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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

There Are Many Explanations

Today President Obama is being criticized from several quarters.  He is accused of having been too passive and in general giving a lackluster performance in last night's debate, with the result that Romney is being widely seen as having been the "winner," even among some of Obama's still steadfast supporters.   But at least the constraint is such that you don't see much about why that should've been.   That's because, without any way to have been in Obama's shoes or in his situation or inside his mind, nobody can know just what was going on with him during those painful two hours, and we can only take our best shots at conjectures.

To do this a certain amount of imagination would be helpful, especially if you've already spent considerable time trying to picture what it's like to be in his shoes, and subsequent verifications and refutations would help you stand on firmer ground and feel more confident about your conclusions. There can be many explanations for the approach he took.

The most obvious and understandable of those could be that of all the places on earth, that debate hall was one where at that moment he least wanted to be, because it might have seemed to him to be too close an approximation of having at last had to do the long-dreaded thing -- stepping inside the ultimate, final exam room.   It could have occurred to him that he is, after all, the President of these United States, and as such reputedly the most powerful man in the world.   So was this ordeal nevertheless what that job had come down to?   Having to take a test for which he had been, like any ordinary, desperate, university scrounge, cramming for the last three days and filling his head up with all sorts of facts and figures for which he couldn't even enjoy the ordinary college anticipation of their use, because everything would depend somewhat on the questions he would be asked but even more on what his opponent would do.

Or maybe the trouble was that Romney disappointed Obama. 

Not having personally seen anything of M. Romney for a while, maybe Obama had come there at least expecting to see a restrained, cultured gentleman of sorts, only to sense with his first glance that he was face to face with the very model of the worst element that he was up against in the elections -- the angry euro (i.e. "white") man, which, in the person of this Romney character, had appeared in its worse form, the moneyed, conservative type who from birth has had only one way to look at the rest of humanity, and that is downward. So it could have been that Obama had no stomach for being essentially shut up in there, alone, despite the millions of eyes and ears watching and listening, with the likes of an M. Romney -- a common feeling, I have the impression, that is experienced by anybody who has to be around that guy for any period of time. 

Or maybe, also from just his first perusal, Obama noticed his opponent's general appearance, followed by the man's behavior, both of which strongly suggested that Romney had dropped some sort of strong substance before entering the hall.  It is reported that Romney's eyes looked unnaturally red, and that his face sported an unnatural sweatiness and sheen.  Then there was what others called a smirk but to me was more like a twisted sneer, that he was able to keep on his face for such sustained periods that it would seem he could only have done it with chemical help.   And that was accompanied by how he kept emitting a constant torrent of words that could not be cut short even by the quasi- and experienced moderator, Jim Lehrer.  True, he cut off Obama just a few times, but he ran over the aged Lehrer repeatedly and did not respect the previously agreed-upon terms of the debate.

For whatever reason Obama, the illogical persecutor of pot availability, has been illogically attacked for having found little occasion to look at Romney directly and instead generally kept his gaze pointed purely into the inner sanctum of how he must stick to the program that he and his people had decided was the one best followed, that is, to stay calm, cool, collected, and Presidential.

Or maybe his subdued demeanor was due to discoveries that Obama made during the debate itself, when, still tenaciously holding on to what he obviously regards as being the highest of ideals, he increasingly came to see only at that moment that things he had been told about the opposition but had never been able to buy in full were really true.   One of the most painful of those discoveries had to have been that, just in the short span of his own, not yet completed first term, Romney, Boehner, Limbaugh and Co. had managed to strip the prefix in the word "bipartisan" of all its original meaning, so that now, at least among that sizable numer of Americans still under the Republican thrall, "bipartisan" means doing things in strictly the Republican way, while "partisan"means doing things in the totally unacceptable Democratic way.

These are just a few of the ways that I can come up with, to account for what Obama did and did not do in the debate last night.   I am sure there are many others as well.   Yet all in all I think he did exactly what he came there to do, no more and no less.   He strikes me as always being that kind of dude.   And it is my belief that soon enough the method in his madness will be clear enough, and I am far from the only person that thinks that.  

To illustrate that idea I am tempted here to try to turn around a racist joke that was popular way back in World War I.  (Yeah, somehow things have been arranged so that I go back almost that far.   I was born only about 11 years later.)

   When the U.S. finally entered the fighting in France, among the American soldiers were a number of all-rainbow regiments.   And the joke went that during one moment of intense hand-to-hand combat, a German soldier and a rainbow American G.I. found themselves facing each other, and both reached for their weapons of choice, the German for his bayonet, the American rainbow for his straight-edge razor.

The rainbow, being faster, got in the first blow with a mighty swipe at the German's neck.

"Ha!" the German said in triumph as he steadied his grip on his bayonet.   "You missed!"

"You think so?" answered the American rainbow soldier, smiling, while leisurely closing up his blade.   "Okay.   But just don't shake your head."


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