First Posted 24-Sept-2015
Our relationship to authority figures is symbiotic. They project a personality and we subliminally reflect it back in the way we behave. It’s not always overt. Sometimes it’s a subtle vibe, a mood that echoes some aspect of the personality of our authority figures. There is the carefully managed spin and propaganda that is broadcast to us, the peepul. There is also, and this is what this post is about, the rest of what is communicated by our leadership in nonverbal ways. A leader whose frame of reference is that not only is the glass half empty, but it got that way because someone took the first half and a couple other full glasses as well, will gather about him or her a crowd that is similarly resentful and hungry for their estimation of what is needed to make things right.
This is what we have in Obummer and the consequent mood of the country. The man strikes me as bitter. He had a chance with his speeches in New Orleans to offer praise and hope. He did offer faint praise but pressed on with saying that what has been done isn’t enough. He moved the bar. He pushed again the message that New Orleans is a place of lack owed a case of full glasses and although some glasses have been delivered, it is up to some other to bring the rest and make things right. Who, though? He is the President of the United States of America. He’s no longer a small-time community organizer in Chicago. He is the leader of one of the greatest empires in history. You can’t get much more establishment than that. If he expects some other to bring his case of full glasses to him and additional cases for those owed them, who would that be?
I get really annoyed at some African-Americans. Obama is one. They act like the whole country is still like it was in 1949 Mississippi. For them, the many successful African-Americans are ghosts not to be trusted, unreal and impossible, perhaps Uncle Toms. The real African Americans are some caricature of Stepin Fetchit. Their nonverbals speak volumes about seeking to return their kin to an antebellum South so they can restore white folk to their proper place as objects to be resented. Like an abused woman, they hunger for the very dysfunction that traps them in bondage to their abusers yet say that’s exactly what they don’t want. The world won’t be right until it’s properly wrong again and they can continue the fight. It’s a rather dangerous ‘tude.
Our bitter mood as a nation elected this president twice. We keep looking for a מָשִׁיחַ who will save us from our misery, conquer whatever dragons lurk about, ketchup bottles ready, and fix the problems of those guys who keep making a mess of our lives. The targets of our resentment seem to be memories of 19th century Teapot Dome monopolies that don’t exist in the same manner any longer. Labor unions want to fight McDonald’s on a big stage but because most of its stores are franchises owned locally they are having a hard time. The answer, it seems, is to perpetuate the very things that are said to oppress the peepul. They fight Uber in the courts as if it was Houston Yellow Cab and not a technology company providing a cloud based application platform that brokers riders and drivers. The left calls themselves progressive and accues conservatives of being luddites. I know, right?
My answer in both cases, is to challenge the president and the unions to reconsider their core beliefs, the way they narrate their lives, and perhaps acknowlege that some of what they stipulate to be true is perhaps, not true. We need leadership that believes in the good of humanity. I’m not hearing that from Sanders, Billary & Obummer. Trump is a pussy who found he could lead the establishment polls by doing the shock-jock schtick. Trump is a populist in a sheepskin coat. If you look closely at the shape of the bulge on the trousers of his Italian suit, it is a bottle of ketchup there.
Yes, we are of this world and in a lot of ways, it’s a fucked up world. There is a good chance all those floating fears about a dystopian future reflected in popular fiction might not be baseless. Leaders that feed that fear, that give us a feeling that they too are resentful and scared, don’t help. We need leadership that knows mankind is capable of tremendous good and along with good governance, helps us find that good and bring it about.
Can mankind be horrid? Absolutely. Our headlines repeat an endless chorus of the ways in which we are ugly to each other. We can also be heroic and I’m hoping for leaders that put that propaganda out there and communicate it through their non-verbals. My fear is that the Stepin Fetchin crowd will continue to occupy the headlines and usher Billary & Sanders into office. We need hope & change from leaders who are actually hopeful and will foster the sort of change that lifts all boats, values all lives, encourages us to make many pies rather than scrap for crumbs from one pie that is too small. I hope we get it in the next election.