Sunday, January 18, 2009
Katty Kay (it's Brit thing) has this to say -- DC reminds her of the last coronation they all had in London. I hestitate to say this, lest I be labled a party pooper, Obama hater or a grump, but hey, whatever. I am made a bit uncomfortable by the intense broohaha over Obama's inauguration. I suppose there are good reasons for it. The first African-American President, which is certainly historic. People are very tired of Bush and I don't blame them for that. But the combination of media adulation with unprecedented powers having been exercised and about to be exercised again to bail out, stimulate, ah, I mean, recover the economy, makes me nervous.
I admit I am a grump about these public occassions. When Gorby came to DC in I think 1988 to sign some arms treaty or other, the WH wanted those of us in OEOB to dutifully become the adoring crowd and wave US and Soviet flags for the cameras. There was no way I was going to wave a communist flag and in fact I declined to go to the event at all, which I now regret since I could have seen Gorby in the flesh. I was something of a fanatic back in those days about human/individual rights and I just thought the Soviet Union was really bad and I didn't see why I should lend any moral support at all to its leader however simply wonderful he was in every way. Washington was just gaga over his visit. I thought it was sickening frankly. I remember sharing a cab with some attractive slightly older Muppie who gushed about how wonderful she thought it was to see the Stars and Stripes flying on every lamp post next to the Hammer and Sickle. I told her I thought it was like seeing our flag fly next to the Swastika. She was so shocked that she just about leapt out of the cab. Now the USSR is no more and I still don't know if we are allowed to think it was actually evil.
I'm not saying Obama is Gorby or anything of the sort. I'm just saying I find waves of public enthusiasm inherently suspect. When the Princess of Wales died I remember thinking it was terribly sad and I thought her funeral was strangely appropriate, but I also wondered if the world had lost its mind. Politics and the Irrational go only too well together and I just tend to distrust the combination. And with the exception of Reagan the enthusiasm is almost always misplaced. JFK was a dreadful man who cheated on his wife, preferred the company of mobsters, bungled his Presidency and almost, almost destroyed the world between the Bay of Pigs and the Missile Crisis. The whole clan of the Kennedys are a piece of work, Irish mob through and through. I mean seriously not decent folks; your daughter could very well end up dead sort of people. And we are supposed to get teary eyed over them? LBJ was a freak. Bush II was a decent man though thick as a post. His father was probably smarter but prone to make bad decisions. Clinton was a thoroughly rotten apple. Carter was an embarrassment. Nixon's issues had issues. You have to go back to Eisenhower to find somebody who was a good leader and somebody whom you could trust to take you mother to dinner. I guess all I'm trying to say is that great enthusiam over Leaders is something I think the intelligent person can do without.