January 20, 2009

Thoughts on the Obama inauguration

Elizabeth Alexander was the perfect selection to give a poetic invocation for the 2009 inauguration, as her ?praise song? amounted to a kind distillation of rhetorical Obamaism?exceedingly banal in its language, with lots of pretentious and vague references to ?history? and what not, and metaphors that often seemed both hokey and grotesque: ?each one of our ancestors on our tongues.? I?m sure the pundits will talk about how Alexander evoked the ?tapestry that is America,? but if one reads her work closely, one can just pick up the racial nationalism lying behind her words:

Say it plain, that many have died for this day. Sing the names of the dead who brought us here, who laid the train tracks, raised the bridges, picked the cotton and the lettuce, built brick by brick the glittering edifices they would then keep clean and work inside of.

Those who ?died for this day? are not Revolutionary War patriots or the fallen heroes of the Second World War. Alexander’s poem was little more subtle than, “We’ll work for that day when Black won’t be asked to get back, when the Red Man will get ahead, man…” but the sentiment’s are much the same. But, of course, this will be lost on most of those cheering in the massive crowds on the mall, who hear what they want to hear in big patriotic gatherings.

In his magnificent biography of Obama, Steve Sailer has revealed that the Obama of post-racial healing is mostly a myth created by David Axelrod, and that the real Obama is likely motivated by the same sentiments that stir Elizabeth Alexander. (And the media would have recognized this a long time ago if they?d ever taken seriously what Obama says explicitly in his autobiography, or even bothered to read his Story of Race and Inheritance.)  ?
I think Sailer is right. However, my hunch is that while Obama will certainly be patronizing and subjecting the public to lots more Elizabeth Alexanders over the next eight years, Obama loves power and universal approval much more than he loves his race. Or, to put it in Sailer?s terms, ?Obama?s solution to his failing to solve racial challenges he has set for himself has been to get himself promoted.? Obama wants 80 to 90 senators to vote for his 800 kajillion stimulus package. He wants the ?vangies (that most hated constituency of his left-liberal bases) to fawn over him. He wants everyone to just love him. Even the exceedingly bleak and dire picture of the world that Obama gestured towards in the opening chords of his speech was his attempt to make sure that no matter how badly the stimulus package fails, we?ll always say to ourselves, ?Think of how much worse things would be without our president!? 

It?s also worth commenting on the metaphor?repeated ad nauseam by Paston Warren, all the cablenews pundits, and Obama himself?that Obama?s inauguration marks a turning point in world history (referencing, of course, the election of America?s ?first black president.?)

2009 does, in my mind, represent a major global turning point, but in ways that have little to nothing to do with BHO. This year will be remembered as marking the precipitous and irreversible decline of America as a world power, the beginning of the gradual dumping by major world players of the U.S. dollar as a reserve currency, and the refusal by creditors to continue to finance Washington?s and the American public?s gigantic debt burdens. I don?t know what the bakers in charge of China?s holdings of 2 trillion dollars were thinking as they watched the inauguration, but it probably wasn?t, ?We?re once again inspired by America?s ability to renew its principles of hope and inclusiveness!? I hate to damper all the high spirits, but though we most definitely are living in interesting times, it ain?t got nothing to do with Obama. 


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