Senator for like 18 months before he started his campaign. He spent so much time campaigning under tha banner of hope, he never stopped to spend time on the Hill learning that the rest of the country may well want bipartisanship, but up there, in washington, it’s all politics, all partisan, all the time.

    He doesn’t seem to get that.

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  4. Yeah, I have to agree. Washington is corrupt, and I fear that the young, well intentioned young president who we all saw on the campaign trail, had a rude awakening when he took office, and the people who manipulate this country sunk their claws into him, and limited him. I dunno, maybe that sounds a little conspiracy theory-ish. As for being “bi-partisan”, you cannot work with republicants, they may have the traditional morals that I wish the Dems had, but they tighten up faster than a rectum washed in alum when it comes to spending money on the people. How do you propose he work with them? And what do you specifically see as the problem in Washington? Lobbyists? Infighting? And what would you have our President do about it? I would like for you to expound on that, please.

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  5. A 2010 version of a Commie. Well, for starters, I believe Marx said it best when he said, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. I would call for total, 100% wealth redistribution as well as land seizures. Government owned and regulated Businesses on all levels. A government regulated system of placing workers, based on skill, education, need, etc. Laws banning all forms of racism. Eliminate marriage on a State level, call it Civil Unions for gays AND straights, let churches, gay or straight, preform what ever ritual and call it what they want. Decrease spending on the military by 200-400%, at least. Limit foreign aid, somewhat. Set up special incentives to encourage hard work and good production, such as a level system that an individual could work his way up through, earning extra priveleges. Eradicate greedy unions, middle-men, etc. Eliminate individual States, as we must be “ONE”. State regulations on all media. Death Penalty for Treason. No right to arms. We must be one.

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    • Well, Texan, thanks for the answer. I’m a bit surprised to hear that in 2010 – it sounds quite proto-communist circa 1917. But hey, to each his own.

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  6. Many people point to communism, my idea of communism, in paticular, as a political system that has always failed. What people do not realize, is that communism was right all along, it was how it was applied that was wrong. Show me any communist government in the past 100 years, and I will show you a DICTATORSHIP. An unfair situation where the ruling class lives as lords, stealing from the people. If just ONCE, communism would be applied in it’s purest form, everyone would have plenty, and crime would drop. The capitalists have constantly brainwashed their slaves, the common man, to think that communism is evil. One of the biggest complaints is, that it is contrary to human nature. I would point someone to The Bible, where it talks about human nature. We are told to ignore our nature, and do what is right. The Book of Acts shows the disciples living as communists! They also claim that communism is against religious freedom. While true that religion could prevent absolute unity, the two CAN co-exist. Anyway…

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  7. [One of the biggest complaints is, that it is contrary to human nature. I would point someone to The Bible, where it talks about human nature. We are told to ignore our nature, and do what is right. The Book of Acts shows the disciples living as communists!]

    I also think it’s against human nature. While many many people would embrace such a system and try to be Christ like and share societies’ goods and wealth, many more would not. And there is the problem with the ideal. It cannot be acheived. And since it can’t, we have needed to devise other forms of governement. The disciples may have lived as communists – but there were only 12 of them. There are a a few more of us.

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  8. I don’t mean to keep pestering you about this (my dad thinks I am a nut! We argue about this all the time.), but I do not propose that the transition to communism happen overnight. I imagine you know more than me, as you are my elder, so surely you would know there would be a socialist transition phase that could take 50 years before we could achieve true communism. People would have time to adjust as at first they would be rewarded according to their deeds, rather than their need. And even under pure communism, a class system that people could work their way up through would encourage great production. I hate to use this cliche, but It really just comes down to how much longer people want to put up with 10% of the pigs, controlling 90% of the trough.

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    • Texan: we can certainly fight against the wealth inequity and the corporate takeover of our government even under our present system.

      I remember very well the defenses of communism from a long time ago. When people would point to the Soviet Union, which was a military oligarchy, communism’s defenders would say the communism had never been done ‘the right way’ and the Soviets were not a good example. Ditto China. And quite a few other countries, all of which ended up with near dictators.

      Interestingly, the only country that seems to have emerged with some sense of social justice is Vietnam – although of course they first had to kill a few hundred thousand in the south after the war.

      I think it’s wonderful that you care. And when we care, we need to seek what’s possible. Was it Ted Kennedy who said “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” And for each of us, what ‘the perfect’ means, can be a different thing. But getting there is a process, a long long process.

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  9. Thank you for the kind words, and I understand what you are saying. 🙂 I still feel that Capitalism is a culturally biased political system that is geared towards the oppression of the masses (usually women, minorities, white “trash”) for the profit of a few (usually white/asian men). One of my father’s favorite arguments is, “It is wrong to want to take away what someone earned, or inherited, because somebody had to go out there and make it happen…”. While I can see his point, there is a problem with that way of thinking. They should have never had the unfair advantage/oppurtunity to achieve those things to begin with, because there was never a level playing field for everybody else. And as long as the current system is in place, I am sorry to say that programs like affirmative action will be needed. Welfare will continue as the only hope for some, and prisons will continue to fill with minorities who were forced to crime in a system that is geared toward the unique qualities of europeans. Peace.

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  10. [They should have never had the unfair advantage/oppurtunity to achieve those things to begin with, because there was never a level playing field for everybody else.]

    You’re right, there never was a level playing field and there never will be – because we are so different and because human nature is a much stonger determinant than you want to beleive, but it is what it is and there will always be leaders and there iwll always be bosses and there will always be the exploited and abused.

    Our job while we’re here is to fight against the abuses. And that is a forever fight. Human nature is like a fire that you can’t put out, but you can contain it as long as you stay there in front of the fireline.

    I guess that’s what we do.

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  11. I agree, to an extent. I’m no philosopher, however, I believe that Human Nature, as evident in evolution, is not something that is simply inherent, but rather taught, and even more so ‘caught’, as we learn and react to the world that is around us. The ever shortening gap in academics, between black and white children is proof of this. It goes to show that oppression affects the 3rd and 4th generation. And like I said, it could take a while to fully transition. And yes, things are getting better. But who knows? As the pendelum swings, maybe the power will shift. But that would be just as wrong. We should never limit equality. The diveristy of Man has never been so evident as under Capitalism. Some may say that is a good thing, but in a World where children go to bed hungry, and innocent men are dragged to death at the end of a pick-up, I say It’s Not. I say Equality over Liberty, any day of the week. People can learn to share. We must be one.

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